Are MilSpouses Entitled to Anything?


A male military spouse was recently stranded in Hawaii after he was denied boarding for a military hop on its way to Japan because his name was on the “no-fly” list. He had gotten as far as the island in an attempt to visit his Japan-based wife. He was not accused of any crime, just listed by Homeland Security as not permitted to fly. After a few days he was removed from the list without explanation.

I can imagine how this would go for me. “But I’m a military spouse!” I would be tempted to say. “I have a DoD ID! And I’m on my way to see my spouse who I haven’t seen in oh, so long. Because he’s serving. So pretty, pretty please, let me on that plane.”

“Military spouse” means I’m trustworthy, right? It means I’m serving my country by supporting a war fighter, right? And it definitely means I don’t belong on the no-fly list … right?

Which all sounds great, until the agent says “that doesn’t matter,” and walks away.

Because when it comes down to it, being a military spouse doesn’t actually make me all that special.

We’ve talked about this before here on SpouseBuzz: being a military spouse does not mean you are entitled to jack diddly squat. Or even that you’re extra awesome. Or even that you’re trustworthy.

It just means that you married someone in the military. So congrats on that!

Which is sad. Because I like feeling special.

I’ll admit it: not feeling entitled is something of a battle — because it’s easy for me to slip into feeling like I am. Just to be clear: I know I’m not entitled, but it’s easy to feel like I am.

Maybe it’s that society has taught us to be that way by their generosity towards military families, or that we see our spouse on the receiving end of the gift of thanks and it’s so easy to think “hey, thank me, too!” After all, I am the one who stays home alone with screaming children for months on end while he does the country’s bidding, right? I am the one who has to deal with appliances that magically break for absolutely no reason the moment he gets on a plane.

But this is the beauty of an all-volunteer force and the glorious, free country in which we live: my husband chose to be in the military and I chose to be a military spouse. I am owed nothing. I am entitled to nothing.

Spouses who forget these facts are not just irritating — they make the rest of us look bad. Every year during the Sears Heroes at Home registration, a small but vocal group make a scene, complaining that the system is down and forgetting that none of this is something they deserve. And it’s embarrassing to the those who see these gift drives as a humbling reminder that America has not forgotten our families.

Since we last wrote about this issue we have seen the support from the White House towards military families in the form of “Joining Forces” increase. We have seen society step-up to give military families a helping hand. Every week we receive casting calls and inquiries from producers looking to feature military families, often just to thank them for what they do. I’d say military family support is even at a recent history high.

But we must be careful lest the feelings of entitlement rise along with it.

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.
  • mel

    “being a military spouse does not mean you are entitled to jack diddly squat. Or even that you’re extra awesome. Or even that you’re trustworthy.
    It just means that you married someone in the military”.

    This says it all. When a milspouse says that they deserve something because they stand by and support their servicemember (SM) , I think “well, that’s what you would do for any person you married regardless of their occupation”. I don’t see this life as a series of sacrifices. I see it as a trade-off of accepting circumstances so that I can have the man I love be a part of my life. Sure, military life is difficult, but it is worth it because my husband is worth it.

    • mel

      I support what he does because I love him. I don’t see it as a patriotic contribution. No matter what he chose or chooses to do with his life, I will always support him. I don’t deal with military life because of love for country, even though I believe this country is the best place to be, I do it for my husband. So, when it comes to feeling special because I am a milspouse, I don’t get it. I also don’t get the sense of entitilement or expecting special treatment because of who I married. This is the life I chose and this is the life that I am thankful for every day.

  • Rquick

    Awesome post The Sears things always leaves a bad taste in my life when Milspouses start complaining about an extremely nice thing that is being done for them. It drives me bonkers when they think theyre entitled to things or deserve things simply because or their informal title. Great post!

  • RakkWife@FTCKY

    Are military spouses entitled to anything?

    Well not to things. Not to tangible, I-can-touch-that kinds of things. But to an atta-girl from time to time, to extra hugs during a deployment cycle (not JUST when he’s gone), but for those harrowing days and weeks and sometimes rough months after he returns, too.

    We deserve the recognition for our struggles, for our awareness to the dangers of our husband’s occupations, and to living with the reality that he may not come home this time. That his teammate(s) may not make it back with him, and what this will do to him, forever.

    Unlike our civilian counterparts, we live every day with the sensitivity and acute realization that our husband’s jobs irrevocably change their lives, every day that they put on their boots. That who we send off to work one day will not be the same man who comes home to us.

    We do deserve something from this “grateful nation.” We stand proud behind our men, because we love them fiercely, and because we believe in what they have chosen to do. Theirs is not simply a job, it is a commitment to duty and honor. We deserve to have their sacrifices respected, and those sacrifices often times means us, their families.

    So no, not entitled. But deserving, yes. Yes, we are. Every one of us.

  • Bill

    Judging by the tone of the post, I wonder what your feelings are towards a Milspouse who gloms on to half the Servicemember’s retired pay simply because the spouse “was there” during the entire 20 (or more) years?

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for some sort of benefit for my spouse, but I EARNED that pension myself and don’t feel that judges should be allowed to give half (or more) to my spouse ‘just because’.

    • spouse2000

      Same happens in civilian life. Get over it.

      • EarnIt

        No, civilian pensions do NOT get divided as property. Only money saved in retirement funds, IRAs, 401Ks, etc… does. That’s because it is currently held marital funds. Civilian pensions are properly viewed as future earnings, and not property. Only military pensions are divided up this way.

  • Lee

    I actually know that guy from another forum. He is in a doomsday prepper/militia group and a critic of the 9/11 Commission findings. A DHS agent infiltrated the group and was busted when he followed the DHS agent back to his office. He believes the DHS got the license # off his car and he ended up on the No Fly list as a result. Also the military uses a different No Fly data base state side than the Fed’s do.

    The fact that he was taken off the list after some calls to his state politicians shows the bogus reason for having him on the list in the first place.

    Alot of spouses do get a sense of entitlement attitude. The “half my pension” issue is a hot button one. I got hit with it for being married to my spouse for 14 of my 24 yrs of active duty. Her lazy non-working butt got rewarded for destroying my credit and draining our investment accounts while i was deployed.

  • Voice of reason

    Bill and Lee…if your wives were so awful you should have divorced them long before you left the military. You chose to keep them around for whatever reason, so quit complaining.

  • Leigh Kao

    Most military spouses will never have to work. They are very fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at home with their children and focus on raising them and not ever have to worry about paying the bills or childcare or anything else related to employment. Most are sheltered and never really lived on their own, so their perspective is narrow and often self absorbed. Many are entitiled and have no idea how hard their spouses work……it’s always me me me, look at me, having to stay at home with the kids……deal with broken appliances, etc. Uh, hello, that’s life ! Look at police officers’ wives. Look at firefighters’ wives…..many wives deal with the stress of possible harm to their spouses…many wives deal with long separations……it’s just that these mil spouses have never had their own identities, so they take on the martyer complex because it is somewhat of an identity. And yes, I am a mil spouse, just tired of all these whining ladies who don’t know how good they have it.