If there is any kind of spouse that has it rough, even when things are good, it's military wives. Military wives face a unique combination of stressors that can make even the strongest relationship fall apart. All that moving, isolation, and sacrifice can make it hard to cope with your married life.
Women who just got married to a military member may feel overwhelmed when reality sinks in. Yes, you're going to be moving everywhere. Yes, your man might die in battle or come back disfigured. Yes, you might not really know him that well — and you will be expected to stay loyal to him. Yes, he might not come back the same person as he left.
Most civilians won't understand half the struggle military wives will face. However, a little bit of research can go a long way. The following tips for new military wives can make the transition easier, and also can help you figure out what your rights are if things turn sour.
Understand that you and your husband are a team.
It sounds so simple, but when you understand the full weight of this statement, it quickly becomes one of the most important tips for new military wives.
You went into this relationship knowing what his career is. You know that you're getting a number of benefits that are hard to come by in corporate America, including health care, housing, and more.
In order for him to be able to do his job, you're going to have to make some sacrifices on your end. You may have to take care of his place while he's away. If you have kids, you need to basically act like a single mom when he's on tour. You also may have to give up job opportunities because of the constant moving.
HOWEVER, he's also a partner to you. He provides a certain life standard for you. He remains loyal to you. He keeps in contact with you. He makes sure you have a community, have access to communications so that you can talk to family, have spending money, and can pursue your own dreams (within the limits that his job allows).
A team cannot work if half the team is not pulling their weight. If he isn't providing a good life for you, or if he's treating you terribly, you need to leave. If he's drinking away his paycheck, you can't sustain this relationship on your own — nor can you sustain him.
If you aren't helping him while he's on duty, don't be surprised if the relationship goes down the drain. He alone cannot make this work without you.
If you aren't both there for one another, you shouldn't be married to each other — military spouses or otherwise.
Don't stop pursuing your own goals.
Just because you're a military wife doesn't mean that you have to be cloistered up at home with the kids — unless that's what you want to do. There are plenty of work-from-home opportunities that you can pursue, as well as a number of online degree programs that can help you better your life. This is one of the best tips for new military wives.
Your military spouse may have insane demands put on him by work, but that doesn't mean that your needs should be overshadowed. Start an Etsy. Get educated. Do your own thing, whatever that thing may be.
At best, you might end up becoming someone big in your own niche. At worst, you will end up saving your sanity from feeling like you're constantly second banana to your husband.
Learn to become experts at moving.
Permanent Change of Base orders is going to be part of your life. You may have met in your hometown, but if you're a new military wife, you need to know that you probably will not stay there for too much longer.
Many tips for new military wives involve learning how to deal with the constant moves. Here are some good tips that civilians probably won't tell you:
- Never accept housing without actually looking at it first. The quality of army base housing varies greatly from place to place. If you don't look before you leap, you might end up in a pretty awful home for quite some time.
- Look at the sunny side of moving. The sunny side of moving is that you're seeing the world on Uncle Sam's dime. Take time to explore the surrounding areas and learn about local culture. You might end up loving the opportunity to move.
- Inventory everything, and insure the big things. This way, nothing will get lost and you will be able to recoup the most important things in your inventory.
Keep reaching out to others, even if you might never see them again.
If you're highly nomadic, you already know this to be a great way to meet lifelong friends. One of the smartest tips for new military wives is to continue reaching out to people in the community. You will never know where your next best online friend will come from.
At the very least, try to find at least one buddy on base who can be a listening ear and a drinking buddy. You will likely find them to be a lifesaver in more ways than one.
If you're feeling very alone, make a point of reaching out to other military wives. Most communities in the military world have coffee meet ups for wives specifically for this reason. They know it's rough, and they often offer great advice on how to live life as a military spouse.
Some military wife groups even have mentorship programs for new wives.
Expect homecomings to be awkward at times.
