July 26, 2013
By Raquel Enero
When it comes to issues facing the military community, there's often a tendency to focus on the challenges encountered by active duty service members and veterans. However, military spouses have to overcome significant obstacles as well. Whether it is due to issues surrounding unemployment, stress due to a loved one's deployment or difficulties caused by frequent moves, being married to a service member can undoubtedly cause some anxiety, Time magazine reports.
Always on the move
One of the most challenging aspects of military life is having to move from base to base. Known as permanent changes of station, these moves can be stressful for every member of the family. A recent White House report found that military spouses are about 10 times more likely than civilians to move across state lines once a year. Aside from having to pack everything up and move with some regularity, this makes it more difficult for spouses to land a steady job, especially if they have a position that requires some form of certification or licensing. In fact, a recent survey revealed that spouse employment opportunities ranked as the third biggest financial concern among military families.
"Frequent moves combined with different requirements for occupational licenses across state lines can make it difficult and costly for spouses of active duty military to find a job," the White House report noted.
Government takes action
The issues facing military spouses have not gone unaddressed, however. For instance, first lady Michelle Obama'a Joining Forces initiatives has placed a heavy emphasis on creating more job opportunities for military spouses. Most recently, she issued a challenge to private industries to hire 435,000 service members or their spouses over the next five years. Obama has also called for states to make it easier for spouses to land jobs by allowing them to transfer their licenses. By mid-2012, 23 states had such laws in place.
Volunteers step up
Lawmakers aren't the only people supporting military spouses. For example, at Fort Shaw in South Carolina, a team of volunteers showed up to provide a home-cooked meal for the deployed service members, according to The Item.
"I really enjoy how friendly and supportive everyone is," said Marci Spruiell, wife of a deployed service member, told the newspaper.