Hi friends! Thanks for joining me on the blog. This week I have a treat for you. For today’s post I have teamed up with one of my sister/friends of 14 years, Charity Crawford, from Anew Mommyism to bring you a blog post about our experiences as military spouses. Since this is a combined post you may notice some changes in tones, writing styles, and flow but hey, just go with it!
Active Duty servicemembers represent 1% of the nation’s population and over half of these defenders (51.5%) are married (Military OneSource, 2018). Although as military spouses we never wear a uniform, go to bootcamp, or deploy, from the moment we say, “I do” we are not just “married to the man” but “married to the military” as well.
We don’t think most little girls dream of becoming a military spouse, but instead we happen to fall in love with the men who wear the uniform. We’re not sure how our husbands were able to convince us to uproot our lives and accompany them around the world, but hey, love can be very persuasive!
The military lifestyle can be a unique, challenging, and beautiful beast all at the same time. Aside from being friends, after we were both married, we instantly shared the commonality of being military spouses.
OUR MILITARY STORIES:
My introduction to the military started through the hearsay experiences of both my biological father and stepdad. They both served in the Army, but by the time I was born they were no longer involved. I had no idea of what it looked like to be a military spouse and no knowledge of what the military lifestyle entailed.
I fell in love with my airplane-loving high school sweetheart, and we were married right after college. I quickly learned that our marriage was a triangle between us and the Air Force. Ten years later, I’ve somehow adapted to the unpredictable military lifestyle. When in doubt, adjust your expectations and then readjust them again, ha!
For as long as I can remember the military has been a part of my life. As a military child I was used to changing schools, moving to different states, and making new friends. Change was a “normal” part of life. As an adult I longed for more physical stability and vowed to NEVER join the military.
But God took one look at my plans and switched things up when my longstanding college boyfriend (who is now my husband) joined the Air Force. So, I switched sides and went from Navy kid to Air Force spouse and once again became a part of the military.
4 TIPS FOR NEW MILITARY SPOUSES:
One day while we were chatting, we discussed different growing pains we both endured while serving as military spouses. After our talk we decided to share a few tips for the new military spouses out there.
**If you are a seasoned spouse these tips may benefit you as well**
Flexibility is key: This may be a hard pill to swallow… but you are no longer in control. The military is going to tell you where you are going to live & for how long, will dictate when a deployment occurs, gets extended, TDYs, trainings, and the list goes on and on.
At times it may feel as if these situations and circumstances are happening “too us” as if we had no choice in the matter, but this is not true. As soon as we said, “I do”, we made the decision to have our lives shaped by the military.
Being flexible can be extremely difficult so when faced with a situation that is out of your control, we encourage you to approach it from a different lens and ask yourself, “why is this happening for me” instead of “why is this happening to me.”
You never know what lesson you are supposed to learn from being placed in a situation that may not have been apart of your original plan.
Utilize Your Resources: There are tons of resources for military families. TONS! Whatever branch of the military you are affiliated with, we would recommend visiting your Readiness Center. This is the hub for all the resources on your base. You can receive information on spouse orientations, resume writing, employment assistance, deployment support, WIC, MFLCs, financial planning, childcare (Give Parents a Break, free child-care due to a PCS), EFMP, school liaison, community resources, and etc. Trust us, if the readiness center does not offer the service directly, the staff will point you in the right direction. Just stop by and ask for someone to provide you with an overview of what your base has to offer.
Also, when you arrive to a base find out what squadron your spouse is assigned to and ask for any spouse specific documents they may receive while in processing. And since we live in a digital age it would be helpful to join the base, squadron, and spouse Facebook pages.
Find Your People: We all grow up into a tribe of people who become our support system; as military spouses, we must create our own tribes with each relocation. Be intentional about connecting to your spouse’s squadron, the base, and the community.
Most squadrons have spouse social groups, play groups, etc.; get plugged into these. If these are of no interest to you or don’t fit your personality, don’t give up, there’s something out there designed specifically for you! One way we both have linked to the community, has been through our local groups for moms of children with infants-preschoolers. These groups have allowed us to connect with moms in our current season of life and share relationship with moms/spouses who understand us.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Let’s face it, there is no way we can do this military life alone, and there is no need too.
Support your spouse: Oftentimes, military members are working long hours in environments that are physically and/or mentally taxing. They have experiences that we will never understand. It can be difficult to know how to support them.
The first step to learning how to support your military spouse is by simply asking, “How can I support you today?”. They may ask for encouragement through providing a listening ear, a distraction from work, or maybe they’ll ask for some personal alone time to shake off the day’s pressures. This intentional search of support also creates space for a discussion of your needs as well.
As military spouses, we are not just ‘along for the ride’, we are active components in our families. We’re the home-is-where-the-military-sends-us-people and we embrace it even in the midst of the promised uncertainties. Sure, there’s lot’s we can’t control, but our focus must be on what we CAN control. Military spouses are wives, moms, career women, students, friends, and while our, “I do”s lock us into a whirlwind of change, we are completely up for the challenge.
Welcome to the military spouse tribe, happy to have you here sister!
Thanks for joining Charity and I on the blog this week. I’ll see you next time!
What are some of the challenges you faced as a military spouse? What advice do you have for the other spouses out there? Let me know in the comments below, and if you know a spouse who could benefit from this information please share this post.
One of my favorite parts of Charity’s blog is her weekly challenge and applicable bible verse. If you want to get in on her challenges, I suggest heading over to her page Anew Mommyism to check it out.
If you need any additional support as you navigate motherhood schedule a 15-minute consultation with Patience today. You are not alone mama.
Department of Defense. (2018). 2018 Demographics report: Profile of the military community. Retrieved from https://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/2018-demographics-report.pdf
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