Military mama: A few tips for surviving military marriage

I’ve been asked for tips on surviving a military marriage. In response, I have compiled a simple how-to guide for military spouses, those just starting out and those needing a little refresher. I know I always need the reminder.

• First and foremost be flexible. Understand that shifts will change, locations will change, and pretty much everything else just might go a little nutty. Always remember to adapt and overcome!

• Understand the value of communication. Talk about the daily grind, but also about the big picture: Hopes, dreams, goals, etc. Relationships can sour if the only conversation is about the tedium of daily tasks. Focus on the positive, especially when these conversations are happening long distance.

• Trust one another and be trustworthy. There are many pitfalls out there. We most certainly don’t want to have to be accountable for every minute of the day or every dollar we spend to our spouses. But realize that shared accounts can drain quickly if there is no communication, and relationships can be strained if one or more of the parties is feeling neglected.

• Spend time together doing the things that you both enjoy. Every couple has at least some shared interests, make time for those things that first caused that spark of chemistry with one another.

• As married couples we don’t have to be attached at the hip, some couples spend far more time together than others and it works for them. Each is more healthy and happy when an appropriate balance is found between independent time and couple time.

• In general, know you’re not alone. There are spouses groups, social clubs, recreational sports, and a variety of groups catering to specific interests. It’s amazing how quickly you can make friends.

• And finally, a simple reminder: Try to keep your private life private! People get offended when others put their two cents in on their marital issues and other private business. Why would they feel it is an appropriate topic? Often, they were invited in. Remember that Facebook status? You updated the world that “It’s complicated.” I try to encourage a little OPSEC of the heart. Have someone you trust as a sounding board, but don’t necessarily air it to the world.

In short, be there for one another. Take each step along the way, as it comes. And continually remind yourself why you fell in love and signed on for this in the first place!