Video: A Man in a Woman’s World

Male Spouse

When it comes to being a military spouse, it’s a woman’s world. Not that there aren’t also male spouses — but just like being a woman in old boy’s club workplace, being married to a female service member can be very challenging. Support programs tend to be geared towards women, if only because they are the bulk of the users. In 2009 males made up only 6.9 percent of all spouses across the services.

John Avelis is a Navy spouse and stay at home dad stationed in Japan whose deployed wife is an O-4. We talked to John recently about what it’s like to be a man surrounded by women — and where he goes for support when the rest of the spouses are getting their nails done.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • SemperSteen

    It takes a real man to be in that position. Like you said, most spouse-oriented activities are aimed at women, and as women we’re not even immune to the loneliness, frustration and isolation that can sometimes accompany the military lifestyle. I think it’s interesting though how John talks about men not necessarily bonding over the lifestyle like women do. I’m sure you could write an entire masters thesis on biological and sociological influences on the male military spouse. :)

  • Andi

    Great interview. John, thanks for giving us your perspective!

  • Michael

    Why not include more male spouse perspectives by having some more men join and write for Spouse Buzz? Seriously! I actually sent a request to write for Spouse Buzz, but I never received a reply. It was around the time the new website was being put into operation, so that may have had something to do with the lack of reply.

  • Jimmy

    Not a bad interview on the whole. I liked the part about the bonding thing, bromance? lol I enjoy being the anomole within the spouses’ realm. I get looks, I feel out of place amongst the men in the squadron, because they all have jobs, get to talk shop talk, drink beer, and all that noise, however, there is nothing better than hanging with your kids, doing homework and being able to watch them grow.

  • Jimmy

    At first I hated the idea of being a stay at home parent. My wife is soon to deploy for the rest of the year, I have 3 children, I go to school full time with 6 classes under my belt, the spouses in the squadron, both male and female are just part of my family, they’ll take care of me if needed. The military community is an awesome wealth of knowledge and resourses that come together just perfectly no matter the sex of the spouse. Yes there should be more “support” features for the dad’s but in the end we just don’t work that way like he said. I’d rather lean on the experienced women who are ten times more awesome than some awkward feeling “support” group for men. Dudes in our shoes rock! Just throwing that out there! lol Nothing was mentioned though of and if this John’s blog is public or where it can be accessed? Thnx!

  • I’m very glad that a male spouse’s view was posted. John is awesome! We miss him stateside. Thank you for doing the interview. It was ver well done. The pedicure comment really made me laugh. Because knowing John I had a thousand hilarious comments running through my mind.

  • Kate W.

    John is such an awesome and laid back person. I remember the tour he was talking about with the camera crews. I have to also add that in addition to being mistaken for a service member, the women here also try to figure out who his wife is in the Officer Spouse Club and why “she took her husband” to the event! He’s really cool though. The great thing about John is that he won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do, and he doesn’t care what people think when he does the things he wants. He will just as readily go on trip to hot-springs as he will to Sumo if the outing catches his eye. It’s wonderful to see him participating in the community and I’m truly happy to have him as a friend.

  • John

    Thanks for all the kind words, Michelle and Kate. I’ve been very lucky to be mistaken for the husband of some of the coolest wives in the Navy!

    • Kate W.

      It doesn’t help that your son looks more like some of us than he does you ;)