Old habits are hard to break and when it comes to the military community, we’ve got some habits that seem hell-bent on staying put. As much as we celebrate the diversity in our community, we sometimes forget to “check ourselves before we wreck ourselves” when meeting new people or interacting in online groups and forums.
We know how challenging it can be when you’re the odd-spouse-out, so here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to embracing the #OneMilFam way of life:
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: 6 Things Every Military Spouse Needs to Stop Doing Right Now
1. Addressing the military spouse community at-large as “ladies” or “wives”
Unless you are 100,000% sure that you’re addressing a group of female military spouses, be the anti-Nike and just DON’T do it. In so many cases, we throw out “ladies” or “wives” without really thinking about group composition. We know there are guy spouses out there; we’ve seen them. We’ve hung out with them. Heck, in a group of 100 military spouses, we’re pretty sure there’s probably about 9 to 10 of them in there.
Here are some sweet alternatives: “Hey, all!” “Hey, y’all!” “Hello Everyone!” “Whazzup?” “Good morning!” or my favorite “Dear Team Awesome.”
2. Asking other military spouses about their “husbands” or “wives”
Facepalm. Our same-sex military families are out, they’re proud and they look just like everyone else…gasp! Get hip to be square and drop “husband” or “wife” and try this amazing word: “spouse.”
Boom. Problem solved.
3. Thinking that everyone in the military is part of the same political party
This assumption is such an elephant in our proverbial shared living room, isn’t it? (See what we did there?) With a crazy diverse population like ours, our views on politics are no different. Never ass-ume you’re talking to like-minded thinkers. (We did it again!) If you find yourself teetering on the edge of a politically charged conversation, we have 2 words for you: civil discourse.
It’s OK to agree to disagree. It’s also OK to politely shift topics to something less touchy.
4. Using the word “dependa” (or any derivative thereof)
This word has the same effect as saying “Mufasa”…it just gives us the shivers. Not only has this morphed into the equivalent of the b-word and c-word of the military sphere, it’s sprinkled with a little fat and lazy for good measure. We hate to see this word used at all, but it is especially disturbing when military spouses fling this word at each other.
5. Going on abusive, verbal tirades and/or shaming military spouses in online forums (aka cyber bullying)
Related: Shut Up. You Don’t Serve.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, step away from the keyboard.
6. Surrounding yourself with people who think and live exactly like you
We all love to share life with like-minded people, but what if you could meet someone new who challenges you to change or broaden your perspective on life? If you’re not changing, you’re not growing and if you’re not growing, you’re not living. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone by hanging out with someone you might’ve not ever given a second thought. You might just learn something new about yourself and score a new friend while you’re at it!