The Seasoned Spouse
Being a spouse in any capacity is no easy task, especially if your spouse has a demanding job like the military. I have been a military spouse for 13 years and have endured all the ups and downs that come with this military lifestyle. To call me a seasoned military spouse makes me feel so old, but hey if any of my experiences can help someone then I will roll with it! Lately I been receiving a lot of emails from younger military and nonmilitary spouses for marital advice. Many of these women are reaching out seeking guidance on how to deal with certain situations in the military lifestyle. These women are new to the military lifestyle, or are newly married, facing deployments, and many other things.
We all have been there as a new wife, not sure what to do, what the protocol is for certain things, or where to find needed information. Becoming a military wife for me was a little different from other spouses. For several years I wore the uniform, and obtained knowledge of the inner workings of the military. After becoming a military spouse, I realized there were some areas that I lacked in knowledge. To be honest, the milspouse community is an amazing and supportive community, but at times can still be very intimidating. I thought it would be befitting to write a blog answering some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns these spouses have shared with me.
Why do spouses wear their husbands rank/title?
I personally have never been one to wear my husbands rank. I always introduce myself as Lekiesha when meeting a fellow military spouse. I feel my husband’s rank should not play a role in me obtaining an amazing friendship with someone. Yes, as a spouse we work hard to help our soldiers get to the next level. I personally had friendships with spouses whose husbands have less and more rank than my own spouse.
What are some ways you have endured a deployment with children?
During my first deployment I absolutely drove myself bonkers! I knew during the second deployment there were a few things that needed to change for me to make it through. After all the craziness from the deployment settles down, I know it’s time for me to create an action plan to keep my sanity intact.
1-Staying around other supportive spouses was a big help. It made me feel like I was around others who truly understood what I was going through.
2-Keep yourself and the kids busy! This was essential for my kids. It allowed them to be around other military children who may or have endured having a parent deployed.
3-Keep a journal! Keeping a journal allowed me to write down my true, raw, and unfiltered thoughts. I wrote down the good, bad, and the ugly in my journal. A journal also shows how my you have grown over the years and can be used to assist another spouse during their first deployment.
4- Lastly, we placed a Hershey kiss in a container for each week we completed during the deployment. The candy symbolized the countdown and us giving dad a kiss while he was gone!
How do I overcome the hard times in my marriage?
The number one rule that I would give any couple is to ensure you are effectively communicating and listening. Early into my marriage I was very vocal at communicating my point, but I never took the time to listen. I heard what I wanted to hear when it came time for my husband to communicate. To be honest I would tune out if he was discussing something I did not want to hear. My mother used to call it selective hearing! People always say communication is key (which is true) but effectively listening to your spouse is too!
How do you deal with moving a lot and making new friends?
Moving is a major part of the military lifestyle, it can allow you to see some amazing places and bring a bit of heartache to. Leaving your friends and relocating has been one of the hardest things ever. It is important to remember that there are other wives who are enduring the same exact feelings that you have and seeking friendships. Hawaii was my duty station where I met my closet milspouse friends, and these ladies are everything to me. It took me letting my guard down a little and allowed me to find quality friendships. Find ladies that share the same interest as you or obtain some traits and qualities as your last group of friends. I think finding a quality friendship boils down to personal preference, and what you seek in a friendship. This process also allows you to grow and helps you to find those friendships that turn into family.
Will I ever adapt to the military lifestyle?
Yes and No! I wish I could provide you with a straight answer for this question, but we are talking about military life! As a military spouse you get used to some aspects of military life i.e early morning physical training formations, inner workings of post, commissaries, hospitals, etc. One thing I always try to tell new milspouses is that this is a lifestyle that you can never get too comfortable in. In military life, things are consistently changing, and as spouses we must be able to adapt to change at a moment notice. Often times, I feel I have to be penciled in for a lunch date with my husband, and often times they do not happen due to the job. As military spouses, it's important we learn how to adapt to change and that it's apart of this lifestyle. And don't forget to bloom where ever you are planted. In a moment of transparency, there are days I absolutely love being a military spouse, and there are days I dread it. But I am forever grateful for the life it has provided, travel opportunities, and some of the most amazing friendships I have made along the way! If you are seasoned spouse make sure you take the time to embrace these new military spouses, or spouses who may just need a hand in navigating this lifestyle. We are in this journey together, one small gesture, advice, or assistance can go along way in supporting these new milspouses.
I want to thank each of you ladies who have sent me an email with questions, and even those, who have even taken the time to read my blog. I just want you to know how special each of you are to me, and how much I appreciate your support. If you ladies have any other questions for me to answer, don’t hesitate to reach out and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always remember to Live free, Laugh often, & be Incredible!!