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Life as a Male Military Spouse5 minute read • Nov. 2, 2022
As a male military spouse, you are part of a community that values you. Military spouses, regardless of gender, play a key role in the military community. Understanding the opportunities that military life provides is critical to finding where you fit in the community. Ultimately, you define your role in this amazing community.
What to expect when your spouse is in the military
Military spouses are predominately female. As a male military spouse, you may face some of the following situations:
- Other people assume you’re the service member. You may find yourself explaining to people repeatedly that you’re a civilian and your spouse is a service member.
- You may feel isolated. This is particularly true if you move to a new location where you don’t have family or friends. You may have little in common with the other spouses, who could be mostly women. You may have left your job or friends and family behind.
- You may feel uneasy because your spouse spends a lot of time with other men. If you feel anxious because most of your spouse’s unit is male, talk with your spouse or a professional counselor about your concerns before your feelings affect your marriage.
- Your role in the marriage may clash with your identity as a male. Role reversals can be difficult for any couple and can be especially challenging in the military setting, which emphasizes traditional ideas of masculinity.
- You may find yourself being the primary parent or even a stay-at-home parent. It’s a big responsibility and may feel overwhelming, especially during deployments, but the rewards are great. Connect with others, share ideas and create your support system. You’ll make it work.
Adjusting to being a male civilian spouse
Here are some ideas to help you adjust to military life as a male spouse:
- Think of ways you’ve adjusted to new situations in the past. You’ve done it before, whether it was going to college, starting a job or getting married. Think about how you adjusted to those changes in the past.
- Connect with people and organizations. Look for groups like clubs, civic groups, sports teams or faith-based groups to help build your support network and get involved with the community.
- Take advantage of Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities, events and trips. They offer outdoor recreation opportunities, fitness classes, sports programs and a range of other classes and services designed to help you meet other people with similar interests.
- Reach out to other couples like you and your spouse. It can help to be with someone who is in the same situation as you. You can also connect with a Military OneSource peer-to-peer specialty consultant for a confidential chat with someone who has both a master’s degree and firsthand life experience as a military spouse or service member.
- Focus on your own career. Being a military spouse doesn’t mean you can’t have a career, too. The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program offers access to the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship for eligible spouses, certified career coaches through Military OneSource, and more than 600 employers committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.
- Make time to do things you enjoy as a couple. Military life can be busy, and taking time together to do positive, fun things can easily get pushed to the back burner. Make the time and focus on enjoying yourselves, even if that means agreeing not to talk about certain issues during those times.
- Talk openly as a couple. Keeping the lines of communication open with your spouse is vital to maintaining a strong relationship.
Strengthen Your Relationship
Couples counseling can help you stay steady during life’s challenges and build a stronger, closer relationship.
Know when and where to get help if your marriage is starting to show signs of strain or if you need help dealing with your stress. Consider the following suggestions:
- Check out the Re the We campaign for ideas, tips and resources to rekindle, repair or reset your relationship. You may also want to call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to talk to someone about your relationship and receive support and suggestions.
- Contact a good friend or family member you feel comfortable talking with or visit the chaplain on your installation.
- If you are in crisis, call the Military Crisis Line 24 hours a day (988 and Press 1).
Even though most military spouses are female, you can still fit in and make military life a positive experience. There are plenty of opportunities, both on the installation and in the community, to enjoy the military lifestyle and become comfortable in your role.