Value as a Military Spouse
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By: Amy Allender
I entered life as a military spouse with great naivety. I expected deployments, but I didn’t expect the profound challenges the military lifestyle would present for my faith and self-worth.
Twelve years ago, I was a newlywed, 22-year-old Air Force wife. The long hours my husband was putting in as a second lieutenant left me lonely and adrift. He was living his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot. I, however, was completely upended.
We’d moved across the country, far from family, friends, and all things familiar. Military life gave me culture shock. I didn’t understand the system, the acronyms, or the rhythm of life. To me, it felt jarring and intimidating.
There is deep pride in military service. There’s pressure to pursue more responsibility and a higher rank. While I struggled to find my place, those around us — the leadership and my husband’s peers and classmates — kept reminding me that the work he was embarking on was important and special. I was encouraged to bear with long hours, be flexible when he was called away, and be endlessly understanding.
As the years wore on, I heard more of the same: This was his time to pursue his career — maybe my day would come, but not right then. This pride and comradery eventually turned toxic in my ears. Instead of exhortation for my husband, I began to hear, “He is important, but you are not.” “Nothing you will ever do can compare with his calling.” “You need to prove your worth, but you’ll always fall short.”
Looking back, I can see a brokenhearted military spouse. I wish I could go back in time and speak the truth I know now.
If I could intervene, this is what I’d say:
“Please, young wife, do not fall into the trap of placing military service on a pedestal at the expense of your own God-given worth.”
“Your value has never, and will never, come from your role as anything other than a child of God. Military service is important, but it isn’t the source of value. Your spouse has value, but it’s not because of his rank, duty, or the number of deployments. You both have irrevocable value simply because you were created in the image of God.”
“God bought you both at the high price of His own Son on a cross. That is your value, and no one can change it. Let this truth manifest in your heart, and never forget it.”
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, New American Standard Bible).
In military life, jobs, lifestyle, and identity can blur together. It took me years to come to peace with the value God placed on me simply as His creation. In Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are enlisted, active duty, dependent, reserve, or civilian — we are all created by a marvelous Maker for His purpose. We all have value, and it will never come from anything other than Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NASB).
About the author:
Amy Allender is a 12-year Air Force spouse, whose husband is currently stationed at Minot AFB, Minot, ND. She is a lover of Jesus, Biblical history, and testifying to God’s miraculous power to redeem even our darkest days. When she isn’t chasing her two preschool sons, you can find her working on her first book, a memoir about her tenacious battle against anxiety and depression, which led her to learn to advocate for her needs and discover God’s goodness in all circumstances. Find more of Amy’s writing at amyallender.com or connect with her on Instagram @amy_allender.