Your heart is filled lots of love and happiness as you begin building your life as a military spouse. Along with the thrill of seeing your honey in uniform is a lifestyle like no other.
Military spouses have their own unique set of rules and responsibilities to learn. Like walking to the left of your spouse in order for them to salute higher ranks with their right hand. As well as using “Sir” or “Ma’am”, recognizing military ranks, always writing thank you notes and proper receiving line etiquette. Here are a few tips to help make your transition into military life easier:
1. Make It A POSITIVE Change of Station
As a new military spouse, there are so many great experiences just around the bend. Get excited about the new places awaiting and look at the inevitable Permanent Change of Station (PCS) as a gift rather than a challenge. Choose to remain positive and appreciate the exciting possibilities that come with uncertainty.
Organization is your best friend. One way to stay grounded and prepared for relocation is to be as organized as possible. The military typically covers the travel expenses and transportation of items to the next base. In many cases, packers will even come to the house and help you with the move.
In preparation, create an inventory of your belongings. Use the inventory as a checklist as you pack everything up. As well as when you unpack. Clearly label the outside of each box so that you know where to find your belongings when needed. If your phone has a camera, use it to take pictures of each box, to make it easier to keep track of.
2. Make The Most Of Every Moment Together
There is no way around it, deployment stinks! As a military spouse, your service member will eventually be asked to leave home and serve time usually in another country for anywhere from 90 days to 15 months. This separation from your other half is deployment.
Seek support. The only way to make it through deployment is to build a network of support that you can rely on. Reach out to others on your base experiencing the same thing. Open yourself and welcome help from loved ones around you. Whether it is a helping hand around the house or emotional support, it is crucial to have people around you.
3. Know That You Are Never Alone
Technology has made it easier for spouses that are away to keep in contact. A computer with a web cam and a microphone/speaker set can make the separation easier. Internet and access to email may not always be available during deployment, but when it is- use it!
Make care packages, videos, and funny pictures to email, or share over Skype. Oh yeah and write letters! The physical reminder of you in the form of a handwritten letter can be priceless to service members during a deployment. Know beforehand what type of communication you will be able to have with your spouse, so that you can get set up and prepare.
4. Learn The Perks Of Being A Military Spouse
As an active participant in this new military lifestyle, all of these moving parts can start to feel overwhelming. Thankfully there are lots of perks afforded to military spouses, otherwise not available in the civilian world. This includes a variety of financial benefits including full health care benefits, housing allowances, travel benefits, military discounts and on-base shopping.
The military encourages continued growth through education by offering military spouses financial assistance to go back to school with no out-of-pocket costs or debt. Sadly many military spouses do not realize these education benefits are available to them and never take advantage of them. Make sure to visit the Community Service Center on your base and familiarize yourself with the resources and benefits available to you.
5. Stay Connected And Continue To Grow
Keep your heart filled with love and gratitude as you begin building your new life with your spouse. Remain realistic in your expectations and optimistic in your outlook. Continue to grow as your own person and make technology work to your advantage. Stay connected, maintain healthy communication and your bond will only get stronger with each hurdle you jump together.