If your husband is serving in the military, life can often feel like quite the whirlwind. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of just making it through each day, that it can sometimes feel as though you’re raising your family on your own. But when was the last time you thought about everything your husband is doing for you and the family? Do you ask him about his day? Do you show an interest in what he does (assuming he’s allowed to talk about it with you)?
Chances are, your husband is doing the best he can. You want your husband to appreciate the many things you do for your family, right? Well, showing appreciation (and expressing it) is a two-way street. Here's how to show your military husband that you support him, in a way that will lift his spirits and help him feel loved.
Let Him Do What He Loves
Being in the military and living a military life is what your husband loves to do. It’s a part of who he is. So, if he wants to go for a promotion that will require more of his time for the same pay, but it’s something he’s passionate about--let him! Yes, it may be a sacrifice for you, but that’s what marriage is all about. Your husband will know you’ve got his back when you stand behind him in major decisions. Hopefully, your support won’t go unnoticed. And when you need him to be there for you, he’ll do it enthusiastically.
Keep Those Lines of Communication Open
This might be one of the most important things you can do to keep your marriage flame alive.
Don’t let life, kids, and the craziness of day-to-day life in the military keep you from keeping your eyes laser focused on your relationship. In other words, make your relationship a priority, make time to talk to your husband as often as you can, and let him know your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with him.
Don’t hide things from him. Ask him for help when you need it. Tell him when you’re frustrated and why, but don’t let it turn into a rant. And don’t forget that, as with showing appreciation, communication in a marriage is a two-way street. If you expect your husband to listen to your concerns and help you find solutions, you’ve got to be prepared to do the same when it’s his turn.
Make a Plan Together
If you’re feeling nervous or insecure about the future, start making a plan with your husband. Tell each other your hopes and dreams and set goals together. Ask each other where you see yourself in five or ten years from now. Then work to turn those dreams and fantasies into realities. Making your dreams come true takes a lot more than just talking about them; it takes time, commitment, and action. So, get on it!
Check Your Attitude
Okay, this is going to sound harsh, but it’s the truth: Sometimes the biggest threat to your husband’s military career is you and the way you treat it. Are you respectful of the hard work he puts into his job and the sacrifices he’s had to make to get where he is?
Or are you constantly bashing the military, its way of life, and the never-ending red tape? There are advantages and disadvantages to military life—just as there are with civilian life—and there’s no shortage of things to gripe about. But if that’s all you see and all you talk about, no one will have any interest in being around you. (If the situation were reversed, would you want to spend much time with someone who sees only the negative in every situation? Probably not.) The solution? Get rid of your attitude and make it a goal to notice positive things about military life. If you change your outlook, before you know it, your feelings about military life will have changed as well.
Keep in mind that your actions may affect your husband’s career in a much bigger way that you might have imagined. You’re not in the private sector, and the military can—and does—take into consideration a serviceman’s wife and family situation before giving new assignments or promotions. If you cause problems or don’t adhere to military guidelines, you could actually be hurting your husband’s career.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
There’s no question that the military has a lot of control over where you live and what you do when you get there. Sometimes you get to be in a place that’s both exciting and fun for you and the rest of the family. Sometimes, you’ll be stationed close to friends and family, and you’ll feel grateful to have so much support and help nearby. Other times, you may find yourself somewhere that’s, shall we say, less than satisfactory, or you’ll have to live in a house that you feel isn’t up to your standards. This can be a hard adjustment to make, but “bloom where you’re planted” means you should try to find the best in every situation. By consciously seeking out the good and maintaining a positive outlook, you can change the experience into something great for everyone else in your family.
Be the First Lady
In the age we live in, women want to be (and deserve to be) seen as liberated and equal to men in every way. Some may say that life as a military spouse is keeping you from pursuing your own dreams. It may sometimes feel like that, but you knew what you were getting into when you married your husband, and only you can keep you from pursuing your dreams. In your marriage and in your life, your husband is not any more important than you are and he’s not holding you back. The two of you stand side-by-side in marriage. You’re equals, but you’ve taken on different responsibilities.