A few years back, I wrote a blog about things you should never say to a military spouse. It was a cute little number and it was meant to bring a bit of hilarity to some of the outrageous questions and statements I’ve heard over my 19 years of being a military spouse. This time around, I’ve decided to share a few things that military families want you to know to help you better understand this thing called military life.

Military discounts are a privilege not a right

Whether it’s shopping on base or off, discounts go a long way to help us save money on groceries, gas, clothing/shoes and even amusement tickets. This doesn’t mean we can help you save a few bucks. All discounts associated with the Armed Services are for authorized patrons only and they can be revoked if used improperly. Please don’t ask us to compromise.

We aren’t rich

We aren’t too sure who started this rumor, but we can attest to the fact that it’s not true. Military pay isn’t always comparable to private sector pay; in fact it is often considerably lower.

More than likely we haven’t traveled the world

Military members travel the world way more than spouses and kids. There are some families who’ve lived overseas and it’s been an amazing experience but there are also those like mine whose travels were basically both coasts and in between.

Sometimes visiting our family is our vacation

Visiting our loved ones can be a huge event because we aren’t always fortunate enough to be stationed near them. Sometimes this trip may be our only vacation. Yes, we want to enjoy our family but we also want to take in the sights, get out and about and most importantly get some rest.

Military Terminology

  • US Navy–Sailors  
  • US Army–Soldiers  
  • US Marine Corps–Marines
  • US Air Force–Airmen
  • US Coast Guard–Coast Guardsman

Military life on TV is not real

Servicemembers don’t generally rush through the front door, frantically explaining to their family that their bags need to be packed in 10 minutes so they can head out on deployment. Military TV shows are intended to play up drama and that’s exactly what they do.

Enduring multiple deployments doesn’t make it easier

Every deployment is different and brings new challenges. Some families can keep it moving; others need time to adjust. Whatever the case may be, we certainly appreciate the support of our family and loved ones.

Give us some time when our service member comes home

We know you’re excited that he/she returned home safely. We are too but we all need time to get back into the swing of things. Six to 12 months is a long time to be away. Talk it over with the spouse to find out when is the best time to stop by or call to ensure they’ve had the proper time to bond as a family.

Military spouses are not all wives

Yes, believe it or not there are some military spouses who are men and equally proud of their role in supporting their service member.

We know what we signed up for

Every time we trip over work boots, sew on a patch, attend a frocking ceremony, tearfully wave goodbye, pack a care package, pray for our loved one’s safe return home or happily wave hello, it is a gentle reminder of the fact that we did indeed sign up for this. No need to remind us . . . we already know.

Danielle Lyles

Danielle Lyles, is a freelancer and screenwriter from St. Louis, Missouri. A seasoned Navy wife and momma of 4, she enjoys writing faith-based films and blogging about the African American parenting and military experience. She’s been featured as a guest blogger on Army Wife 101 and currently writes for Purpose Driven Women Magazine launching in 2018.