8.18.2015

11 Tips for New Military Spouses


I am currently on my way back to Sunny San Diego from my wonderful vacation in Minnesota. I am ready to get back into the swing of things even though now I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. 

Lucky for all of you though, Keating from High Heels & Combat Boots is taking over the blog today bring you some amazing tips for all my military spouses out there. 

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My name is Keating, I’m 23 years old, a PR student at SNHU, iced coffee addict, and a military wife.  My husband, Zack has been in the U.S. Marine Corps for 5 years now and is currently in the process of moving to Japan for a year while I’m here in the states, finishing up my education.  I am currently majoring in Communications and Public Relations and hope to someday work for a nonprofit organization like The American Cancer Society.

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Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful young lady.  She graduated high school this past June and got engaged to her boyfriend last month who just got out of bootcamp.  They're getting married at the end of the year and then she'll be making the move to North Carolina.  She's very excited, but I could tell she was nervous as well.

Being a new military wife can be very overwhelming.  I remember how nervous I was when I married Zack and moved to North Carolina.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what to expect.  I didn't have friends here or a job and I honestly wasn't 100% sure if I could handle this life.  Zack and I have been married for almost two years now, but I'd still consider myself a new military spouse.  Then I met this girl.  She asked so many questions and I loved being able to help her out and calm her worries.  So I came up with 11 helpful tips for new Milso's.

+  Don't expect it to be easy.
Military relationships are not the same as civilian relationships.  I really didn't think it would be any different from the long term relationships I've been in in the past, but it is.  It's very different.  Military relationships come with their own set of challenges that most couples don't experience or don't experience as often.  Every relationship is different, but know that it won’t be easy.

+  Communication is key.
Whether you're living together or in separate cities, good communication is a big part of military relationships.  There are so many ways to communicate when you're apart.  There's FaceTime, Skype, writing letters, text messaging (there are also plenty of text messaging apps out there as well like Viber!), email, social media, etc.  Find a way to communicate that works best for both of you!

If you're living together under the same roof, then make sure you're always communicating your needs with one another.  Take some time to figure out each other's love language so that you can better understand one another and how to show each other you care.  It's important to communicate in a way your spouse will understand.

+  Don't compare your relationship to others'.
Like a normal relationship, all relationships are different.  It's very easy to compare your marriage to someone else's.  I'm very guilty of this.  I moved here and looked at my friends' marriages, wondering why we weren't like them.  But we haven't been together nearly as long as the other couples in our groups.  They were all high school sweethearts.  We weren't.  Even though we were all married, their relationships were still more advanced than ours.  And that's okay.  It wasn't fair to spend my time comparing our marriages and you shouldn't either.  It's important to focus on your own marriage.  Focus on everything you love about your marriage and if something goes wrong, then work together to fix it.  All couples have their highs and lows.

+  Don't forget about your dreams.
It can be very easy to lose yourself in a military relationship because they tend to move a lot more quickly than a normal relationship.  We went from dating to married to living together all in a six month time period.  If you planned on earning your degree, then make it happen.  If you dreamed of someday owning your own business, then make it happen.  If you want to travel the world, then do it.  Don't forget to do something for yourself or you could eventually end up feeling some resentment.  If you have a great man by your side, then he'll support you no matter what!

+  Accept the things you cannot change.
This one can be a hard pill to swallow.  I'm a control freak.  Plain and simple.  I've always been that way.  How I managed to end up as a military spouse, I have no idea.
Plans can and will change.  That's just a part of this lifestyle.  I've learned to never get excited for plans until they're actually happening.  Zack's gone in to sign out on leave and found out his leave hadn't even been approved yet!  It's frustrating sometimes.
Your spouse can and will miss holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions throughout the year.  Your spouse could even miss the birth of a child.  And the crappy part is that there's nothing you can do about it.  You can't call up his boss and request the day off for him.  He can't call out sick.  Accept this.

+  Join a support group.
I can't even begin to tell you how much this one has helped me.  Most bases will have Facebook groups for the wives to connect with one another and ask questions when needed.  They're also a great source for motivation and support.  I love our friends and family back home, but sometimes you just need to be surrounded by people who actually know what you're going through and know how to help.

+  Stay organized.
This is super important!  We're constantly needing birth certificates and each others SSN's and all that so I like to keep all important documents, phone numbers, contracts, etc. all in a single binder.  This binder includes everything: important bank information, birth certificates, our marriage certificate, health insurance information, car insurance information, car loans, credit card, info, our SSN's, etc.

If Zack's not home or we're PCS'ing or even if something were to happen to him while he's deployed, I know that everything I need is all in one place.  I promise you this will make your life easier and less stressful.  You can look up how to make one of these online.  A lot of wives call them their "deployment binders".

+  Stay positive.
Military life is what you make of it.  It's definitely going to suck sometimes.  I'm not going to sugarcoat it. No matter what happens or how much is sucks, know that it'll get better.  Cherish every moment you have with your significant other, your friends, your family.  Find the time to focus on the good.

+  Learn to do things on your own.
Your spouse isn't going to be by your side at all times.  He's not always going to be home to kill every spider or fix every light bulb or call maintenance when the dishwasher breaks.  If he were to deploy, you need to be able to take care of the home and do these things without him.

+  Avoid the drama!
There are definitely some dramatic military spouses out there.  Women, in general, tend to love drama.  I admit, I love watching reality television because it's so full of it!  It's great!  But it's not great when you're dealing with it in real life.  You don't need that.  Find friends that are down to earth and supportive.  Surround yourself with positivity!

+  Support your spouse no matter what.
Military wife or not, you should always support you husband and their career choices.  It makes it 10x harder for them to go out there and do their job when they know they have a spouse at home that doesn't support them or is angry with them over their choices.  Be there for him when he needs someone to talk to.  Let him vent when he needs to.  Lift him up when he's having a bad day.  And if he chooses to reenlist, try to look at it from his point of view and support it.

What tips would you give a new military spouse?

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Thank you Keating for taking over the blog today.

Hope everyone has a great Tuesday!

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