A blog from Army&You’s summer 2023 edition by Amy Burkill

As an army spouse I have had to, like many others, continually adjust to and make choices about how I navigate this distinctive way of life, that is, this military life!

My journey so far has meant that I have had to cope with deployments, relocations, saying goodbye to colleagues, and manage the rigmarole of many house moves.

These demands have posed challenges every time, but they have also brought opportunities for new encounters, friendships, and a greater sense of independence.

Yet, from time to time, I have found myself wondering whether there may be better, alternative choices for our family.

When the demands of military life take their toll, I have noticed a greater internal calling to set down roots in one place, leaving the transitory life on patches behind.

However, having attempted to achieve ‘stability’ in one place before, the seeming benefits of living in one place soon began to be outweighed by some unintended consequences. Against the backdrop of military-led initiatives, such as the Future Accommodation Model pilot, I became curious to find out what other spouses’ experiences were – were they similar or different to my own?

As a psychology researcher, I took hold of this opportunity, and completed my research on this topic, exploring the lived accounts of military spouses who had experience of living outside a patch community, and the implications this had on their sense of wellbeing.

My research was both personal and professional. Many friends (particularly those outside of psychology) would say “isn’t this a bit too close to home?” in regards to conducting ‘scientific research’.

However, I maintained that my own connection and experience of being an army spouse is what allowed me access to our tight-knit community, and the personal and subjective experiences of fellow spouses.

In research terms, I was an ‘insider’, and there were many things to consider. However, I would encourage those who have a keen interest in undertaking research within our community to not be put off, as our own personal stories have so much to offer the research process.

Amy is our Best Blogger for this edition – she wins a three-month posy subscription to FlowerBe – a flower gifting service based in Penarth. They’ve been delivering ‘Thoughtful Little Flowers’ through the UK’s letterboxes for more than three years. They create beautiful posies daily with a selection of seasonal flowers and foliage that last two-to-three weeks in a vase. Their bestselling three-month posy subscription comes with a perfect little vase to display your sweet seasonal flowers every month.

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