6 Things Every MilSpouse Needs to Stop Doing Right Now

6 Things Every MilSpouse Needs to Stop Doing Right Now

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

6 Things Every MilSpouse 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)

What’s that adage? Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house? Unless you are the omnipotent wizard of milspousedom, let it go. Verbal tirades online are just poor taste and downright mean.

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!

What other bad habits do you think we can ditch to make the military spouse community more inclusive? Tell us in the comments below!


  1. Thank you! The “Hello Ladies” is rather irksome and happens more than you would think!

  2. Thanks for thinking of us dudes — and #1!
    And good points all the way.
    I’m very proud of my wife’s accomplishments, as well as those of other women in uniform. The “Hey ladies” bit does feel like it sidelines us as a family.
    The good news is that I almost always see that change to “Hey y’all” very quickly once I pop in, and I’m given the usual warm welcome from fellow military spouses.

  3. Not sure how I feel about this? Recently heard a military spouse refer to other spouses as “senior.” Although I understood where the spouse was coming from, they are higher up the food chain, so to speak, and they have been to the Command Spouse Leadership Course. I think the use of the title, “Senior Spouse,” threw me off a little. Also not a fan of splitting spouse groups into officer spouses and enlisted spouses. I would rather be friends with all spouses, not just the ward room. (But that may be a bit too progressive.) 😛

    • NextGen MilSpouse Staff Writer

      Oooh! That’s a good one! We might have to expand the list. We like where your head’s at!

    • The separation of the enlisted spouses and officer spouses, much like church and state, occurs from the military no fraternization policy which is ingrained into the service members, but as we spouses are not service members (mostly, as there are a few dual mil families) and hold no rank we can and do intermingle.

      Check out Military Spouses of Newport @ milspousenewport.org. This “progressive” spouse club changed their name from Newport Officers Wives Club to Newport Spouses Club to include male spouses, then changed their name again two years ago to what it is today to become all inclusive. Memebership is open to both enlisted spouses and officer spouses, veteran spouses, widows, and civilians GS7 and up attached to Navsta Newport and within 25 miles of base.

    • One doesn’t have to be an officer spouse to be a senior spouse. That refers to someone with years of military experience and often special military family programs training. I don’t see how it is divisive to acknowledge a person’s leadership position in the military family program or honor their their years of support to military families. Many of these spouses have given thousands of hours of their time to help improve their communities and the lives of others.

  4. I like all of them… One thing though, I know a lot of spouses go on-line and try to cut loose with active duty military and sometimes feel the need to “call out” certain career fields or services (aka calling out people who are POGS, Chair Force, etc…). While you may think it’s cool to do so, until you put on a uniform and serve you have no place making fun of military personnel, no matter what capacity they serve in. So along the lines of cyber bullying– don’t pull rank you don’t have, don’t call out other active duty service members, and don’t refer to yourself like you are a veteran. Military spouses sacrifice a lot, but you are not veterans.

  5. Thanks Adrianna for including us male spouses yet again. We really appreciate you getting the word out that there are a disparity and disconnect with “spouse” groups and male spouses.

    There are some things even we cannot say to advocate on our own behalf for fear of reprisals, I am glad there are others, like you, to speak up on our behalf.

  6. My only comment to add to this list is: Please don’t assume my spouse didn’t serve! Or assume my spouse is Active Duty because he is male. I would love to get my hands on the FRG but there’s an entire article all by itself just waiting to be written on that subject. (HINT: Just because my spouse is male does not mean he wants to teach a class on auto mechanics, ask; don’t assume). However, my spouse actually isn’t “wearing my rank” he actually was AD at one time and knows what he is talking about.

  7. Instead of saying spouse, me and a group of ladies say “sailor” unless we are talking one on one and know who holds the title 😛


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