What spouses appreciate about the military lifestyle:
Military spouses are all too familiar with the hardships of the military lifestyle: deployments, training, long hours, constant moves, being away from family... But what about the good things?
I asked military spouses what they value or appreciate about the military lifestyle. Here is a summary of what they said:
- Marriages are strengthened due to time apart
- Family bonds are nurtured with constant moves
- Wonderful friendships across the country and world are developed; the military community becomes your family
- Benefits (medical care, military discounts, constant paycheck, travel)
- Personal growth and spiritual growth occur through the challenges
- There is pride in being a military family and serving our country
Below you can learn more...in their own words:
Strengthens marital bonds and family bonds
"It has made me appreciate my husband more. The time we have been apart allows me to think of all the wonderful reasons why I fell in love with him in the first place."
"The distance actually brings my family closer and makes us stronger!! You really value each day with your soldier because they can be gone training or downrange anytime!"
"Deployment and other extended separations make us value our family time even more. Being far away from our parents and siblings has helped us learn to rely on each other and strengthened us as a couple. It helps us value the time spent with our extended family, as well."
"I think there is something about a deployment that can strengthen the bond between a husband and a wife -- assuming they have a good relationship prior to deployment! Maybe it's the whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder", or maybe it's learning to do things for yourself and knowing your spouse is proud of you for being supportive of his career.
"I would have to say that the time away from my husband allows me to totally focus on the Lord and lean on Him for my comfort and depend on Him for my strength, therefore making me a better person for my husband to come home too. I love doing Beth Moore Bible studies while he is gone and reading marriage books (I love Debi Pearl's "Created to be his Help Meet") that way when he comes home I can be as supportive and loving as possible concentrating on what he needs out of me as his support system after a sometimes life altering experience such as war. Being a military wife is not easy and there are some benefits such as a closer relationship with your husband, reuniting with your husband after deployment is a second, third, honeymoon and just feeling like you are apart of the bigger picture, which is standing behind a hero. Turning to Jesus is my number one piece of advice that I can give as a military wife because it is a stressful, demanding, job that only He can give you strength to get you through."
"I have been a military wife for almost 15 years. As hard as the separations are...they only make your marriage stronger if you truly love each other. Just remember a deployment isn't forever. And I have learned with God first, We can get through anything!!"
"I appreciate the way my children can bond instantly with other children. I appreciate the family bonding our own personal family has because we are the only "constant" in our lives. I feel that we are much closer than we would be as a family if we were not military. Being piled up together in the van when we pcs (permanent change of station, aka move) and seeing all that we have in this world loaded up again and again in one truck can really put things into perspective! But it's at those times that I think, if that truck vanished and all I had in this world were the people in this van, my life would be full."
"I think the separations can make your marriage stronger--when you have to do the above things, because your hubby isn't there, you REALLY learn to appreciate him and take nothing for granted. Hubby then comes home, no longer taking for granted a homecooked meal, his own shower, all of the things he missed."
Military community becomes family
"Being involved in PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel - Military wives' Bible study - LINK) has shown me what God really means when he speaks of unity. I have never found the blend of backgrounds being able to come together so wonderfully in praise of our God anywhere else."
"Having military family is a blessing in my book. They are there when you are so far away from your blood family. There's just something special about being around other people that go through the EXACT same things you do. It's nice to have someone else truely KNOW. God has blessed me with an amazing military family over the last 11 years!"
"I appreciate the support that you get from the other wives."
"We LOVE our Army "family" - the friends and neighbors who have become like family to us."
"Meeting so many amazing people I never would have crossed paths with otherwise! We didn't know a single soul at our first duty station, and only one other family at our second duty station. amazing to see how many connections and friendships are there now."
"Other who go through the same thing are always there and even though you can be so far from family you form a new bond like family with the ones you meet. You make friends that will never leave your side no matter where you get stationed."
"I have such an elevated awareness of my blessings. So I find myself enjoy the little things more, appreciating all our gifts. I also love the fact that there is always someone out there who has experienced what I am going through before, or is walking in the same shoes as I am now. I know I am never alone. And that gives me strength in the harder times."
"I have friends ranging from Alaska to North Carolina...from Pennsylvania to Kansas to Texas...had it not been for this life I would not have had the joy of meeting some of the greatest people in the world."
"The friends you make are such a blessing!"
"I've only been a military wife for three years but there are a lot of things we can benefit from, such as other military families. There is always someone to help, support, and sometimes lean on. Making friends may seem difficult sometimes but there's always the FRG ( Family Readiness Group). There are so many things to look forward to when you are new. I appreciate the military. I'll say that being a military wife is demanding but I think its the best thing that's happened to me and my daughter.
"You also learn to make friends and treasure them more. The support of other military families has been a lifesaver for me and for my husband and children."
"Make special effort to have good relations with your neighbors--bring them cookies, babysit, etc so that when you do have a problem come up that is too big for you, you have help very close by. "
Benefits (medical care, paycheck, military discounts, travel, programs)
"Knowing we have medical care and a constant paycheck, it has allowed me to be a stay at home mom."
"Some of the benefits that I appreciate are healthcare, military discounts at my favorite stores, and the fact that I love a man in uniform!"
"The travel opportunities! We lived in Japan for 5 years (my daughter was born there) and Italy for 4 years. Even in the States we have lived in opposite ends, FL and ND as part of the military! You can't beat it! Learning about other cultures etc. It's by far my favorite part of being a military wife!"
"I especially enjoy the special events that the post or battery puts on for our kids."
Personal growth and spiritual growth
"It teaches you patience and perseverance. To definitely put you faith in the Lord. It makes you keep repeating to yourself, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" Philippians 4:6!"
"Distance stinks but the reunion makes it all worth while! Sure your soldier isn't there all the time for every holiday or every birthday and anniversary but no matter what they are always under the same sun and moon no matter how far!"
"Let me make mention of the power that has seen us through the past 18 years...Jesus Christ. Without Him I would have lost my mind on occasions due to the worry and loneliness, without Him I would have missed seeing the blessings that He placed in our lives. Just like any other lifestyle it boils down to this...what YOU choose to make of it. God bless every single one of you ladies and your spouses!!!"
"What doesn't kill you you, makes you stronger. Some of my fellow military wives are some of the strongest women I know. I count it a blessing to know what I'm made of. Of course, more important, is who made me. I can rely on my God for anything and everything and being a young military wife has shown me that.
I love my husband! Go Coast Guard!"
"My walk with the Lord has never been stronger and my husband's also. Where I have always leaned on my husband, he is now 6000 miles away, so this has been such a sweet time for me to really get to know my Savior in a much more intimate way. My husband has noticed the change as well."
"For myself I have gotten a little more self esteem to go and feel comfortable to talk with others because I never felt judged when everyone is around for the same reasons...the military."
"Yes, the time apart from hubby is hard and sometimes feels overwhelming, BUT you learn as the spouse that you can do things you never dreamed possible, such as clear a stuffed drain, kill critters in your house, etc. You become stronger."
"The sense of pride I feel having a husband and a son in the military is beyond words."
"I have been a military wife for over 18 years. It has it ups and downs, just like every other relationship but with the added hardship of separation. It will make or break you. It is a difficult life but one that comes with great rewards......when I think about how I feel about being married to a soldier, the word that comes to mind is PRIDE. Pride in my husband and pride in the people of this country."
"The benefit for me is just the pride in being a military family."
"I've really come to appreciate America and the great people that make up this country. From the 19 year old Private, to the barista at Starbucks who gives my husband free coffee when he sees him in uniform ... makes me proud to be an American."