How to be a (Mostly) Happy Military Couple
Marriage can be hard, but being in the military makes it even harder. There can be long hours at work, TDY’s, deployments, and just the added stress of your spouse having one of the most difficult jobs in America. At the same time though, your spouse and you are actually more likely than the rest of American couples to go to the Eiffel Tower!
So it’s not all bleak. Nowadays we can still talk to our spouses if they are away, and there are so many more resources available to us today. I mean, in World War II the spouses would wait MONTHS just to get a single letter in reply to theirs. Here are some resources available to you to help develop your relationship skills:
Chaplains- Chaplains are a great resource to you because whatever you tell them, it’s completely confidential. It doesn’t get reported to medical or your spouse’s leadership. Not only that, but they are really great at helping people talk things out. They only add religion in if you are comfortable with it. They can actually speak quite secularly.
Military Family Life Counselors (MFLCs)- These are licensed counselors, and they are confidential, up to the point of the safety of those involved. Basically, if you are being abused or are abusing someone else, they will have to pass this on to the proper authorities. If you are in an abusive relationship, please get out of it. It can happen to anyone so you have no reason to be embarrassed and it’s not your fault. You do however deserve better. Any of these resources I mentioned can help you navigate you through your situation. MFLCs will also refer you to medical if there is an underlying medical issue such as depression or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). MFLCs are still great people to talk to and can help you and your partner figure out if there are any underlining issues.
Family Readiness Centers (FRCs)- There is one class, in particular, that is great if your center offers it: “How to Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”. I know a lot of people tend to shy away from traditional counseling, but Mark Gungor really does a great job of making it fun and enjoyable. Often times, the center holding it will serve dinner or lunch as the class is watching the video. It’s usually only for one day or evening. They have other classes as well, including one on the Four Lenses. Just check what your local area has and try them out!
Family Advocacy- This agency has classes and counselors available to you as well. As I previously stated with the AFRC, you should check what your area has.
Local Churches- These can offer you councilors for your particular religion, as well as some study groups that can help with your relationship and your own personal development. Christian bible study groups usually pray for your situation and try to offer help, i.e. babysitting or cooking meals for you.
Give Parents a Break- This allows you to drop your kids off for the night so you guys can reconnect. This is a program offered on Air Force installations and is usually free or low cost. I’m a spoiled Air Force Spouse so unfortunately, I don’t know what the other services offer. I will continue to research this and update the article with what I find.
Other Military Families- Being so far away from biological family and not always having your spouse with you, often brings military families closer together. I had one friend watch our kids while my husband and I went out on a date, when we really needed it, and it helped our relationship. So seeking out meaningful, positive friends you can depend on in the military community can help not only your social life, but also your romantic life too.
My husband and I have been married for nearly 17 years, and to say we were always happy with each other would be a lie, but we will never give up on one another. And 9 times out of 10 that we weren’t getting along, we were not talking a lot and misunderstood what the other person was doing or saying. Something that helped me in one of these situations was Proverbs 31 and the virtuous woman. At the time that I was reading it, I was not emulating the strength, kindness, and wisdom that I needed to. So from that day on, I tried to be more like her. One of my friends said the best thing ever, that sums up trying to make marriage work: “I should treat my spouse better than I treat anyone else”. It is amazing what a change in perspective and attitude can do. That person will, in turn, change how they react to you. I know, it sucks to not prove your point, but would you rather be right or married?
As a disclaimer, I’m not the world expert on marriage so if you have any added tips or ideas please leave them in the comments below! I will approve them as soon as I can.