One of my largest inspirations for this blog is to share my experiences as a new military spouse, so I can help those who come into this life behind me.  As I approach the beginning of my third year as an Army wife, I thought I should share the many things I have learned along the way as I leave behind my title of rookie military spouse.

There is definitely a learning curve when you marry a service member.  From the acronyms to the spoken and unspoken rules, you learn many things in your first few years as you acclimate into this life.  Below are the top ten lessons I have learned during my first two years as a military spouse.

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All photos by Aimee Sue Photography

#10: Learn consistently

There are multitudes of learning opportunities for military spouses. Do not let these chances pass you by. Learn as much as you can, all of the time.  I remember watching Army Wives before I became one, hoping I could learn a few things about this life from TV.  That’s just it though, that was TV and not real life. Each base has programs that allow military spouses to learn about this life and many other skills for success.  There are also many scholarships to help military spouses earn licensure, certificates, and degrees. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new.

#9: The Importance of OPSEC

OPSEC is Operational security.  Whatever you do, protect the safety of your spouse, your family, and the military community.  NEVER discuss movement on social media, times, or dates when a unit is leaving or returning home.

#8: Seek support

There are numerous organizations that exist solely to help military families. Do not be afraid to reach out to them, volunteer, or attend one of their events. To learn more about military friendly nonprofit organizations, check out my recommendations on 8 Nonprofit Organizations that Military Spouses Should Know Well.

#7: Finding friends takes time

It has been really hard to find friends in this life. It’s especially difficult if you are a working milspouse, so be patient.  Be default, military spouses are busy handling life, so it may take a few tries to meet up with a new potential friend. For a list of ideas about finding friends, read Finding Friends in a Military World.

#6: Network, network, network

Networking is a super important skill that is a necessity in the military community.  This is an amazing world of people who help one another. When you network with others, whether in your industry or not, it could open doors for you.  In addition, you could be the one opening doors for another military spouse someday too. Many military spouses have to reinvent their careers, networking can help you as you transform your career into something more suitable to this lifestyle.

#5: How to be a good problem solver

Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law?  In case you haven’t already experienced it, you eventually will. Basically, if something is going to break, it will as soon as your husband leaves.  It is essential to learn how to manage when everything that could go wrong does and you are all alone.  These times will force you to become a good problem solver, build a support network,  and teach you how to stand on your own two feet.

#4: Be Mindful when planning a vacation too far in advance

If you are a huge planner, like me, this one is especially tough. As a military spouse, you have to adapt to becoming a last-minute vacation planning type of person.  Even then, duty still calls and plans may have to change once again. Just breathe, develop flexibility, and be understanding to your spouse as it isn’t his or her fault when this happens.

#3: You cannot make it through this life without faith

Being a military spouse isn’t easy, but it’s especially hard if your faith is shaky.  Having a strong faith can help you through the times that bring you to your knees.  God’s comfort will help you through the difficult moments and he will take your worries and turn them into peace. Just have faith, pray often, and believe.

#2: Cherish the time you have with your spouse

Make moments special with your spouse frequently. You don’t know what orders may come tomorrow. Choose to spend time in laughter instead of arguing about the little things. Don’t take a single moment for granted with your spouse and always show that you care through little random things.

#1: You are stronger than you think

When I first became a military spouse, I never imagined how difficult this life could be.  I always thought I was pretty independent and would do well in this life, since I had my career and a house of my own when I met my husband. The transition of leaving my home, career, and friends behind was not easy, but somehow I have made it through.  When I look back at the feats my husband and I have made it through in only two years of marriage, I realize that I need to give myself a little more credit for developing strength and perseverance. You too should pat yourself on the back because you can do this.  You are so much stronger than you even realize.

© Wendi and Strength 4 Spouses, 2017.

Comments (14)

  1. Reply

    It has to be hard to be a military spouse. I’d especially have a problem with always having to make new friends. But you’ll find a lot of lifetime friends along the way.

    • Reply

      Thank you Kathy. Finding friends in this world definitely gets a person out of their comfort zone, but that’s a good thing. Thank you for visiting my blog. Wishing you and your family the most joyful holiday season ever.

  2. Reply

    So much truth! I’m marrying into a military life next year and have already found lots of this to to be helpful.

    Great starting off with #9…especially online but I hear too much face to face sometimes, too. #5 has struck once or twice too 😑

    • Reply

      Hi Vandissa! Congrats on your upcoming wedding in 2018! I’m so glad this post could help in some way. You’re exactly right about OPSEC. It’s one of the lost important things to remember. I’m sorry to hear that #5 has gotten you already. Stay strong and you’ve got this! Please stop by again sometime for more military spouse stories and inspiration!

  3. Reply

    Interesting to know about your life as a military spouse. Profession is important but that need not be a factor between the relationship of a husband and a wife. So your unity depends on how you accept and adjust each other. Thanks

  4. Reply

    As a planner, I’ve found I’ve relaxed so much in the last 11 years. I used to be so upset when plans get changed, not I’m much more chill. You’ve got this!

    • Reply

      Hi Rebecca. Yes! Being a planner is tough in the military world. I’m learning to be more flexible, that’s for sure. It’s good to know, from your experience, that with each year I’ll relax more too. Have a wonderful holiday season with your family! I’m so happy we have connected this year.

  5. Robin

    Reply

    You are so right with all of these. I look back and realize I am so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.

    • Reply

      Hi Robin. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. We never realize the strength we have within until we are put in a situation that leaves us with no choice.

  6. Reply

    Such good tips! I started casually dating someone in the airforce and haven’t seen him in six weeks because of training, and it has been so, so hard for me. I just want to squeeze him. I’m always up for spontaneous plans, though! Or I used to be before I had a baby haha. I’m getting better at the spontaneity though!

    • Reply

      Thank you Victoria. It’s definitely hard being without them and something you never get used to. Best wishes to you in 2018!

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