Why does it often feel like marriage and happy relationships are a target throughout the military community? There is an old Army saying which states that if the Army wanted you to have a wife they would have issued one. Now don’t get me wrong, the powers that be have been working to improve that tired philosophy, but the fact is that the military is our service members number 1 priority. It may not seem “fair”, but they did take an oath stating that fact and we kind of come along for the ride, which doesn’t sit well with many military spouses. And why should it?
I know that when we took our vows not one of us put “unless the military has something else in mind” before we said I Do!
So how do you keep your marriage together when at any moment it could be pushed aside thanks to the needs of the military? Arm yourself! Protect yourself, and use some effective bulletproofing strategies that will help your marriage do more than survive the barrage of bullets that tend to poke holes in our relationships.
It might seem that with all these relationship bullets it’s a miracle that anyone in the military could possibly have a great marriage. But it is possible and with a little patience and focused attention you can have a better marriage. The 3 strategies that are the foundation that every marriage, especially in the military, needs are: Building Trust, Enhancing Communication and Sharing Your Life. Over the next 3 blog posts, we will talk about each of these in greater detail and soon you will be on your way to a happier relationship and better military marriage!
Building the Trust:
- Trust grows when love is present, and remember that love is giving, not getting. Show each other that you love one another in frequent and creative ways.
- Value your spouse’s opinion as much as your own especially in topics such as money, children and extracurricular activities.
- Be predictable. Predictability is so important especially when you are worlds apart (don’t worry I didn’t say boring there is a BIG difference). Trust is built on consistency and the fact that we know and understand our spouses and their actions. When our spouses are deployed it is the perfect time to try something new, but it isn’t the time to unleash your inner child in a whole new way.
- Mean what you say and say what you mean. Body language, tone, and expression have a huge impact on how we feel, especially when you are communicating in creative ways. When my husband is deployed, sometimes our only communication is via email, and I know when something is going on with him or his unit even before I fully comprehend one word he has written. The tone of his email says it all, which is why honesty and full disclosure, even if it’s only to say that what’s going on is confidential, means everything. When he shares what he can in a meaningful way or tells me that he can’t share what’s going on it helps me know that I can trust him to keep our secrets safe as well.
- Let your spouse know what you need. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has told me that he is not a mind reader. I have also learned that when he’s over “playing in the sandbox” that the idea that he can figure out what I need is insane. The best way any military spouse can get the support they need from their spouse is to ask for it loudly, clearly and without all the drama. Trust me it will not only build trust and appreciation, it will also help your relationship in so many other ways.
- Share personal information about yourself, your daily challenges and all your triumphs. Keep the confidence of your spouse when they share things with you and remember OPSEC at all times.
Having a happy marriage takes work, and in the military it’s even more challenging. Much of the relationship advice I share comes from the incredible insight of Dr Terry Orbuch and her book 5 Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good To Great. You can learn more about the book in my resource review.
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com