Help us celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
Supporting the people who defend us is a largely thankless and stressful job. Even getting through a load of laundry while your spouse is in harm's way can be an exercise in willpower. Since the invation of Afghanistan in 2001 the divorce rate for active duty couples has risen from 2.6% to 3.6%, and the number of military suicides is almost equal to the number of battlefield deaths. That's why we're psyched to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May the 6th): Despite the difficulties, there are also benefits to being married to a military man or woman.
In honor of the holiday, I spoke to the coolest (former) Army wife ever. Her husband is a West Point graduate, a Ranger, a Harvard MBA and an all-around incredible man. He was deployed in Iraq and a few other less-than-ideal spots during the middle of the last decade, and while she was certainly very stressed, especially while pregnant during her husband's deployment, she let me in on the perks of being married to a soldier, sailor, airman or marine.
1. Pride. First and foremost, being married to someone who is willing to give their gives their best years and, potentially their lives, for the sake of the country (and the world) is humbling. Selflessness is something that we celebrate but not many of us experience it firsthand day in and out.
2. Physical fitness. Servicemen are required to keep in a certain level of shape... generally more so than the rest of the population. Exercise has been proven to be really good for you and it's nice having a spouse whose belly doubles as a place to scrub clothes.
3. They make a nice bed. Tidiness doesn't stay at white glove level when there's no one screaming man in a wide-brimmed hat threatening with 90 lbs of potatoes to peel. But the discipline to stay neat never goes away. This could come back to bite Messy Marvins.
4. Sometimes they station you somewhere nice. Every now and again, you get a year in Hawaii or San Diego (Semper Surf Party) sandwiched between a swamp in Georgia and an Alaskan tundra.
5. Cheating is against the law. Of course you hope that love will keep pants fastened around waists, but the Uniform Code of Military Justice also finds adultery to be in very poor taste. Army Creates Program To Strengthen Marriages
6. Everyone loves a man (or woman) in uniform. While the average husband looks like a doofus in a beret, the army husband looks every bit the modern-day knight. A soldier in Class As is mighty fine.
7. A bunch of fiscal perks. From sales tax-free shopping to low-interest credit unions to discounts on continuing education, there are a many deep discounts for military families. Plus booze from the commissary. Check out military.com for more.
8. The support network. Shared experience forges very tight bonds with other families or whatever it is that happens on the show Army Wives. In addition to fellow spouses, the general populace is unbelievably supportive of military families.
9. You get the jokes in Readers' Digest. They're still not that funny but you understand them. Also acronyms that you may use regularly, ASAP, FUBAR, SNAFU, etc, were in army parlance for decades before making their way to the civilian world.
10. Your cooking will be adored. Home comforts, even if they're not particularly outstanding, are greatly appreciated after any length of deployment. My friend never realized how great it would feel to cook dinner for a dozen very grateful, homesick 19-year-olds stationed in Germany.
Little known fact: George Clooney will leave your voicemail message. I'm not sure if this is true but I'd imagine that he probably will if you ask him nicely and tell him how good Three Kings was (probably a good idea to not mention The Peacemaker).
What are other great things about being a military spouse?