C's FRG is putting together a Newcomers Packet for both newlyweds and those spouses new to the Army in general.
Yes, I KNOW that ACS and such offer information and that every post does a newcomers brief. My husband gave me the bag he received that the newcomers brief when he got here. The map wasn't accurate, the pamphlets were overwhelming. It was a bunch of info put into a yellow bag that wasn't welcoming.
What we are looking to put together is the advice you wish someone had told you - or maybe someone did. The little things that spouses tell each other to give little pointers. The things you would have NO CLUE about when you arrive at your first duty station.
It is very much my belief that the reason so many military marriages fail is because the new spouses feel lost, or alone, or like they are "doing something wrong." They take it out on their spouses, their spouses don't understand why they "just don't know" and everything crumbles. When a person has NO IDEA how to answer when someone asks what unit their spouse belongs to they are embarrassed, feel like they are doing something wrong. I strongly believe that knowledge is power. That knowing the little things in this life - that we take for granted after a year or two in it - like knowing how much you need that ID card, and you should only enter the commissary on pay day at your own risk, and when your husband says he has a dining-in to attend you won't see him that evening - knowing the customs and the "rules" (spoken and unspoken) can help us to thrive.
I don't think we should enable spouses. I don't think we should hand them every little thing in the Army world and do it for them. But don't you wish someone had put in a single, small binder - not in a stack of multiple pamphlets and brochures and paper stacks - but in ONE place the basics you need to know when you enter into the Army?
I think by knowing the spouses in your unit, letting them know you, just having the contact does more than most realize. Maybe giving a new spouse a tour of post if you can find a moment. Letting them know which entrance of the hospital is better for whichever clinic so they don't maneuver that double stroller through a tri-level parking area just to find out they have to go to the complete other end and that if they had parked on the other (single-level) side, through that OTHER entrance they wouldn't have gone through the hassle, the stress.
It's the little things, understanding the ranks, knowing what the bajillion acronyms mean (at least the critical ones), understanding just what your spouse DOES, can mean the world for that new spouse.
So what do you wish you had known? What moments would having a certain simple piece of info that you know now but didn't know then have changed things for the positive? What did a seasoned spouse tell you that really helped you out? What do you wish you would have known when you entered into this life?
Your can help many of the newbies out there. Even if it is just one ... that one spouse helps another, and then another, and another. It keeps going, gets stronger.
Maybe you never just help one.
So ... what do you wish you would have known?