Joining the military is an experience like no other. Marrying into this lifestyle can be very intimidating, even if a couple has been dating longterm beforehand.
We asked readers at our Military Spouse Central Facebook page to share their advice new military spouses. They rose to the occasion, submitting dozens of excellent tips to help new military spouses start off on the right foot. Below are some of the most common military spouse tips shared:
The No. 1 tip was finding a battle buddy, which means finding a fellow military spouse to confide in and relate to as time goes on. Anyone who understands what you’re going through can be a big help in dealing with the little things everyday as well as bridge the loneliness during a deployment.
Army wife Ashley Brantley wrote: “Find another military spouse, even if it’s online. Your world will become so much easier if you have someone to talk to that’s in the same boat. That made the world of difference to me.”
Using military benefits wisely was another common theme. Spouse group member Jessica Wilson Nolan said, “Take advantage of any & all incentives. Gym, discounts, free oil change for spouse of the deployed, dinners for spouses of the deployed.”
For some families living on a deployment budget can be difficult. Military discounts can make it easier. Also, being aware of benefits like a VA home loan can save your family thousands of dollars on the bigger purchases in life.
Marrying into the military means marrying into bureaucracy. Many spouses mentioned the importance of keeping your documents in order.
Navy wife Jenna Levin shared this: “Never lose your ID. Know where your ID is, where your POAs (power of attorney) are, where copies of orders are, marriage licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards, etc. Have copies of everything and my suggestion would be to either have a designated drawer for important papers or a fireproof lock box. Trust me on this one.”
It may seem like a no-brainer, but having all of these documents lined up and ready to go at a moment’s notice will make life a lot less stressful down the road when you’re fighting your way through red tape.
Taking care of yourself was another recurring theme. While many view deployment as a difficult and lonely time, it’s also seen as an opportunity for self-improvement. Army wife Angie Hayes also shared this great tip about deployment opportunities : “Try finding a little job or go to school so you won’t have so much time on your hands”
Whether you finally sign up for that gym membership or start working toward a degree, the free time that many fill with negative thoughts is better spent building your skills.
A really interesting tip we received was about breaking up a deployment so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Jenna Levin suggests setting up some important events that you will look forward to. Whether this is starting and finishing an online class, taking a small vacation, getting concert tickets or simply catching up with some old friends, a nine-month deployment won’t seem so overwhelming with a fun event every few weeks.
Some of the best tips recommended going with the flow, taking a deep breath and relaxing. Many military wives are stuck feeling like they have to take care of everything right away when it comes to a PCS or deployment.
Military Spouse Facebook user Julia Heflin shared this great piece of advice about relaxing as a military spouse: “Instead of trying to control everything, just go with the flow. When things get frustrating, don’t take it out on your spouse, and enjoy each duty station because chances are when you move again, you’ll miss it.”
The military lifestyle is full of hurry-up-and-wait moments. Expect that dates will change, documents will be lost and there will always be a hoop to jump through. Remember that these changes are no one’s fault and even though you may be annoyed, you’ll make it through and still be glad you married into the military.
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