Monthly Archives: June 2020

I Vote For Kept Woman: The Military Spouse Decision to Work

When the Good Chaplain became active duty Air Force in July 1992, we had a decision to make. Did I want to find a job or be a stay-at-home mom? I was lucky to have the choice. The Good Chaplain entered active duty as a Captain and, sadly, his salary was the same as we both made in the real world. So I didn’t have to work. But my job was portable. I could write from anywhere. I elected to stay home and try freelance writing.

I had some success as a freelancer, but I didn’t try too hard either. I enjoyed learning the ins and outs of military life and “playing” with my fellow spouses. I did work off and on during the Good Chaplain’s career, but not until the girls were older. In his later career, I thoroughly enjoyed being a kept woman.

The military is supportive today of spouses working outside the home, but it wasn’t always so, especially for senior members of the officer and enlisted corps. In the summer of 1988, when the Good Chaplain did a tour as a Chaplain Candidate at Hurlburt Field in the Florida Panhandle, the deputy wing commander’s wife had a job, but she asked me not to tell anyone because she wasn’t supposed to work. I was flabbergasted. Women worked outside the house for a long time by then. She worked a night job so she could be free to attend to her “duties” as a senior officer’s wife.

Today it is normal for military spouses to work outside of the house, take care of the children, find time to do some volunteer work, and still clean the house. But it’s not easy to find jobs sometimes, especially if you need certification, such as teachers, nurses, real estate professionals, or other such careers.

The military and federal government are trying to make it easier. Spouse preference mandates that jobs available on base hire a qualified military spouse over a qualified non-military spouse. And Congress is looking at a bill that allows portable certification. ( Several Senators and Representatives introduced the bipartisan legislation would help this issue by supporting interstate licensing and small business registration.

Another obstacle to having a job or career is deciding whose job has priority. The average time in a location for officers is two to three years. For enlisted it is about four years. Many companies don’t want an employee who isn’t going to be around long. This happened to me twice in the Good Chaplain’s career.

The first time came when he was called to active duty from the Reserves. I worked at a local daily newspaper. I was the regional editor, number three in the newsroom hierarchy. But I was doing the job of the city editor, or number two, for almost a year. Then one lovely Wednesday morning, the bosses called me into the publisher’s office to tell me I was being promoted to city editor in title and pay. ONE week later to the day, the Good Chaplain was offered the position on active duty, something that shouldn’t have happened for at least another year.

The second time I worked at one of my favorite jobs at a weekly newspaper when the Good Chaplain told me we were getting a short-notice move. I’d only been in that job for 5 months. I said no for the first time in our military career. Of course, I did end up going and that’s when I started my career as a kept woman ever since.

I’ve known couples who live separately because of each of their jobs. Many can make it work. But it isn’t for everyone. My philosophy was the military separated us enough with deployments and temporary duty assignments. I did not want to voluntarily separate from the Good Chaplain. That is a decision for each couple to make — the military job or the civilian spouse job or both.

Whatever you’re decision, I pray it is the perfect one for your family. Personally, I advocate for the kept woman approach.

Until next time,


It’s Party Time: The Social Life of a Military Spouse

Social involvement, to me, is essential for a chaplain’s spouse. Or any military spouse for that matter. Back in the day, some activities were “required.” Mostly those involving the base commander or other higher-ups. Today, the amount of socializing you do is up to you, but there might be some “expected” events to attend.

To support your chaplain spouse, I recommend you attend as many chapel activities and chaplain get-togethers as possible. At least get to know your fellow chaplain spouses and members of the congregations. They want to know you and love you. Many chapel-goers look at you as someone in whom they can confide.

The Minot AFB logo represents the two missions of the base — bombers and missiles.

When we lived in Minot, North Dakota, our chaplain spouses were all close friends. We exercised together; we did crafts together; we went out to lunch together. Rarely was one spouse seen without another one by her side. I’d never had that experience before that assignment, nor since.

The same goes for non-chaplain spouses. Attend as many squadron functions as you can. By getting to know other spouses in the squadron, you open up the possibilities of great friendships from people who understand your situation.

Squadron parties are for chaplain spouses too. As a chaplain, your spouse is assigned to different squadrons to work with, and these squadrons usually have a spouse group that you can join. I liked doing things with the units because I got to know the people the Good Chaplain talked about. At least, I knew their spouses.

18th Fighter Squadron logo, the Blue Fox.

