I’ve been a military spouse for almost 6 years but when you add in the time that I served, I have been around military life for over 14 years now. I’ve seen a lot of wonderful things that spouses do and I have seen things that make me cringe. Unfortunately, there is no instruction manual on how to be the “perfect” military spouse. Well there are manuals…seriously, the military has manuals for just about EVERYTHING…and there are training’s for even us spouses but definitely no “How to Be the Model Military Spouse” manual. (Maybe I can work on that one…just kidding.)
Anyway, I know that being a military spouse is a learning process and none of us are excellent at it. However, I can say that over the last 6 years I have learned a thing or two. That’s why I think it’s so important to share these 5 social media mistakes that you DON’T want to make as a military spouse!
Complaining about your spouse’s chain of command on your social media.
I see this so often and it never ceases to amaze me! The really fun ones are the spouses that complain about the chain of command even when they are friends with the spouses of leadership or even the actual leadership. Please for the love…DO NOT complain about your spouse’s chain of command or even their job on social media. If you need to vent or are wondering if what is going on is within limits then there are other ways. Every base has an Area Defense Council (ADC) who is there to look out for the best interest of the military member. If your spouse feels wronged or believes what is being asked or done is not within limits then the member needs to go to the ADC. However, if you are just ranting over insignificant stuff then you need REFRAIN from going near social media. Your actions reflect upon the military member…you do not want to be the reason your spouse is called into their supervisor’s office! Trust me, I know the urge arises….I have a husband who works really late hours at times to get things done for leadership but ranting about my displeasure on social media does nothing to help me and can have an adverse effect on him. It’s best just to leave leadership out of anything you say to be safe.
OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC!!!
Please learn what OPSEC (Operational Security) is! It doesn’t matter how new of a spouse you are, oversharing information can cause harm to your spouse and/or their unit/squadron! We have all let it slip our mind on some of the small stuff but it’s super important in today’s time that we do not share potentially harmful information with people who are waiting for us to. As military spouses we use social media as a way of keeping in touch with loved ones but understand that if you are putting information about your spouse’s unit activity, location, size or even posting pictures that may have some sensitive information in the background it can be harmful and allow the enemy access to it. There are a lot of resources available to help educate you on OPSEC but my rule of thumb is if you aren’t sure then just don’t post it! You spouse’s unit or Airman & Family Readiness office should be able to direct you to your branch’s OPSEC training and other important information.
Save your venting for your spouse.
There is absolutely NO need to rant about how horrible your duty station is, the unit your spouse is in, the other spouses or any other military related rant on social media! Not only is it hard on your spouse who will have to answer questions at work about it but you could also be giving a false sense of the base/unit to incoming personnel. You by no means will love every base you are at. There will always be down sides to where you get stationed as well. Learn to find the good in the base, the good in the unit and even the good in your spouse’s job. It’s honestly not that hard. While a lot of people hated our previous base in Georgia, we grew to absolutely love it there. We were close to some pretty great pick-it-yourself farms, we were close to Tallahassee and only a couple of hours from Jacksonville Beach. My husband works CRAZY hours because he was an instructor but it was great seeing him come home and be so proud of his students and what they were achieving. Another added bonus of his job was it was a non-deployable job so he was there for both of our kid’s births. It wasn’t a bright and rosy duty station but we got to experience some pretty great things and my husband was able to excel in his job. Now, we can honestly say we miss it. That “horrible” base you are at has some pretty great aspects to it. The unit your spouse is in probably has some pretty great individuals in it that you can become lifelong friends with. The job that your spouse is doing at your current location just might excel him (or her) into being within reach of their next promotion. Don’t use social media to rant about those things. If you must vent then talk to your spouse or find a close friend/family member. However, in my honest opinion…don’t rant or get upset about it…look to the positives and I promise your outlook will change all on it’s own. Just remember, you will not be there forever…you will be on to your next adventure in a couple of years.
Your relationship issues should stay off of social media.
I think this is a good tip for EVERY person but especially for military spouses. As hard as it is to be away from most of your friends and family, posting about your relationship troubles on social media will not help you nor your spouse and will likely make things worse. If you feel the need to write the issues out then grab a pen and paper and write a letter to your spouse. Or start a journal to help you channel your emotions but social media is not a place for that. You are dealing with a lot as a military spouse but they are dealing with a lot at work. Putting your marriage (or spouse) on blast for the whole social media world to see does nothing to change things for the better. It’s called your private life for a reason…it’s better left private. This is another situation where if you need to vent to someone (and not on paper) then see a counselor. There is NO SHAME in counseling. I was seeing mine weekly and I’m now to every other week. We discuss anything and everything in my life and she is able to provide outside input along with some guidance on how to respond to certain “triggers” of mine. You might actually like it!
Starting, being involved in or even acknowledging spouse drama.
What’s that old saying? Save the drama for your mama! I see this on a DAILY basis! The posts that are “meant” for another military spouse yet doesn’t name them…just hints towards them. Then you have other spouses in the military community joining in or commenting trying to figure out who they are talking about. What are we…in high school? I’ve been that spouse out with other ladies and then all of a sudden they start their gossiping…talking all about what they heard or thought they saw. You know what I do (and what you should do)…you either walk away or stop the conversation. Now I say walk away simply because I have been in that situation where one (or more) of the spouses were married to higher ranking members than my husband. I try to remember at all times that while you don’t wear the rank of your spouse, you go home and have the ear of your spouse. The last thing you want to do is start drama with a higher ranking member’s spouse for her (or him) to go home and start complaining about Sergeant Smith’s wife and how mean or rude she is. It’s much easier to just walk away and if every person did that then there would be no one to gossip to. Live by the golden rule…if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. A little politically correctness can go A LONG WAY in the military whether you are a member or a spouse.
Social media can be fun but it can also hinder you in getting a job and it can hinder your spouse and their career. People like to think what they say on their “personal” page is not going hurt anyone’s career or come back to bite the military member in the rear but the ugly truth is that IT CAN and it probably WILL. This life is not easy to live and no one claims that it is but it is the cards that were dealt to you when you married your spouse. Pull you big girl (or boy) undies up and be an adult. Learn about military customs and courtesies. Learn about the job that your spouse does and what would help him (or her) progress. Then start setting goals as a family to get them there. Turn your focus from bitching (sorry another word just doesn’t fit the mood) to progression and goals. Be a supporter. While the first four years of our marriage was the busiest and probably the toughest when it came my husband’s job, it was the most career rewarding. He receive high level awards, a promotion and he was able to mentor MANY young Airmen who were transitioning into being supervisors. That hard work paid off again when his packet went to the promotion board and he was selected for promotion and became a senior NCO. It’s now a saying in our house that he wouldn’t be where he is career wise had he not married me. While I say that jokingly, he says it’s true because I supported him each and every step of the way. It was down right hard and frustrating at times but now, we both see the benefits. So focus on supporting your spouse and stay out of all that other stuff. Use social media to post pictures of your travels, share pictures of the kids for family to see and even a few laughs but leave all the drama off the internet. Don’t let social media mess up your spouse’s career and possibly your marriage. It’s just not worth it!
If you have some other social media mistakes that military spouses make then please feel free to comment below and share them with us. I would love to hear from you.