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Carolyn Dubay and Life as a Military Spouse

Carolyn Dubay North Carolina

As a military spouse, Carolyn Dubay understands how difficult it can be to spend months or longer away from a significant other who is serving our country in the Armed Forces. These relationships can take a lot of effort to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship and overcome the worry for the safety of your life partner. Military spouses also find themselves on the move every couple of years as military members can be stationed in different regions of the country, or other parts of the world, and this can be a stressor on career aspirations.

There’s also a learning curve that comes with being a newly married military spouse, especially if you have no friends or family with a military background. This includes a lot more than learning acronyms, military ranks, and proper protocol. But Carolyn Dubay found that military spouses form an instant community and are there to help one another, particularly during difficult times or milestone events in your family, such as the birth of a child, illness, or even death of a family member. This community also helps new members make friends in new places, which can be very hard in foreign countries. Whether it’s a welcome coffee or mobilizing to bring meals to help out a family, the military spouse community will be there for you. And those friendships will stay with you long after you PCS, or move on, to the next duty station.

Carolyn Dubay hopes to give back to new military spouses by sharing some lessons she has learned over the years.

One of the best pieces of advice for any military spouse is to know that their personal goals and aspirations are still important. Military life can overshadow a lot, and our men and women in the Armed Forces deserve our utmost respect and admiration. However, this does not mean that their spouses shouldn’t have their own hopes and dreams. Carolyn Dubay, says it can be challenging to pursue a career, but military life and frequent moves also lead to resilience, creativity and open-mindedness about exploring new opportunities – even entrepreneurial ones. You could end up doing something that you love that you might not have otherwise explored but for your military life.

Carolyn Dubay believes that the social support that comes from having an instant community when moving to a new place makes all the difference in the world. Those who understand what it’s like to be a military spouse are typically more than willing to help newcomers because another community member once helped them. If a military spouse knows they will now call a certain area of the country or a far-off part of the world home for a few years, they can either make the most of that situation or count down the days. A good support group can help anyone enjoy their time in a new location – including pointing out fun places to visit, activities for kids, and where to buy things you can’t find on base.

As someone gains experience as a military spouse, it can also be extremely rewarding to notice another spouse in need and serve as their mentor. Having a person to talk to about the hardships of deployment or the frustrations of missing a loved one can be a true blessing. Paying forward kindness is one of the aspects of the military spouse community that Carolyn Dubay is most proud to be a part of.

There are a few things about deployments that Carolyn Dubay believes every military spouse needs to understand. For starters, they are difficult for everyone. They are also different for everyone – the level of danger, the time away, the ability to communicate, and the family or financial situation all make each deployment unique. Each spouse will have to process all of these issues in order to maintain the home front. Regardless of the type or length of deployment, however, every military spouse can empathize with how hard it is. This is another reason the military spouse community is so special and supportive.

Finally, Carolyn Dubay recommends researching the many benefits and programs available to military spouses. So much has changed over the last decades making it easier for spouses to find jobs, get waivers of certain residency requirements, and even transfer or apply for state and local professional licenses. Healthcare, retirement packages, childcare, educational opportunities, and counseling and mental health resources are also available.

In all, Carolyn Dubay believes that while military life isn’t always what we plan for or expect, it can enrich you in ways that you never imagined despite the sacrifice and hardship that come with it.