United We Serve: MILSOs and MILSpouses

thumbThis has been weighing on my heart for awhile, and I felt that writing about it as one of my #unitedweserve posts would be the best way to share my thoughts. And, I couldn’t think of a better day than today (Valentine’s Day) to spread the love. I also want ALL Milsos to know that they are included in any and all of my future united we serve posts!

I’m not a twitter expert, and I’m still learning how to use it – but I’ve noticed that there are a LOT of Milsos on there. What is a Milso? It’s an acronym for Military significant other. Keeping with the theme of defining things, a significant other is a person whose close relationship with an individual affects that individual’s behavior and attitudes. Now, this could mean that the person is either a military girlfriend/boyfriend, or a military spouse. Some military spouses choose to use the acronym Milspouse to clarify their relationship status.

This post isn’t about which title is better or worse or even – this post is about joining together both the milso and milspouse communities. I’ve been reading a lot of twitter posts from milsos (in girlfriend/boyfriend status), and their open hurt about how some milspouses treat them. At first I thought, well, you aren’t married – so you don’t “get” that portion of the relationship that we’re going through.

Then it hit me – its that mindset that is hurting so many milsos that aren’t yet married and/or engaged. And then it hit me again – I too was at one point “just a milso” and not a milspouse.  In fact, unless you married your spouse the same day you met them (or they joined the military after you were married), we’ve all been an unmarried milso before we were a milspouse.

So, why the big separation? Yes, maybe milsos don’t understand the “married” side of things, but why does that even matter? Maybe we should all just stop labeling or trying to justify why one relationship is better or worse than another. Unmarried milsos have their own set of challenges and issues: lack of protection if something happens to their loved one, a potential insecurity from not yet being married, a feeling of not being an equal because they don’t have a ring on their finger.

They need love and support too. They have relationship issues too. They have insecurities and fears too. And who better to help them navigate this sometimes scary, ever-changing, unknown realm of being a milso than someone who has been there and done that before?

Here’s my point: whether you are an unmarried milso or a milspouse: I thank you. I respect you. I cherish you. Thank you for loving a service member (regardless of branch, officer/enlisted side, low rank/high rank, length of relationship, status of relationship, etc.). Each service member needs and deserves love. Each service member sacrifices for our country, and you sacrifice alongside them. And each milso deserves love too.

I respect that you put another’s lifestyle, commitment, and call to service above your own plans, dreams, and desires. I respect that you wait, and wait, and wait some more for a call, message, hug, kiss, or any interaction with your loved one. I respect when you hold the milso title in such high regard, and use it proudly. I respect when you respect other milsos, regardless of relationship status.

I cherish the fact that you’re in this with me. Again, regardless of your relationship status, we’re in this together. We’re one team. Our loved ones serve along side each other, so its time we serve together as well. And I wouldn’t want anyone else on my team. Please join me in bridging the gap, and loving and respecting ALL Milsos! Let’s all be Milso Strong together!

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