Sharing the Journey: A Military Spouse Perspective

  • Published

Sharing the Journey: A Military Spouse Perspective by Dawn A. Goldfein. Air University Press, 2020, 69 pp. 

Sharing the Journey: A Military Spouse Perspective is an in-depth look at a spouse’s role in the service member’s active-duty career. The author, Dawn Goldfein, is the spouse of a retired Air Force general, and her experiences during his career gave her insight into the challenges faced by spouses when they assume leadership roles in the commands. The book examines the role of lead spouses and how they assist other spouses in the command and help their community.

Goldfein opens the book by describing the role of the lead spouses in their command and their role in the command team. She describes the empathy and compassion that the lead spouse should have for the other spouses in the group. She also writes about how taking on the role of lead spouse involves a discussion with the active duty service member about what role and involvement the lead spouse accepts.

An important point Goldfein mentions is “what the command leadership has to do if the commanding officer’s spouse does not or cannot take on the role of lead spouse” and how the command should choose the individual who will take on the lead spouse role. She also describes the roles of the command spouse, lead spouse, key spouse, and key spouse mentor. All these individuals play different roles in the spouse group, and she covers their roles in-depth and describes what they should do to help the other spouses in the command spouse group.

Goldfein continues to draw on her experience as a military spouse when she describes the transitions of coming into and leaving a command. She describes an exercise that commanding officers and their spouses can do. She also gives insight on what to do if you are the lead spouse but not married to the commanding officer. Another aspect of the transition that she discusses is how the outgoing lead spouse can consolidate information for the incoming lead spouse to make the change-over smoother than if the new spouse had no information.

As a military spouse, Goldfein can describe the challenges faced by the spouses in leadership positions. She gives insight into ways to develop relationships between spouses in the command so spouses new to military life will have an easier time adjusting to the changes that military life brings. Goldfein describes how the command leadership team must work together to build pride in the command and trust between the spouses, along with how these things will help empower the spouses in the command as they go on their military journey. She tells readers not to be afraid to think outside the box and develop new ideas and new tasks for the spouses.

Sharing the Journey is a good examination of the spouse’s role in the military community and the different roles they play. Goldfein covers a wide range of topics for Air Force spouse leadership roles, but these are similar across all service branches, and its ease of reading makes it a must-have for personal libraries.

Steven M. Guiliani

"The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense."