Being a military spouse is something that I don't usually talk about. It's a huge part of my life, but I don't know... I guess to me it's just my "normal."
Being a military family comes with a lot of challenges, but just like anything... it's what you make of it.
Real talk: if you only dwell on the negative, you will be miserable. That goes for anything in life, not just the military life but anything... marriage, friendship, parenting, changes/ different seasons in life... you name it! The trick is you need to see the good in any situation and make the best of it.
I have been a military spouse for almost 12 years now (dang I feel old) and while there is a lot that I don't care for in the whole military lifestyle... there's also a lot that I have learned, and I'm so thankful for.
Confessions from a military spouse... Here's what I've learned so far:
- There is a lot out of our control, and the moment you put your trust in God and that he will take care of you no matter what, you can start to find a little peace in that… you stress less, and things become a little easier to handle.
- I am way stronger than I thought. I can handle way more than I ever thought. I just had to get through it.
- Titles/Labels do not define me. I may have the label of "dependent," but I'm far from it.
- Communication is key in marriage. If you and your spouse do not have good communication (about the good & bad) the trust will never be there. Talk, talk, talk even when it is hard!
- Budget is a good word. Despite popular belief, enlisted military members do not get paid very well... Budgets will be your best friend. Embrace the budget, become 1 with the budget. Budgets lead to finical freedom so run like the little gazelle you are! (shout out to all my fellow Dave Ramsey peeps)
- Distance does make the heart grow fonder, but it's hard work.... put in the hard work, it's worth it!
- Check your expectations. Lots of things in life... marriage, parenting, military life (especially Homecomings) can come with some pretty high and romanticized expectations. Check your expectations and then lower them a bit. Then for good measure, lower them a tad bit more. Don't set yourself up for something that could be completely different than the picture you have in your head. While all these things can be great, they can also be hard... which becomes even harder when you have set your hopes high.
- Home, vacations, stations, relationships, situations, whatever it is... it's what you make it. You may not always like the station you got assigned or the situation you are in, but everything is what you make of it... seek the good whenever you can.
- Find your tribe near or far and lean on them. Military life can be great for seeing different places and meeting new people, but it can be hard "finding your tribe." Find those people that are always there for you (even if they are physically far away) and lean on them. They will be the ones that you can always go to no matter how many miles are between you.
There is so much that this military lifestyle has taught me and these are just a few of the big lessons learned. I'm not sure if you are also a military spouse or not, but I hope that you find these as helpful reminders that life is a journey. We all face challenges in our life, but there are so many great things about this life we have been blessed with.