My first experience with a squadron spouse group was at Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska. In the 90s, the Good Chaplain worked with the F-16 Squadron, the Blue Foxes. Before we were even in our house, a group of the spouses picked me up from our temporary lodging facility for an evening of fun. I had a blast and felt welcomed and accepted right away. Craziness reigned with these ladies (we were all women at that time), called the Foxy Ladies.

Be prepared for Christmas parties — lots of Christmas parties. Spouses do not need to attend each party, but they can be fun. Just beware, for the chaplain, it is often a pay-to-pray situation. The squadron, group, wing, etc. may request a prayer from the chaplain but don’t always offer to pay for his/her meal.

When we were in Minot, one Christmas season, we attended 16 Christmas parties. At one event, a Colonel asked me how we could afford all these parties because he saw us at most of the same parties he was at, and knew what he paid. The Good Chaplain was a Captain at the time and making considerably less money. We knew the season was coming up, so we set aside money just for this time of year.

As the Good Chaplain grew in rank and we aged, I chose which functions I would attend and which I would not. I always decided on the ones I knew would be the most fun.

Till next time, 


Posted by Victoria TerrinoniJune 18, 2020Posted inMilitary SpouseTags:Eielson AFBGood ChaplainMinot AFBPartySocial LifeEditIt’s Party Time: The Social Life of a Military Spouse

The Changing Expectations of the Military Spouse

Life in the military is always changing, but somehow staying the same as well. I was going through some items the other day and came across “A Practical Handbook for the Air Force Chaplain Spouse.” The United States Air Force Chaplain School and several chaplains’ spouses published this little book in 1982. It came about to answer frequently asked questions chaplain spouses had during the orientation course. Wait! What? I never got to go to an orientation course at the Chaplain School. I feel cheated. I had to learn everything by experience, as many military spouses did.

Role Expectations

Expectations of the the chaplain’s spouse haven’t changed much over the years. For instance, the primary role is still to support the chaplain and his/her career. What that support looks like has changed in the past several years.

One young wife asked me what I expected of her, since the Good Chaplain was the new senior chaplain of the base. She had a two-year-old, so I told her I expected her to support her husband and take care of her child. I was shocked to learn later that she did not attend the base chapel, even when her husband was preaching. To me, attending chapel and chapel functions counted as supporting my spouse. But I found out that many chapel spouses did not attend the chapel, but went to churches off-base because they offered programs for the children. The population of chapels was trending more toward retirees. But the argument that it did not have programming for children didn’t sit well with me. If they would bring their children to the chapel, the powers that be could justify having children’s programming. It was a “which came first…” situation.

It also seemed to say to other people on base that the chapel wasn’t even good enough for the chaplains’ families so why should others attend it as well?

So I see the role of the chaplain spouse as attending chapel and getting involved in some sort of chapel program, such as Bible study.

Some wives in the book were concerned about how their actions could influence their husband’s careers. This concern was real at one time. Even in 1992, when the Good Chaplain came on active duty, it was understood that the military member was responsible for the actions of his family.

The book answered this question by saying,

A positive attitude and support is invaluable and can enhance your spouse’s performance. Adversely, total lack of interest or support may also affect your spouse’s performance or attitude. –Page 35, A Practical Handbook

Page 35, A Practical Handbook for the Air Force Chaplain Spouse

No one can tell a spouse that they have to belong to any base group or attend any base functions. But I found involvement on base was helpful to myself and the Good Chaplain. Joining in is a great way to make friends. Often I shared things, without breaking confidences, which the Good Chaplain needed to know to help out a military member. Together, we covered most of the base and made a good team in building relationships.

Next time, I will reveal more goodies I found in this practical handbook.

Till then,


Check out my new digs!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written any posts for ChappyTWife. So what’s new? Let’s see:

  • The Good Chaplain retired in July 2018.
  • We live in Normal, IL
  • Mrs. Staff Sergeant and her family left England (after 7 years!) and now live in Delaware.
  • Illinois Girl and her family live literally around the corner from us.
  • Illinois Girl is expecting her second daughter.
  • Mrs. Staff Sergeant has two boys, two kittens, and two Siberian Husky puppies. She is crazy!
  • I am working on a book based on the blogs I posted on ChappyTWife. I’ve been working on it for a looong time.

Speaking of the ChappyTWife blog, since I’ve redone my website, the blog has moved. The new URL is I have not repopulated it with the old posts, but that is coming soon. My other blog, Eastern Africa: Stories of Hope and Faith is moved also. It also has not been repopulated yet.

Stick with me and I will have some interesting things for you to read about military life and retirement.