Living as a British Army spouse is quite an exciting life that comes with lots of experiences. Marrying military personnel is unique. It comes with a lot of positivity, courage, and challenges. It is one life-time opportunities, an opportunity to love, care and support a husband or wife who has chosen to serve the country actively and equally; it is an opportunity to serve your country, especially and uniquely. When you marry an army man or woman, you have automatically become a member of the community. You will appreciate and value their lifestyle and blend into it. The military is a very disciplined organisation, armies all over the world live by specific core values that make the institution a reputable and well respectable organisation. The core values the British army live by, over time, do grow or embedded into military spouses, and that manifests in so many ways.
Being a military wife can be quite challenging. It does affect one’s way of life in many ways. For example, the posting to a new unit every three to four years, a movement, having to leave old friends to a new place, starting from scratch, looking for jobs. Luckily, the army community can provide job opportunities, as well. As a dental nurse, my job is readily available in almost all military units; so, before we move, I plan and apply for a role in the dental practice in the new unit.
The kids also feel it in their way, even though they cannot say it as they are still little. They find it challenging to adapt to the new environment, leaving friends and loved ones behind, going to a new nursery, and try to settle in.
My experience as a British army spouse
I have come to understand the core values of the British Army and live by it. For two individuals to live as husband and wife, they are likely to share common values, and it is easily relatable.
Courage: As army spouses, we have the moral courage to understand the importance of the husband’s job, and we are ever ready to give our full support for the course. We build the courage to face any challenges, staying positive. When they deploy, we take courage, we cover their roles and responsibilities at home, knowing that we might be apart for a while, a very long while.
Discipline: We tend to emulate the ethical behaviour in them. We train ourselves to obey the community’s rules and guidelines, putting the army first and the family, which remains very close. In many ways, discipline helps us to bring up our children the right way, that is acceptable to society.
Respect for others: The Army places respect for others very high in the community. Service personnel comprises people from all over the world, and for community cohesion, progress, and effectiveness, respect for others must take centre stage.
Integrity: One of the core values the British army lives by is integrity. As spouses, maintaining and living by this value is one way to support our husbands by being honest, sincere, and reliable.
Loyalty: Loyalty in the army is about supporting your team, looking after, and helping them even when the going gets tough. In return, they do the same for you. As army spouses, our loyalty is about supporting our husbands, looking after and helping them, and in return, a soldier will love you loyally, a value they live-by.
Selfless Commitment: I wake up every day, bearing in mind that my husband’s job assignment or deployment could come his way at any time, and that will take him away from me, from the children and home for weeks or months. We dedicate ourselves to supporting our spouses in their chosen careers. As a British army spouse, we live not for ourselves but for the husband, the army community, and the country.
Togetherness: whenever my husband is away, I find the army community more helpful. The welfare department sends information about events taking place within the community. They organise events such as funfairs, families day out, shopping, get together, cultural day for children and adults. There is also a Hive where spouses can go to get information or assistance if required. Interestingly, the welfare officer does regularly calls to check on spouses and the kids while the soldiers are on deployment or tours.
Army community is a place where love, respect, care, and togetherness reign; it is a beautiful place on earth.