One of the worst after-shocks of serving in the military and then returning home is a strained marriage, perhaps a marriage with kids who cannot recognize their military parent. It is a tough turn of events for all involved and the entire family at large. A lot of time has probably been spent apart, coupled with deployment stress that, at the end of the day, has an effect on military marriages. This is why both partners to the union need to take some bit of effort to work on their marriage and grow it as much as they can.
Successful and happy marriages in the military are possible, and a reality, and there is no reason you cannot make yours work. Here are solid strategies to help you make your military marriage a success.
Maximize on time you spend together
Of all the things that are critical in a military marriage, time spent together is very important. The reason is because there will be a lot of time spent apart and the little time you have will need to be used very well to keep the fire burning. You can plan romantic adventures, quiet time and fun activities when you have some time together. These are things any marriage deserves, particularly military ones where worry and stress is the order of the day. Remember that reconnecting is important all the time when you are together and this should happen without any external interference. If you have small children, enlist your family, parents and friends to babysit for you as you make things work.
Support your partner
Supporting your spouse in the military is very vital. You must go out of your way to indicate and show your pride in him/her and what she/he is doing. The worst thing you can do is cause arguments and nag about factors beyond the control of your husband or wife in the military, such as training exercises and deployments. Remember going out and leaving you behind is the hardest thing he/she must do, all in the line of duty.
Community and group activities
As a person married to an individual in the military the worst you can think is that you are the only one. You will find families that have had to make greater sacrifices that yourself. However, you might want to join community and group activities for those married to service men and women. These military group activities will bring you close to other partners, husbands and wives in the military, particularly after deployment; you will keep yourself busy and share as you wait for your spouse to return home. The support you get is priceless since they understand what ails you while the advice and guidance you receive will be invaluable in the long run.
Affection all the time
There are many things to do when you have time to spend with your partner in between deployments. Of importance is ensuring that love and affection is displayed and felt at any given time. You must make your partner know how committed you are to the marriage and your love is not shaken but strong as ever. Love and support for a partner who is facing danger fighting for the nation will run deep. Remember, that for any military marriage to work both of you must be as strong as you can and do all you can to build your union.
Expressing yourself is important in a military marriage; without honest communication your union will lose steam and whither as each of you leave to live another life. Whatever hurts you or you feel must be said needs to be shared honestly, even if it is about the way he shaves or too much makeup. None of you should expect to know what is in the mind of the other spouse.
Plan the future together
The hope a person in the military has is his life beyond his/her military career. It is the job of the other partner, and both of you, to work together planning for the future. Both of you need something to hold on to and wait for the future with confidence. It can be a vacation, new house, retirement, new careers among others, or just what you will do immediately after the service has come to an end.
Be patient and understanding
Serving in the military is not a joke considering the dangerous and ever anxious moments that come with the territory. The lifestyle could end up having a serious repercussion on both spouses. Strenuous exercises and upcoming deployments can make your partner have a moody and bad temperament at home and your patience and obvious understanding will be very important to the military spouse every single day.
Time apart should be maximized
The reality of a military marriage is that there will be a lot of time to spend apart. Learn to maximize on this time you will be alone to make the separation seem short. Avoid pulling away on your own and set some goals to accomplish before your spouse returns. Change your attitude to a positive one and always encourage one another at this point.
Grow your relationship
If you are keen enough, you probably have noticed that the military provides a lot of resources to help you grow your union, from free get together and retreats, free workbooks to free counseling, among others. There are religious and secular daily devotionals as well that you can engage in daily. Sometimes all you need to is to talk with somebody for a bit and a counseling session will truly help.
Always remember that the military should never be the excuse you give for having the unhappiest of marriages. Show commitment to the marriage and take up the challenge of making the union work. Making such a marriage work is not for the faint hearted and you must work really hard.
By practicing some of these strategies you will keep your marriage strong and intact when you are a military couple, including the long time that will follow the military chapter of your life.