When you’ve committed to living life with a spouse in the military, you know that the challenges are unique and often daunting. Whether it’s dealing with a deployment, long hours on base, or the mental and physical struggles that come with serving our country, military life can put a significant strain on relationships. However, with the right approach and support, you can help your partner through these challenges and find strength in each other. In this post, we’ll discuss five ways you can support your military spouse.
Keep Communication Lines Open
In military life, communication can be challenging, but it’s essential. Whether your partner is on a long deployment or stationed far away, do your best to keep in touch as much as possible. Take advantage of technology, email, phone, and video chat to stay connected. Send care packages and letters to remind your spouse that you’re thinking of them. If your partner is struggling with PTSD, depression, or other mental health challenges, encourage them to talk openly and honestly with you about their feelings.
Offer Practical Support
As a military spouse, you can help with day-to-day practicalities that your partner may not have time or energy to take care of. This includes handling bills and finances, taking care of the household or hiring a housekeeper, and assisting with childcare. It’s especially important to come up with plans to handle single-parent duties during deployments or long work weeks. By taking some of these responsibilities off your partner’s plate, you’re also giving them the space they need to focus on their job.
Be a Good Listener
Military life comes with numerous challenges, and your partner will surely have moments when they need someone to talk to. As a good spouse, the best way you can support your loved one is by being a good listener. Show that you care by actively listening to your partner’s worries, fears, and dreams. Create an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without fear of judgment or retribution, and remember that sometimes all a person needs is someone to vent to.
The most challenging part of military life is the long periods of separation. To support your spouse, find ways to stay in touch and remind them that they are always on your mind. Technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected, so make use of video chats, phone calls, text messages, and care packages to keep the bond strong. Also, consider joining a community of military spouses or attending social events to connect with other people who can relate to your situation.
Support Their Career
Another way to support your spouse in the military is by supporting their career growth. Military life comes with many opportunities for advancement, and your partner will need all the support they can get. Encourage them to chase their dreams, offer support during exams and training, and celebrate their accomplishments. Also, stay informed about the military system so that you can have realistic expectations and support your partner in any necessary transitions; you can click here for more info.
Create a Supportive Home Environment
Your home should be a place where your military spouse can unwind and feel comfortable. This can be difficult when you’re dealing with constant stress and unpredictability. However, some ways to make your home a more supportive environment could include creating a designated space for your spouse’s military gear or creating a routine for self-care to promote relaxation. Encourage your spouse to try new hobbies or take time to read and watch movies. Little things like these can help them feel supported and valued.
Military life is full of challenges, but it’s also full of milestones worth celebrating. Whether your spouse has finished boot camp or returned from a long deployment, find ways to make these occasions special. This can mean planning a special dinner, throwing a party with family and friends, or just having a romantic date night. Acknowledging these milestones and achievements can help make up for the time and energy the military is taking away from your relationship.
Advocate for Your Spouse
Be a vocal advocate for your spouse when it comes to their job and career. This means attending promotions, attending ceremonies, and being a cheerleader for them in both their professional and personal lives. If your partner is struggling with the bureaucracy or experiencing problems with their holdover unit, do your best to help them navigate those issues. Being a vocal and reliable support system can go a long way toward making your spouse feel appreciated and valued in their job.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the most important things you can do to support your spouse is to take good care of yourself. Self-care includes eating well, getting plenty of rest, exercising, and seeking support from friends or a therapist if needed. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle the stresses of military life and be a better partner to your spouse.
Additionally, recognize that it’s okay to take breaks when you need them. Deployments last months and sometimes years. Finding a hobby to fill your time while your partner is deployed can help calm depression, anxiety, and stress.
Serving in the military is tough for both the member and their spouse. However, the tips above will help make things easier and more manageable for both of you. Supporting your partner takes patience, sacrifice, and understanding. Taking practical steps such as remaining in contact, taking care of yourself, being their advocate, and celebrating milestones will help you build a stronger and healthier relationship with your military partner. Remember, military life may come with its set of struggles, but together you can overcome them.