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.
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.
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,