Spouses bond together enhancing quality of life

BUECHEL AIR BASE, Germany -- Although it is not Spouse Appreciation Month, it is always an appropriate time to show appreciation for those who stand by our side, enhancing our lives.

Three of the main definitions of the word "appreciation" highlight how I feel toward the work done by the spouses group here.

The most important definition is, "a rise in value." Our spouses are individuals who choose to come together as a coalition to help one another and do more for the community. The coalition usually has overlapping interests. They support each other just by coming together. Usually, common interests join people who want to work together for causes (charities, community service, etc.) or activities (play groups, dinners, trips, etc.). Even better, they sometimes learn new interests from one another and grow as individuals.

The two challenges and the primary key to success for spouse groups can be learned through the second definition, "Awareness or delicate perception." First, the members of the coalition never share 100 percent of the same interests. They are all individuals with different personalities who need to go their own separate ways at times. Second, there are a multitude of different expectations placed upon the members of the group, particularly the spouses of the commander and other senior military personnel. Not only will spouses' expectations of each other vary, the expectations usually change over time.

The real key to success of spouses groups is to never forget they are volunteers. Give them the opportunity to participate in ways that are meaningful to them and try to motivate them to grow in new areas, but don't forget to appreciate what they do, which is the third definition.

"An expression of gratitude" is the best place to finish. I am very grateful for the Büechel Spouse's Group. The original and current leadership have set the tone and the group supports our small community. There are many spouses who step up to make things better, and I am thankful for all their actions.

In short, we appreciate the skills and contributions of those who join spouse groups. I appreciate those who have come together to make Büechel and every other Air Force base a stronger community.