OBSERVATIONS OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE SPOUSE CULTURE
Life for a trailing spouse is constantly evolving as they encounter never-ending change. It is not a lifestyle for the faint of heart. This choice requires a resilient attitude from individuals that are willing to handle large amounts of chaos mixed amongst bureaucratic dealings. Patience, understanding and a sense of adventure are necessary to embark on a journey of the less-traveled road.
Prior to joining the service, many spouses would rank high on the self-actualization hierarchy. They have support systems in place, a sense of stability and predictability in their daily tasks. Oftentimes, they’ve spent years pursuing higher education, community volunteer work and climbing the ladder of their own career. Some spouses were already at the top of a thriving career.
The generosity and desire to help someone else reach actualization convinces them to support their partner in joining the Foreign Service to reach full potential. Little does the spouse know they are about to enter a time machine, and revert to anthropological and nomadic beginnings. They must prepare themselves for the subsequent SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST lifestyle.
Once the highly competent spouse arrives at post, there is a natural cycle to conformity of culture. Those that dare stay outside the boundaries of normalcy will find Darwin’s theory of natural selection, or his published work, On the Origin of Species, a most relevant topic for discussion. The idea that the officer has undoubtedly chosen the right mate to survive such an environment is tested to the brinks of breaking point over the course of one’s career. The trailing spouse is afraid of endangerment and clings to one’s status to the bitter end, in hopes of surviving adaptation while maintaining composure and grace of one’s prior identity.
To be continued,…up next: The Never-Ending Cycle of Chaos