I remember when I first got married and I was going through the process of getting everything sorted out with the Army. I remember sitting in a small cubicle smiling at a camera a couple of feet away. Then I was handed a shiny new military spouse ID. I remember how excited I was to begin this amazing new adventure with my husband.
The time came for me to make my first doctor’s appointment. I was on the phone with the appointment line and they asked for my husband’s last four to his social. I was dumbfounded. I mean, why would they need HIS social when the appointment was for me? Being a new wife, I didn’t know my husband’s social yet. Lucky for me, I had his dog tags in our bedroom to look at. From this day forward, I became aware that I really was a dependent. That my life for the next, however many years, was dependent on so many things out of my hands.
The longer I was in the military community, I realized that there was such a negative air about being a dependent. Soldier’s and other women began to call us wives dependas, simply because we were proud of our husbands.
At first, it bothered me a lot. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong to be treated so unfairly. I was called names by women at the PX because I carried an ACU purse and because I wore an Army Wife hoodie that my husband bought me on our wedding night. I went home and took all my stuff out of my purse and placed it in the closet beside the hoodie. My husband asked me why I no longer used the purse or wore the hoodie. I told him about the women. He told me to ignore them. Of course, it wasn’t that easy. I was living in a new state and I wanted so badly to make friends. I thought that if I continued with the “Army Wife” stuff, that it would never happen. I thought to myself I guess you just don’t do that.
After a while of trying to fit in with these women, I realized something. That there is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of my husband. Nothing. I had hurt my husband’s feelings by caring about what other people thought. So I dug out my “Proud Army Wife” hoodie and wore it proudly.
I am, in fact, a dependent. My husband’s job provides me with health insurance and a semi-stable life. It also gives me the amazing opportunity to travel to places I would probably never get to. That being said, I don’t claim his rank, accomplishments or his job as my own.
I do depend on my husband. But he also depends on me and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. That’s how marriage works.