Introduction to this Series:
Being early in a marriage and early to the military is quite a daunting experience. We'll smooth out some of the speed bumps you might incur along the way by bringing you helpful tips, information and advice right from those who have lived through exactly what you're feeling now. You just might find yourself saying, "I needed to hear that!"
Advice on Your Role in the Military
- "Get involved, learn about your role and let your voice be heard. Do not be the silent partner. Learn more about the military so you have a say in the decisions your family makes."
- "The military is a very special and unique organization. Your involvement in the military depends on your motivation and self comfort. Understand that this career involves you whether you are active or passive."
- "Remember that you're working around the military schedule and may not always get to celebrate things on the very day they happen."
- "Make sure you truly know the meaning of unconditional love"
- "I wish someone would have told me that when you marry a service member you marry the service as well. As a new military spouse you need to understand and believe that your soldier's love for the military has nothing to do with the love he has for you. He does not love you less because he is a soldier. If you wait, you may learn that he is a better man because of his love for the military and will then in turn, love you better as well."
- "Don't be judgmental of other spouse's choices."
You're More than "The Spouse"
Carving out a life for yourself can seem hard once you realize the important role you play in your spouse's military career. A happy military spouse is a strong military spouse, so be sure to have an interest that is yours.
- Your own interests and career can help you build strong relationships.
Find a job you like.
- If you don't need the money or can't find a portable career, consider volunteering.
- By finding a job, you'll create a support system...and get paid for it!
Stay in touch with friends and family "back home".
- If you can afford to visit while your serviceperson is gone to training or on deployment, do so. But having a life of your own at your new home is important too.
Take a class or learn something new!
- Whether it's a law degree or a cake decorating course, find something you'd like to learn and make it a priority for yourself.
- Online classes work well for military spouses. Investigate those opportunities through the education center on your post or base.
Your Attitude Makes a Difference
Transition to life as a military spouse is never easy. It will provide challenges that you never anticipated and require you to be tougher than you thought possible. In many situations, attitude can make or break you and your relationship.
"It is what you make it! If you have the I-hate-the-military attitude, you will be miserable."-all military spouses have had days where they've uttered those words. Make them the exception not the rule.
- Recognize the things that are out of your (or your spouse's) control.
- Don't take it out on your spouse when plans change
- Be flexible and have realistic expectations.
"There really is power in positive thinking."
- All military spouses have days where it is difficult to choose to be happy but it is possible so remind yourself what you are capable of.
- You will have your bad days, but keeping a positive attitude will make a huge difference.
Embrace the military lifestyle, and enjoy its benefits- Whether it is a chance to live overseas or a great deal on a vacation rental, your military lifestyle is filled with opportunities and benefits for service members and families.
"I decided this was going to be an opportunity for all of us, not a punishment for falling in love with a soldier"
- Utilize the services and discounts you are entitled to. ASK, everyplace you go, if they offer a discount.
Shop at the commissary and the BX or PX. You could save about 30% on all purchases.
Be a strong advocate for your family. It's up to you to dig in with both feet and get it done.
- Whether it is a broken water heater or an issue with in-laws be tenacious on behalf of your family.
- Rather than wondering how to do it, just get to work. Use the energy you would have spent wondering or worrying to get a productive start on the task at hand.
Remember that others are following your lead
- If you have children, keep in mind that they are watching you for cues on how to handle separation and reunion.
- How you handle yourself in emotional or frustrating situations may come back to haunt you. Be conscious of how you may be perceived so that you can avoid embarrassment later.
Avoid Peer Pressure- Whether you feel like everyone else is having babies, getting new cars or complaining about their spouses, don't do it just because Mrs. Jones is.
This is a time of learning and experimenting for you so in two weeks we'll cover basic military knowledge and advice on communication. See you then!