‘Spouses’ are female and male


What is a spouse? Webster’s says it is a husband or wife. Why is it then that every time we go to a spouse club activity, we think female?
Everything is set up to encourage the female spouse. Centerpieces, door prizes and items to sell all are targeted to women. So what is there to encourage the male spouse from getting involved in a spouse club?

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a male spouse’s perspective on spouse clubs and thought I would share it with you.
This is given by Sean O’Driscoll, Navy spouse:

“It was shortly after my wife and I had moved to a new duty station, when I came across a local military spouse club’s advertisement regarding an event that was being held at the local military installation. The guest speaker was someone I had wanted to hear and was excited to have the chance.

I contacted the spouse group, paid the suggested donation, and found myself at the installation for this event.

I already knew what was behind those doors, even before entering the building.

I have been in this type of situation before. When I walked in, I found what I had predicted was, in fact, true. I was the only male spouse.
Upon entering, I was immediately greeted with “the look.”

The “look” I’m referring to is the look that says, “What is HE doing here?”

After making my way to the check-in table and picking up my name tag, I strolled into the main area to see what else was going on. As usual, it was mostly tables set up with female-oriented items that only women would want to purchase.

It took about 30 minutes before someone from the board of the spouse’s club introduced themselves to me and chatted a bit.
No one introduced themselves to me. No one thanked me for supporting their group or even for representing the male military spouse.
When it was time for the speaker, I found myself at a table in the back of the room where four female spouses were sitting. Upon making conversation with them, I learned that not only had I found the only open table, I had also found that all four of these spouses were also brand new to the area.

Come to find out, I wasn’t the only one who felt left out at this event.

“Congratulations,” I thought to myself. “This spouse’s group has not only made the only male military spouse feel unwelcome, but four other new spouses as well.”

I listened to the remainder of the speaker’s remarks, was able to ask a few questions, and promptly left, never to return to another spouse function for that organization again.”

Let’s make sure we act appropriately and make all spouses feel welcome so that they will want to return.

— Joey Price, a military spouse (retired), is national president of Navy Wives Club of America and president of NWCA Kitsap No. 46. Contact her at pricejj@embarq mail.com.