The partner of a Defence / Military member has many titles – spouse, partner, mil spouse and my favourite Dependant! My husband has been a Solider since before I came along and I have been on this journey with him since 1998…..21 years or half my life and the one thing that I am not, is dependant! Dependant is defined in the dictionary as relying on or needing another. (Yourdictionary.com)
I am like every other Defence / Military dependant – very much independent!
Prior to meeting my husband, I had very little to do with the military. I come from a small country town with a proud military history, but it was relatively small. I listened to the stories told whilst I worked in the pub, heard stories about great-great-uncles and applauded at the Anzac Day march.
Upon meeting, my world was immediately changed. Anzac Day was just around the corner and this would be our first offical outing together. Over the course of 21 years, we have been to many offical functions, dining in’s, dining outs, parades, balls, promotions, retirements, unit celebrations and less formal functions.
Over these many years, many moves, many new faces, many everything news, I have meet many wonderful, strong, talented “dependants” who are also anything but dependant. These partners know the raw truth of being a military family, the pain of separation, the joy of home comings, the upheaving of life every two years, being away from family, being able to fix broken white goods, draws and chairs, the ones mowing the lawn, weeding the gardens, the school and sport drop offs, the parent/teacher interviews, the doctor and hospital visits all while being dependant on themselves (with help from their battle buddies).
Defence / Military spouses are fierce with a high percentage employed, highly educated, and those that run the house like a well honed machine. Spouses are many different personalities but they all have one thing in common…..the ability to adapt. The Cambridge Dictionary defines adapt as the ability to adjust to different conditions or uses, or to change to meet different situations (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/adapt)
To say that one is not dependant is not a statement to say that one does not need the other, it is in simple terms that whilst we are apart for work needs, I can handle taking care of myself, our family and all that entails. As a family unit, we are better together but when duty calls, my husband knows that we are going to be ok.
Defence / Military life is a partnership, a team, one that often leads to no expectation on the serving member, is difficult at times, painful at times, pure elation at times and is built on trust and the need for spouses to be independent……it’s time for the phrase ‘Dependant’ to be replaced.