Military Wife Quotes: The House of Indignation

quote indignation

Being a military spouse might be a lot like being an expatriate living in China.  I got to thinking this while listening to a This American Life story about what it is like to live in China today. This ex-pat Kaiser Kuo was talking about the Chinese government and censorship and some of the realities of doing global business online.  (It’s a good story check it out here).

Kuo argued that only certain things were worth protesting. “If you’re not conflicted by what you see here your eyes aren’t open,” said Kuo. “But if you continually dwell in the House of Indignation you won’t be able to make it here.”

The House Of Indignation.  That really struck a chord with me. The House of Indignation sounds like a place our military spouse readers get stuck all the time.  Shoot, I’ve picked a china pattern and moved right in.

Maybe the House of Indignation is the reason why we print so many stories from spouses who are upset about something seemingly small—someone feels like an outsider.  Someone else feels underloved and underpaid.  Another person is outraged by dangerous dogs living on base.  And always we have the folks who wanna jump into that useless officer/enlisted fray. Why do you print this kind of story?

I think after reading this military wife quote that I would say that we do it for one reason.  We know that if you are not conflicted sometimes by what you see in military life, your eyes aren’t open.

By taking on a military love, we spouses and partners and girlfriends and boyfriends jump into a foreign country.  Some of the things our servicemembers accept as normal are just not normal to us. We witness exactly what “changed” can mean after deployment.  We’re the ones putting together yet another birthday party for a kid all alone.  We see marriages break up around us because people just plain spend too much time apart.

Sometimes we talk about those big things on SpouseBuzz.  But sometimes those big things get tangled in the littles.  That’s why it helps to get those things into a common space.  It helps to get a little feedback from other people in our community—some older and more experienced, some younger with a fresher, less drinkin’-the-Koolaid mentality.

I think that by looking at the those things together we can help another spouse or partner escape of the House of Indignation.  We can help someone get away from the idea that the military is something someone is doing to you, instead of a place where you are choosing to build a life.  Because Kaiser Kuo is right:  If you continually dwell in the House of Indignation, you won’t make it here.

And at SpouseBuzz, we want all of you to make it.


About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at
  • mel

    Jacey, I have been thinking about your article since I read it this morning. First, I got hung up on the “drinkin’-the-Koolaid mentality” comment. For us more experienced spouses, I believe that we have reached a point where we accept certain things about military life that we really can’t change and we don’t get all bent out of shape when those things occur. It’s far from drinking the Koolaid. I see it as more of a coping thing. My life would have been total misery if I got upset about everything that had a negative impact on how I though my world should be. There is nothing wrong with calm acceptance and saving that energy for the important battles.

    • mel

      I try really hard to stay out of the “us vs them” mentality that I think encourages this indignation you are discussing. It’s almost like some feel we are in this elite group whose sacrifices are great and whose sacrifices are misunderstood by the public. Many seem to forget that we are civilians. My view is that I am just like my civilian neighbor and I just happen to be married to someone in the military. Sure, I go through things they don’t go through but I’m sure that they go through things that I don’t go through. We are all just people who feel the same emotions and we are all trying to live our lives the best way we can.
      An additional thing that contributes to this “house of indignation” is this sense of entitlement that reveals itself in the belief that the gov’t has an obligation to take care of us because we support our spouses in uniform and that the commands should consider the families when scheduling work days, training, and deployments I view anything that is provided to my family by the government and by the base I live near as a bonus.

      • mel

        Back in ’89, when I was a brand new military spouse, we didn’t have the abundance of support services we have now. When my husband was sent to Desert Storm, we didn’t have the technology of today and we didn’t have any form of organization to lend support to spouses. So when I see what we have today, I am wondering why so many complain about what is available or not available.
        I also learned long ago that the military is priority number one and if that means my husband has to work long hours, deploy or train away from home, I just have to suck it up. I would rather have him well trained so that the next time he deploys he has a greater chance of making it home. Maybe my views aren’t welcome by the majority , but I’ve lived through 24 years of military life so far and you will find no anger or bitterness about this life I live.