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What Military Families Want Civilians to Understand

They want to dispel some common misconceptions.

If you are dating someone in the military, you need to be prepared for weird questions for a long time. People might mean well but some questions are not sensitive. Military families do not have to explain themselves to anyone. There are some things civilians need to understand so all the questions can stop. Military family members are civilians too and they can act as a bridge between the civilian and military world.  

There are several myths surrounding the lifestyle of military families. This post wants to highlight some of the assumptions and give you the correct information. This article is a useful resource if you have friends who are in military families. You will have a better understanding of what and how to talk to members of military families after reading this. 

To set the record straight, this is what civilians need to understand concerning military families. 

  • Military spouses worry about their deployed partners 

No wonder how well we seem to be coping, we miss our deployed family members. You need to be sensitive when talking to us about our loved ones. Asking questions about death and starting political debates is not acceptable. We just want to have our loved ones home and safe with us. Making us think about death will not make things better. 

  • Military families are not rich 

Contrary to popular belief, military families are not rich. We are not poor either although there are some who live below the poverty line. Why do we have financial problems? One reason is that it is hard for military spouses to find work due to the frequent travel. It is possible to support a family from a military paycheck but it will not make you rich. That is why you find there are families living off food stamps. 

  • We don’t have all the answers 

We know you are excited to see our family members back from deployment. However, we cannot give you the exact date they will come back. Why? Because we do not know the exact date either. We are usually given a “window” of expected dates but they can change at the last minute. Even as military families, we do not have the clearance for such information. 

  • Most aspects of their lives are under government

Being a military family comes with its restrictions. They do not have a choice in the place they live, when they will move, how often they will deploy and when and how long they will have their leave. You might not understand why military families cannot attend family functions. Even some deployed members miss the birth of their children because of deployment. 

  • Nothing is free in the military 

There is nothing free in this world. You might think that military families have an easy life with all the benefits but it is not free. The houses you think are rent-free; the rent is deducted from the deployed member’s paycheck. Everything on base is affordable but nothing is free including the healthcare.  

  • Military families have different political views

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