I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes being a military spouse is hard. In fact it’s probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. I remember back to when I first into the military life, it took me a while to get to a place where I could handle the constant challenges of this lifestyle with a bit of dignity, rather than freaking out or having a melt down whenever something new popped up. How did I get there? What was it that helped me the most? Bottom line, once I realized that in order to be the best military spouse I could be, I had to tend to the 4 basic needs a military spouse must address before I could even have a remote chance of enjoying military life.
I learned that I could function better and be stronger if I understood the importance of mastering these “needs” sooner rather than later. I learned that if I took care of these things, I was better prepared to handle the chaos and craziness that life as a military spouse carries with it.
You may have already mastered them, or you may be just beginning to see the need to master them, but either way these needs must become the starting point from which to build upon if you want military life to be better.
Take some time and tend to these basic military life needs and remember:
A prepared spouse is a happy spouse.
And a happy spouse is always a good thing!
(or so my Soldier tells me)!
The Basic Military Life Needs of A Military Spouse
- Learn to embrace change. The fact is that being in the military means that life will change and it will change often. The sooner you accept that, the easier every “change” will become. Expect life to change, be flexible and plan accordingly.
- Reach out and find a true Battle Buddy. If there was one tactic that I would say saves the sanity of a military spouse more than anything else it is the significance of a true Battle Buddy. Someone who doesn’t judge you, calls you on your crap, understands what you are going through and makes you laugh. This isn’t someone to “bitch” with, rather this is someone who will “ride the ride” with you.
- Be flexible. I get that routine is our friend, and the comfort of routines (especially when our service member is away) help us feel “in control” of our life. However, this is a false sense of security that can leave us unprepared for a crisis or challenging situation. Learning to be flexible, so we can adapt and conquer change helps us not only feel “in control”, but it will help us develop coping skills and strategies that allow us to be flexible. In this crazy, chaotic and stressful life, flexibility is key to enjoying the changes military life brings while it allows you to maximize every experience.
- Take care of you. Without exception the physical and emotional challenges we face as military spouses can cause “a real world emergency” or “shut us down for repair”. It is important that we find ways to de-stress, take care of our health and adjust to new situations or we won’t be mission ready.We all know that sometimes we are so busy tending to our lives that even when we begin to “squeak, hiss and slow down” we ignore the fact that it’s time for necessary maintenance. So to insure that you are emotionally and physically ready to tackle “Mission: Military Life”, you must make sure to take care of yourself by focusing on the following:
- Recharge your battery. No one can run on empty. As a military spouse you must find ways to recharge. Maybe it’s exercises like yoga or running, perhaps it’s crafts or coffee with a friend on a regular basis. Heck it may even be just taking a nap. No matter what it is, making sure you make the time to recharge your battery on a regular basis will give you the energy and the stamina to “handle” the many ups and downs this life brings.
- Let your emotions fly. No one can hold it together all the time, and that’s a fact. I know that as military spouses, our “mission” is to hold down the fort, but sometimes you just gotta let it all out. Acknowledging that you aren’t “super(wo)man” makes it a whole lot easier. I know that from time to time acknowledging that this life isn’t easy makes me feel so much better.
- Stop “reacting” and “dramatizing”. If you find yourself getting frustrated over the same “issues” or “challenges” that military life brings, maybe it’s time to check in with yourself. Are your expectations realistic? Are you spending time “arguing with reality” rather than accepting what you can’t change. Do you “set yourself (or your family) up” for disappointment? A little shift in your expectations and how you approach this life can make all the difference!
Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of LivingThruCrisis.com, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Risk are 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