You meet your active duty solider, you fall in love, you get married, and out of no where reality sets in and realize you that you are a military spouse!
First thing, relax and get a hold of yourself, you’re only experiencing a military spouse’s “AH-HA” moment and trust me, there were military spouses long before you who endured this reality and so will those after your active duty solider retires.
One thing I learned as a young military spouse was not to read too much into this whole military spouse lifestyle. Instead, I learned how to prepare, embrace, and role with the punches or to be a bit more politically correct I learned how to endure and overcome any and all challenges.
The reality is that the life of a military spouse has its own set of challenges, but who’s life doesn’t?
The reality is before you dive completely into anything, you need to do some research to learn all you can about whatever it is you’re preparing to do, yes, that includes becoming a military spouse.
What I recommend to young military spouses who are brand new to the military lifestyle:
1. Research, Research, Research – learn all you can about the military in general and more specifically about your branch of service. Familiarize yourself with military bases associated with your branch of service.
2. Find a Mentor – hook-up with a senior military spouse or a military spouse who’s been associated with the military for a while and get permission to pick their brain. Write down your questions and concerns ahead of time so you don’t forget your most important questions.
3. Establish a strong open line of communication with your new or future active duty solider and work your butt off to keep thoses lines open.
4. If you are a newly married military spouse with no children, get comfortable with being married, spend as much time as possible with your active duty soldier, learn one another, enjoy one another, and for peace sake, learn to respect one another.
5. If you are a newly married military spouse with children, get comfortable with being married, spend as much time as possible with your active duty soldier, learn one another, enjoy one another and learn to respect one another.
6. Have the family gather together at the dinner table 1-2 times a week, turn off the television and just talk and laugh, enjoy one another, life is too short and time waits for no one; so treasure your time together. You’ll be so surprised at how close your family will become.
Be proactive during your time on active duty. When you learn that your family is relocating, take initiative to begin your research ahead of time, learn all you can about your new duty location.
Find out who the major employers are in the area and within a 25 mile radius, if you plan to operate a business at your new duty assignment, go online to do research on the costs for a business license and for doing business in the city, county, or state.
Contact the chamber of commerce and request an information packet with as much information as possible six months or more out (if your lucky, you can visit their website and download the information, immediately), consider also contacting the local convention and visitors bureau or again simply visit their website to access information and resources, immediately. The key is to be a proactive military spouse. Information is powerful!
Take full advantage of your time on active duty, chances are you will get to visit many new and exciting places that you would not have otherwise on your own, so cease the opportunity. Learn about the different cultures, pack the family or you and your active duty solider, make a picnic basket and get out to see the sights whether overseas or in the states.
If you plan to stick around for 20 years, retirement will be upon you before you know it, so enjoy, and stop trying to make since of the military spouse lifestyle.
Until the next time!