I decided to bust some of the more common military myths. While I think people are generally supportive of military families, the disconnect between civilian and military families is growing. For example, I was talking with a friend the other day about the chore of filing annual income taxes when she blurted out: ”Your husband doesn’t pay taxes, though!” I was taken aback by this person’s assumption that military service somehow gets veterans “off the hook” when it comes to paying their share.
This military-civilian disconnect can lead to some serious misunderstandings, so I want to set the record straight on the most common military myths I have heard regarding spouses and families.
Statistics from military recruiting show that service members between 18-24 have more college education than their civilian counterparts. Furthermore, military personnel are highly trained and educated in their field. Service members are expected to be competent in highly specialized fields and be able to make judgement calls.
Everyone can probably think of a young military couple who rushed to the aisle when they hardly knew each other. I will also tell you that some of these relationships actually turn out well, so don’t be too quick to judge. Military spouses are not all young either. On average military personnel marry only about a year younger than their civilian counterparts.
Male spouses account for seven percent of all military spouses. About half of that seven percent is comprised of dual-military marriages.
Many military spouses are employed and many more run businesses out of their home. A larger than average number of military spouses do chose to stay at home due because of child care concerns, home schooling or difficulty finding a job. In the end, this is a decision families make based on their situation.
If you want to live a life of luxury, I would not advise you to marry a service member. Even considering benefits service members will never make what their civilian counterparts earn. In my experience military spouses are the opposite of lazy; they volunteer, raise children, handle home repairs, juggle finances and get involved in the community.
All federal taxes and most state taxes still apply to military personnel. Only service members serving in a tax-free combat zone are exempt from federal taxes. Many people assume that military get free housing, free healthcare and free education as well as a free retirement plan. While there are many good benefits available they are not that simple; many benefits do not cover everything or have some cost associated.
There are infidelities in civilian and military marriages alike. The potential for loneliness or isolation that may come with deployment can perhaps amplify the behavior, but this does not mean that all military couples are unfaithful. Many military couples are committed and have never had a problem with infidelity.
What military myth or stereotypes have you heard? What do you say to people if they mention these stereotypes? Let us know in the comments!
Photo courtesy of andertoons