All marriages are challenging but being married to someone in the military takes the difficulty to another level. Being a military spouse is a tough job with a lot of lonely hours and sacrifice. You have to be strong when you don’t feel strong, and optimistic when you’re feeling pessimistic. But loving someone in the military means being part of something bigger, supporting an important cause, being resourceful, and persevering through tough times.
Being a Military Spouse
It’s important to get an idea of what to expect before the journey begins. The main issue is your spouse leaving on deployment for months, coming back, and then leaving again. If you are becoming a military spouse, be prepared for:
- Being apart from your spouse for months
- Moving a lot
- Missed milestones like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries
- Putting your career plans on hold
- Dealing with the effects of war and the military
- Working to see the positive
- Missing your spouse, friends, and family
- Handling everything at home
New Military Spouse Checklist
When you’re jumping into a strange, new world, you sometimes don’t know what you don’t know. Here’s a checklist of things to prepare for in your new role:
- Learn the lingo: Learn about your spouse’s job, unit, friends, and supervisors. Learn all the acronyms and locations. It can help you feel more connected. And it’s easier to communicate with your spouse and others in the military if you know all the acronyms.
- Gather all the important data: You’ll likely be handling stuff like finances, housing, and healthcare, so be sure you have all the pertinent information before your spouse deploys.
- Learn the basics: You may be taking on new responsibilities, so learn the basics of car repair, household maintenance, cooking, child care, and accounting.
- Ask for help and advice: When you’re new, there’ll be lots of important stuff you don’t know. A mentor or support group can be great resources for tips, emotional support, and tools for dealing with deployments and family issues.
- Connect with people: Get out of the house and meet new people. Join a book club, find a job, volunteer, go hiking, and meet up with friends.
- Stay flexible: Military life is full of change and uncertainty. You don’t know where you’ll live next, and your carefully made plans may change quickly. Prepare for disappointment and be ready to adapt with each new challenge.
- Locate Services: Research the available facilities and programs to help families during deployments.
- Maintain communication: Communicate as much as possible by any means possible. Communicate about travel, children, money, vehicles, insurance, health care, and household issues. Don’t forget to talk about feelings too.
- Support your spouse: This is the most important part of being a military spouse. The military can be rough on a person’s psyche, and your loved one needs your love, support, and understanding.
- Continue pursuing your goals: Don’t put your dreams on hold. Even if you have to pause your career, find ways to make progress.
Be patient, stay calm, and trust that things will work out.
Help Kids Adjust
If you have children, having a spouse in the military is extra difficult. Depending on their ages, kids may have trouble understanding all the processes and rules. It’s important to engage with the kids and pay attention to their behaviors and emotions. Regularly talk to them about how they’re feeling and what you’re feeling too. Deployments will be particularly difficult times for children, so explain the process to them before departure and get them involved in the preparation, perhaps giving them their own projects.
Resources for Military Families
Take advantage of the resources and opportunities available for military spouses. An example is MyCAA: Military Spouse Career Advancement Account. MyCAA helps military spouses pay for the education necessary to find employment in growing professions that are portable. A great partner with MyCAA is Meditec, a leading provider of online career training. You can find the program that’s right for you and complete it in your spare time anywhere in the world where you have internet. Online training is a solution to many of the challenges military spouses face when trying to go back to school. Take advantage of the convenience and flexibility of Meditec courses in fields such as healthcare, insurance, legal assistant or paralegal, and fitness. Enroll today and take the first step in your next adventure!