Spouse Shaming: Shut Up. You Don’t Serve.

I think spouse shaming silences military spouses who want to stand up and advocate for their serving spouse and military family but are afraid of being accused of being entitled, or worse, a dependa.

I think spouse shaming silences military spouses who want to stand up and advocate for their serving spouse and military family but are afraid of being accused of being entitled, or worse, a dependa.

I bet you’re asking yourself, “what’s spouse shaming”? Other than being a totally made up phrase derived from the concept of “slut shaming,” spouse shaming is merely my way of discussing a fairly popular military community cultural practice of military spouses, (and some of our service members, too) accusing other military spouses of being none other than a dependapotamus.

Whether or not you believe that dependapotamuses…dependapotami?…exist, the label “dependa” is just a militarized version of the “welfare queen.”

Surely not everyone on welfare abuses the system, nor is every military spouse looking for an opportunity to live off the teat of Uncle Sam, although that might be the impression you get if you spend any time online trying to connect with other military spouses. It’s fair to ask whether or not the slamming of spouses on some Facebook Pages, forums, and message boards are just adding fuel to the political fire when it comes to deciding whether or not to cut military pay, benefits, and entitlements?

I think so.

As a matter of fact I think spouse shaming silences military spouses who want to stand up and advocate for their serving spouse and military family but are afraid of being accused of being entitled, or worse, a dependa.

Let’s face it. Our service members can’t really speak out for or against political issues, period. And if military spouses are too afraid to stand up and speak out for their wives, husbands, and families then who will?

Who will call a spade a spade when politicians and senior leaders are missing the boat on the realities facing today’s modern military families?

Who do you think is best suited to talk about the challenges of geography, career, education, personal finance, marital strain, and mental health issues on today’s military families other than the ONE PERSON who remains constantly in the trenches on the homefront?

And for the naysayers, you know what? You’re right.

Military spouses don’t serve.

Most of us never signed on the dotted line.

We aren’t owed anything.

We will never know what over a decade of war looks like on the battlefield, but we know what the hell it looks like when it comes home.

We might not serve but we damn well willingly sacrifice our loved ones with no guarantee that we’ll get them back the way we handed them over to Uncle Sam, that cruel bastard.

We need to stand together and speak our minds and speak out on issues that really matter, like how sequestration is far from old news and the reduction in force (RIF) is affecting the entire military community, instead wasting time and energy pointing, laughing, judging and tearing each other down.

Now is not the time to turn on each other. Now is the time to turn to each other to fight the fight that our serving husbands and wives cannot.


  1. Wow. Sounds like your reading my biography. From everything I have put up with, too the completely insanity I have had to tolerate from my husband.
    No matter what I did, boxes I sent, for entire crews, organized honorary military events, worked with Wounded Warriors. It was never enough. I was never good enough to say a word. But nothing stopped me. (Well maybe that last shove down the staircase in a drunken rage) now even double Leg braced, double Crutched, back, arm, and traumatic brain injury that will at some point take my life. (Yes I’m being divorced after 20 years) 4’11” 117lbs against 6’4″ 230 lbs. It’s the only time I did keep my mouth shut. To protect him and his career. And it destoyed me in the process.
    I I still won’t quit. I fight b everyday, thru physical and emotional pain.
    But I will not give up.

    Why should I? I have a beautiful 24 year old daughter, AK Air Guard, SSgt in 4 years, poster child, too many awards to list. KC 135’S, crew, Mechanic, inspector. In since she was 17 (giving up full ride basketball scholarships, that were coming in daily… her answer.
    I’m not letting My friends or family fight in a war while I play ball.
    I signed her over. My heart, my only child.
    Her husband, works on the jets out there. My first Grandbaby is due in July.

    I may have 3 years under the Uniformed Spousal Protection Act.

    But my 3 musketeers, are worth everything I say or do.
    As a retired Fire Chief, Arson Investigator, Homeland Security Emergency Planner, among many other things.
    No one is shutting me up. Especially now.

    I fight hard for what I believe in.
    Honor, integrity, courage, truth.

    Thanks for your time everyone.

    • BTW… happy to have found you

      • NextGen MilSpouse Exclusive

        We are happy you found us too!

    • NextGen MilSpouse Exclusive

      Wow, Robin. Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. I am so glad to have you fighting with us. You are the type of strength we need out there.

  2. Robin thanks for this perceptive article! I truly enjoyed it. I’m an army veteran and mil spouse of 22 years, so we’re “old school.” We remember a time in the not-too-distant past when there were few bennies to fight over. There were no free dinners, care packages, discounts, etc.; and there was a lot less in-fighting among mil spouses, too. The public was, at best, apathetic towards the military, and at worst, outright hostile. It wasn’t until after 9-11 that public opinion became so favorable to the military, and I think the younger service members and spouses miss that point. When all you’ve known is public support and the bennies that come with it, you start to expect special treatment. But the public can be fickle, and the time will come again when public opinion turns against military causes. I’m worried that the younger generation’s sense of entitlement is what will cause that day to come sooner rather than later. I know I’m stepping on some toes here but I think we need to be very careful of how we’re perceived by the public, because many veterans are going to need support for the rest of their lives. I don’t want to see that support shrivel up because the public gets fed up with the bad behavior, infighting, and an unrealistic sense of entitlement among members of our military community.

  3. Wow thank you for this post, I have been working on a project in ways to give military spouses a voice, but I am finding it hard to see which way to go for this exact reason. Everyone I ask to contribute their story they are afraid of hurting their husbands career, myself included. I am a writer and part of fort Campbell spouses club. I would love to collaborate or have someone to Boyce ideas off of. I will leave my email below.


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