Male Military Spouses Cope With Added Challenges, Expert Says

Male Military Spouses Cope With Added Challenges, Expert Says

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Image: – – Macho Spouse

 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2011 – Brian Campbell knew some challenges were in store for him after he left his Navy career to follow his military wife across the country.

But what he didn't count on were the additional challenges brought on not by his status as a military spouse, but by his gender.


“I was the first [nonmilitary] male spouse in that command ever,” Campbell said in a podcast posted on Military OneSource.

Seeking social connections, Campbell looked for a spouses' club at their new installation, but instead, found a wives' club.

“I didn't fit into that organization very well,” he said. “In a lot of instances, when you're talking about a spouses' organization, you're going to be the only male in the room.”

Campbell eventually found the social interaction he craved by reaching out to men within his wife's command. These connections are vital, he said, and can “help build that social organization that can be lacking for you as a male spouse.”

As a small segment of the overall military population, it can be difficult for service members' civilian husbands to figure out where they fit in, but building strong support networks can help to ward off feelings of isolation, said Scott Stanley, a research professor from the University of Denver and a military family expert. According to the 2010 Military Family Life Project, just 5 percent of active duty service members' civilian spouses are male.

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Male Military Spouses Cope With Added Challenges, Expert Says

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image for How would you feel if your child wanted to enlist in the military?

How would you feel if your child wanted to enlist in the military?

One of my Google alerts had the following article from Lifetime Moms (Lifetime - you know, the channel with all the dramas?...Oh, you don't know?).

Anyway, the post, Military Wife On The Mic: The Biggest Misconception About Military Life, has a video of Army wife and "Lifetime Mom", Angela Caban, at the 2013 Military.com Spouse Summit. In the video, Angela asks several military wives, "How would you feel if your child wanted to enlist in the military?" Since I know that most of you probably won't venture over to the Lifetime website, I decided to bring the question to you.

So, here is the question again for you male military spouses. How would you feel if your child wanted to enlist in the military?

image for New Army Study - Seeking Male Military Spouses

New Army Study - Seeking Male Military Spouses

ArmySpouseLogo.jpgI have focused the last 10 years of my career as a research psychologist on trying to better understand the needs, struggles, and success of military couples and families. I've worked with hundreds of couples, given numerous presentations, published several articles, received multiple research grants … yet it is quite clear to me that in some ways, I have failed in my efforts.

To give some background, I began my first academic position in 2005. Given all that was happening at that time, I wanted to give back in some way to service members and families who give so much of themselves in service of our country. As a civilian, I saw two main ways of being able to actively engage in this. One was to volunteer when I was able. The second way was to find a way to build this commitment to military families into my everyday life.
For me, the second approach – folding my efforts into the very fabric of my life – was the way to make a sustained commitment over time. That is when I set about trying to connect my everyday work as a clinical psychologist and researcher to helping this unbelievably deserving group of people. I took my expertise in research on couples and anxiety, and applied it to researching the experiences of military couples, with the goal of learning how best to help those couples when they struggle.



 

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