YDU: Struggling To Find Friendship As A Military Spouse


As a military spouse, I have struggled with acceptance, friendships, and being a wife to a service member. I did not know what it entailed to becoming a military wife in such a large community of people. Where would I fit in? How do I build community? What type of military spouse category would I fall into?

My mindset has always been: That this is who I am.  If you don’t like me, move on. I learned really quickly that not everyone is the same and my beliefs were getting me into trouble.

I was soon drawn into fear of acceptance. I was only making two or three friends. I was not building a community, but a wall. I was very protective and was trying to guard myself from “fake” friendships. I swore the Army wives would act like your friend to your face but turn around and back stab you.

Then I figured out we build up our walls to protect ourselves. We move so often within three years usually we tend to be afraid to make connection. The military spouse I’d become was in fear of losing friendships or becoming betrayed by one. I invest so much into my friendships to soon that it got me hurt or not fast enough that I kept a wall to protect me.

My time in Germany was one of the few times I let down my guard. I had to because I was far from family and alone.  Then my husband deployed  for fifteen months to Iraq.

I had no one to turn to but women in my neighborhood. They became not only my best friends, but soon “family.” They became people I trusted completely and our kids grew up together. It was an amazing bond I will cherish forever.

We had drama like most women but we also managed to have each other’s backs if necessary. We bonded by our weekly Friday night dinners together and at night drank wine excessively (not proud).

Although a fun deployment I will cherish with lovely women to lean on I soon realized friendships will not last forever in the Army. It wasn’t that we wouldn’t be friends, it was just that we wouldn’t be at the same duty station forever. As the deployment ended friends either stayed friends or drifted apart to reconnect with their husbands. Next thing I knew it was time to leave Germany and say good-bye to friends.

I learned I was not only excited but in fear again of acceptance. How would I start over? I can’t do this again? I hate PCS’ing because I’m not good with building friendships again. I wish I was a kid sometimes they just go out in the yard find a few friends and instantly they become friends. It’s an innocent time no judging. Kids live a care free life and are resilient in transition.

It wasn’t until I moved to Fort Campbell, Kentucky after husband’s third deployment I realized I needed a new group of friends. I knew I wanted to lead my life differently. I wanted to find Jesus and trust him again.

I needed a local church group to connect too and grow with in community. I found a local church and women’s ministry that helped me heal in my acceptance issues and a loss of my mother. I couldn’t let the fear of acceptance contain me any more.

I knew I was home here when I realized the military spouse I wanted to be wasn’t a coward to life. I didn’t want to be a party wife. I wanted to be a noble wife. My plan was to reshape my mind and become a strong follower of Christ. I felt God pulling me to open up to community and grow my confidence. I accepted Christ and got baptized.

In the end I learned who I am as a military spouse by coming to Fort Campbell. I didn’t want to be a women hiding behind a soldier’s heroic actions or a women who drowns her fear in wine. I wanted to be a follower of Christ, a “noble” spouse, and a loyal friend and mother. I struggle daily to be the best military spouse because I’m not perfect. I know my job now is to not let others judgment’s cloud my path. I am to remain strong, patient, faithful, and trusting as a military spouse. I AM TO BE ME!!!

Niki Cole is an Army spouse of ten years currently stationed  at Ft. Campbell, KY. She is a proud wife and a mother of three currently going back to school to become an Elementary Educator. She blogs at http://msfaithmagazine.wordpress.com/about/

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  • sabrinacking

    I think this goes in phases. Some duty stations I get right out there, some I am tired. Some the climate makes me want to never leave my house during the 8 months of winter (FT Drum), some you can’t keep me inside because its 8 months of summer (FT Polk). I have went through our military life for almost 20 years franchising lemonade stands, but just now, I am sort of tired of all that. Like you, through it all, the only thing that has kept me able to function is faith. Military life, perhaps more than anything else, you have to make about the bigger things, otherwise you drown in all the little things you miss or never get to experience from the constant shuffle to and fro. One of the biggest things I abhor about military life is always feeling like an outsider, I don’t envy fancy cars, houses, or things. I envy the townies I see who live in their little house 20 years, attend the same church, have a real groundedness…and I know that even when we leave military life wherever we go…we’ll still be the new people trying to fit into an already established community. But I also know, the townies envy us, they wish to be moving and have all the excitement they some how envision us having.

