A male, civilian spouse finishing up his advanced degree struggles to find his place within his Soldier wife’s family. Suggestions and a gentle well placed kick of their veteran boots comes from Ft. Leonard Wood’s fine advice columnists, Pam and Shaun Collins. What do you think of their suggestions for the civilian fella’s attitude and their advice on how to manage a longer visit well?
READER Quandry: First, let me frame up my issue. When someone says, “your wife wears combat boots,” I take it as a compliment, because she is the Soldier and I am the spouse. I was never in the military, only a Family member. While my wife is in the military, I have taken the last year to work on my doctoral dissertation. It requires a lot of hours, fieldwork, clinical studies and writing, re-writing and re-writing again.
HE SAID: I too, am proud of my wife’s service and am happy that you are comfortable with your partner’s service; however, that’s not the issue you are seeking insights to so let’s cut to the chase.
My wife and I are also the most highly educated people within our Families, but it has never created any tension within our Families. I want you to put on your big-kid pants on for a moment as I’m going to address what you’re bringing to the table, as that’s all you can actually change.
SHE SAID: Three weeks is a long time to spend with people you like and have things in common with. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said that fish and guests start to smell after three days?