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7 Secrets From Senior Army Wives That all Milspouses Need to Hear

Here are the 7 best secrets I have compiled from senior army wives. These tips have helped me stay sane, keep my marriage strong, and ultimately thrive in army life. Enjoy!

1. The Army always (sometimes) comes first.

No matter what branch your spouse is in, you’ve probably heard by now that the job comes first *eye roll*. Annoying as it is, it’s true. Sometimes the job has to come FIRST. If he/she can’t leave work during an emergency, it’s not because your spouse doesn’t genuinely want to be by your side. Sometimes they just PHYSICALLY CANNOT be there or they are not allowed to leave.

 

2. Even the little things are important.

On a deployment or long training period, it helps your spouse to talk about anything but work. Literally ANYTHING normal, because it helps them feel included. Even if it’s just a story about how your doggo stole your underwear from the hamper for the millionth time or maybe your kid licked the floor in the grocery store again- it helps. It raises their spirit and helps him or her feel connected to you.

 

3. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Yea okay, so this one is pretty generic. Arguably though, it’s the most important. Many couples break down because they leave fights unresolved, don’t talk about their feelings, expectations, or plans. In the military, that’s magnified about 1000X.

Here’s the deal: if you get into an argument and your spouse leaves, the argument doesn’t go away with the soldier. It sits, swells, brews, stews, whatever you want to call it and can develop into something much much bigger. Maybe even long-term resentment. Talk about it. Talk about WHY it started? What will be the *SOLUTION* to prevent the same fight from happening in the future? Are you going to remember this a year from now? Is this fight going to end your love together? Probably not. So squash the drama and move on. No argument is worth wasting the precious time you and your spouse have together. You’ll thank me later. 

 

4. They're not trying to be mean- they're just busy.

We’ve all been there. Waiting by the phone, checking for the 10th time that your sound is switched on, and when they finally get back to you it’s an “ok”, “sounds good”, or a “love you”. The delayed responses and short answers aren’t because your spouse is mad or being mean. They're just busy. Your soldier has a million things on their mind right now at work and they're hoping a quick “ok” is better than nothing at all. They're trying, try to return the favor and cut them some slack. Sometimes its efficiency over quality, so try not to take it to heart. Your spouse loves you!

 

5. There will always be an adjustment period.

Ever wonder why you and your spouse fight right before they leave and right after they get home? Yep, it’s not just you, that’s the adjustment period. Whether it’s a 2 month school, 6 month training, or an 8 month deployment, the adjustment period is almost inevitable. It’s awkward, emotional and frustrating, but be patient.

This is not the time to suddenly give them all the diaper changes, overflowing dirty dishes, and endless laundry loads because they ‘owe you’ for being gone so long (sorry, but your spouse doesn’t owe you).  They're not going to be able to make up for the time lost, so don’t put that pressure on your relationship. It will take time for you two to get back into the swing of things and for your soldier to wind down and return home mentally. You’ll get on each other’s nerves, at times you won’t know how to act, but do your best to slowly let them back in. Take things one day at a time.

 

6. Extended family gets the extended arm.

When your soldier comes home from training or a deployment, your extended family (includes parents) will try to step in and step over the line. Let’s be honest, the adjustment period sucks enough with just you and your spouse, but now your mother-in-law wants to stay at your house for two weeks? *cringe* No thanks. It’s always best to keep your extended family at an arms length until you and your spouse are ready. Remember this is YOUR family and you need time to get everyone in your home adjusted again as a family before adding anyone else into the mix.  One or two day visits are fine, but anything more than that can be destructive to your relationship, not to mention suffocating. This might be hard for your extended family to accept. However, at the end of the day the one who gets upset the most is the soldier. They don’t need the stress (and neither do you), so defend their right to breathe.

 

7. It’s OKAY to be the stay at home parent or housewife.

Educated or not, it’s hard for us spouses to find jobs because we move SO FREAKING MUCH. If spouses do end up getting a job, it’s usually a part time, minimum wage gig that they end up quitting anyway. This is why it's so so so important to *be able to survive on one income*, because the opportunity to have a second isn't always there. This is also why so many spouses get involved with multi-level marketing (MLM’s) or start their own businesses. They create jobs for themselves that are adaptable and portable.

However, if the entrepreneur life isn’t for you and you’re unemployed or you're a stay at home parent, it’s OKAY! You are not alone. Here’s the thing: you are not your title. Say it with me! I AM NOT MY TITLE. People love to talk about their job titles and their credentials. I’m the manager of so and so, the supervisor of such and such with a dual degree in english and biology, consultant for this big huge popular company (yawn).

There’s so much more to life than your job title…like who you actually are. Own it! I am a writer, dog mom, wife, photographer, artist, friend, daughter, terrible public speaker, coffee addict- I could go on. *A job title does not define who you are.* If you want to be an amazing parent to your beautiful babies and a supportive and wonderful partner and friend to your spouse, then so be it! It’s your life, my friend. Find happiness in whatever you do!  *You are enough and you are so so so worthy of a happy life!* 

I hope this article helped you! If you think it will help someone else please share it!