  • NJ

    We just PCS to a new duty station and it has been a competition with the new wives that I have met. It is sad to say but one of the biggest disappointed factors are that I found is that the FRG wives have not been excepting of a new spouse. I worked with the previous FRG and didn’t see all the horrible stories of spouses wearing there husband’s rank. Here it is quite obvious that if you want to be apart of the FRG, then you need to keep your mouth shut if you are married to an enlisted member and not have an opinion to anything. So making friends is not always easy. I don’t believe it will always be this way, however the fact that it is that way makes me feel less likely to participate in the company events. I think it is so sad that our military members are risking there lives for all of us and yet this petty attitude towards those left behind is not valued the same. I am in the same boat with everyone else when there is a deployment. The sadness of my other half leaving, the ling distance relationship and fear of never seeing my love again. So that should be enough for other wives to get off there high horse and see the reality of the whole picture, not just the small stuff.

  • mongolberry

    I feel like this could have been a very relatable post for me until I got to the end. For me, as an atheist, it is especially hard to make friends. At our current duty station I have met quite a few wives that I got along with rather well. And then they’ll ask me where I worship or invite me to their church or invite my kids to Summer Bible School and I’ll have to tell them that I am an atheist and then suddenly they don’t have time to hang out with me anymore or a couple of times it turned into a sour friendship, one in which they were constantly trying to convert me or turn every conversation into a question and answer session.

    • Mamatoni6

      I get exactly what you are saying! While I am not an atheist I am not religious either..I guess you can say I’m spiritual, in a private way lol. I don’t make friends easy and never have, which drew me to this post. Until like you, I got to the end. So when I do meet someone and that inevitable question comes up and they don’t get the answer that is expected I am at best dismissed, at worst preached at while trying to be converted. Especially, since I have some serious health problems, as that is the platform usually used on me. “Start praying and things will get better” and the like. I do respect all religions and those whose decide not to believe. So while I respect this writers faith, I can’t help but feel like what she is saying has nothing to do with friendship or the struggles to build one. I also have a problem with the “drowning our fears in wine” part lol.

      • mongolberry

        It’s helpful to see that someone else can relate to my feelings. I also thought that the “wine” line was a little offensive but then I just shrugged it off as a joke and decided I was looking to deep into it.

  • the first mel

    I was also put off by the “I found Christ” content. I agree that to find friends it’s best to find common interests, but I think her angle is bordering on self-righteousness with a distaste for others who don’t live as she does. Quite honestly, I hated this article. I believe that what a person believes in when it comes to God or whatever is personal (no one else’s business) and I hope that this article isn’t the beginning of a new trend on this site. If I wanted to read faith-based articles, I would go to a different site.

  • Justine

    This is my very first PCS and very first time away from “home” for any extended period of time. I’m not sure that I WANT other military spouse friends and I don’t know if that makes me a bad person? I don’t make friends easily or..rather..I don’t make acquaintances that I want to spend any amount of time with easily. I don’t enjoy schmoozing or pretending to enjoy things that I don’t and I’ve found that especially in the military community my interests and likes aren’t all that relatable. I’m not sure HOW to deal with this and I’m sure I’ll figure it out as we go along. One thing though that has helped me is working outside of the military community and making friends with the “townies”. I don’t need people to understand my weird military lot in life, I just need friends who share my sense of humor and interests and so what if I move in a few years…I’m sure they will be okay with that..I don’t need the military sisterhood for someone to get that moving a lot sucks.

  • Lorraine in Spang

    Been married to DH for 8 years and have been friendless for just as long. No matter how polite I am, what I do or say the extroverted military wives do not like me and are not friendly. When I lived on base, they were gossips and over the years I find the typical mil. spouse to be quite malicious and catty. Mil spouses SHOULD be more supportive of each other, but they’re not.