The Engaged Spouse
While living off base, we were always part of squadrons that had their own spouse group so I never needed to seek out a base-wide group. This year, we moved on base for this first time. We are submerged in the military culture. My neighbors are military, my kids go to school with all military kids, everyone at the gym, the commissary, and the Starbucks – are military. I can’t just pop in and out anymore. I can really benefit from a base-wide spouse group for many reasons; I need a place for socializing; giving and getting support; providing service to the community; advocating for spouses; and having a voice on base.
Spouses Separated by Rank?
But that is just the thing – there isn’t a base-wide spouse group. There is an enlisted spouse club and an officer spouse club. I didn’t get to choose. I could join one and not the other – all based on my spouse’s rank. This made no sense to me! All of these years, I truly believed that spouses held no rank. The very fact that spouses were separated by rank was unsettling to my core. Did this mean that I was different from all of my friends who were in the other club? And what about the next obvious question that any honest 5-year-old would ask, “Which one is better?” I felt like I was pondering an issue that was similar to racial segregation… “Your spouse wears their rank on their shoulder so you go in that group. You go in that other group because your spouse wears rank on their arm.” The whole concept seemed archaic and ridiculous. Come on people, it is 2014, not 1950!
Think Before I Speak
Before I ran off, screaming that separated spouse groups were a thing of the past, I had to stop and consider a few things:
- Why aren’t there other people running around screaming how preposterous this is?
- Is there a good reason to keep them separated that I am not realizing?
- Why were they separated in the first place?