If your husband is coming back home from a tour, you might be counting down the days. One of the most functional tips for new military wives is to realize that homecoming isn't always the "butterflies and happiness" that they may expect it to be.
Men see things at war that can permanently mess them up on a psychological level. Some new military wives only knew their spouses for months before they got deployed — and barely know who their husbands are.
Even if you've known your new spouse for years, you'd be shocked at how much you can change in the span of six months.
In other words, you will most likely need to reacquaint yourself with your military spouse after he comes back. There may be moments you might not recognize him, or that you may end up remembering things you forgot about him.
Don't be shocked if you find times to be awkward. It takes time to get used to someone being around after months of not seeing them. You may find them to be annoying at times after you finally got used to them.
If you're feeling awkwardness due to this issue, don't hate yourself. Give yourself time to take a deep breath and re-acclimate to him being around. It may take a while, but it's worth it.
Don't be one of the military wives who develops an attitude over their husband's occupation.
One of the important tips for new military wives is to avoid being the kind of girl who ends up using her husband's job as a status symbol for herself.
That's not healthy, because that does, to a point erase how important you and your own private goals are. You are more than just a man's wife; you're a person with your own goals, dreams, and interests!
It also tends to alienate people from you — both civilians and military wives alike. You have an important job, but you are also not on the battlefield.
If you act like an over-the-top martyr just for being a military wife, you will inevitably come across as a whiny, self-important priss. There's nothing wrong with the occasional rant fest to your fellow military wives, but acting like a diva will not get you any respect.
The only thing that's worse than seeing a woman who acts like she's a complete martyr who has no joy because she "gave up so much" is the military wife who judges others based on their hubby's rank.
No one is better just because their husband has a higher rank. If you can't act like part of the team that is the military community, don't join them at all.
Really put thought into having kids before you have them.
If you look online, there will be plenty of tips for new military wives that deal with child raising — and there's a reason for that. It's not easy to deal with raising kids when you're living the military lifestyle.
Most of the milestones you have will end up being at risk of being missed by your military spouse. This is just the way military life is. It's brutal, but it's true.
Moreover, you will be alone with the kids most of the time. Are you okay with having to change all the diapers, feed them, and do all the work? If you wouldn't want to be a single mother, having kids as a military spouse is something you should really heavily reconsider.
Remember, it may be common to see military wives with a full brood of kiddos but it's not mandatory. Ideally, you should discuss this with your fiancee before he becomes your military husband. If it's too late for that, you may want to put off kids until he finishes up his work.
Avoid getting caught up in the gossip mill.
One thing that is true about any community that tends to be very heavily stuck together is that rumors tend to fly fast — and nowhere is this truer than in the military spouse community.
Don't believe the rumors, not even the ones about when "the boys are returning home." More often than not, they're just rumors and gossip.
It's also worth noting that, because of the nature of military lives, some girls out there tend to enjoy the gossip-rich style of the community. This means that they may start to act like they're still in high school.
As a result, they may spread mean rumors about others just because they can. The further you stay away from the rumor mill, the better off you will be.
As a military wife, you do have ways to keep hubby's behavior in check if he gets way out of line.
Few tips for new military wives are as important as this one. Hopefully, you'll never actually have to use this tip.
The military can and does help military wives who have been cheated on or abused by their husbands. Talking to his CO can quickly lead to him getting terminated from his position or punished — and you having a trip to the domestic violence shelter.
If things get very ugly, let his higher ups or the local office know. You do not have to be at an abuser's mercy just because you're a military wife.
Keep dark about your husband's work on social media.
Back in the 1940s, this was one of those tips for new military wives that even Uncle Sam kept parroting. Loose lips sink ships, and it's so, so easy for combatants to learn about troop positions by just looking on places like Facebook.
These kinds of secrets can get your husband killed in battle.
About the Creator
Socialite and dating guru Mackenzie Kennedy knows all about the inner workings of people and society as a whole. It's not only her lifestyle - it's her passion. She lives in Hoboken with her pet dogs, Cassie and Callie.