If you are in or are about to begin a military relationship, you need to prepare yourself for the road ahead. Military relationships can be very hard and it does take quite a bit of getting used to. But along with that hardship comes quite a few rewards, such as pride, health and dental coverage at considerably low rates, a guaranteed paycheck regardless of hours worked, a new “extended” family, opportunities to travel and see many different places, and freedom and flexibility to work towards your goals and dreams while they are away. Despite all of these benefits, being in a military relationship means learning to adapt to this new lifestyle and learning how to cope with the distance and difficulties you will face.
When you’re in a military relationship, you have to prepare for deployment, first and foremost. Getting yourself ready for this big change will help ease you into the entire process. By connecting with a good support group or forum, you can connect with other military wives as much as possible to help you get through this hard time as well as have someone to talk to that has gone through exactly what you’re going through.
They may be able to keep your mind off of things and offer tips on coping through it. While your significant other is away during deployment or training, keep in contact with them as often as possible and cherish every moment you have with them. During this time away from each other, you should work towards your own personal goals and also try to limit how much news you watch. It will make it easier on you, because every time you hear anything military-related, you’re automatically going to be extremely tuned in.
Build A Trusting Relationship
It’s very important that you both trust each other very much because while he is away, distrust will only hurt your relationship tremendously. It’s only natural that you both will feel some level of jealous and mistrust while you are apart, but the less of course the better. Communicate about everything possible and be completely honest with each other, but also understand that sometimes there will be things he cannot reveal that are work-related. Trust his decision about what not to talk about. Communicate at every opportunity you can to keep the relationship as strong as possible and cherish the time together when he returns.
Get Social with Other Wives
Take time out to meet the other people in your sweetie’s unit. Doing so will help you connect with other military wives and girlfriends who are going through the same things you’re going to through and this will help you find others who are more compassionate to your situation. Sometimes just having someone to listen to your worries and let you know it will be okay is all you need to better cope with the situation. If you are a military girlfriend, making friends with other military wives may help you learn more information while your honey is away.
Most often, the unit will tell things to the wives that they might not necessarily tell the girlfriends, and having a military wife friend helps because she can fill you in on the stuff you’ve missed. The unit will often have functions in which you can go to and meet the other men from the unit a well as their wives and girlfriends. Joining an online military forum or support group will also help. Ensure you browse around and find the right one for you. Different groups will have different personalities, so find the one that best suits your needs. Forums and groups can help answer your questions, listen to you when you need someone to talk to, and they definitely understand your situation better than anyone else does.
One great site to help you find a good support group or forum for your man’s unit is located at this address: Military SOS. This place provides a plethora of great information to help you find friends, support groups, advice on helping kids deal with military life, and much, much more. It’s great for spouses and significant others alike, no matter what your situation.
Learn Military Time
Get used to it. Your man will be referring to everything in military time, so get yourself acquainted with it and get comfortable with it. The less often he has to explain what time it is to you, the better. Also, get used to arriving early for everything. Military men are punished when they are late, so it will become like second nature to them to ensure they are early to everything. Prepare to be at least about 15 minutes early for everything.
For example, 3:00pm is no longer 3:00pm. Now it’s 1300 hours, just as 1:00am is now 0100 hours. Here’s a great chart located on this site that can help you help more accustomed to military time and how it’s used: http://www.militaryconnection.com/military-time.asp
Learn Military Acronyms
Every branch has its own set of acronyms and lingo, so learn it as soon as possible. When he tells you about something using an acronym, ask him to translate it so you can write it down and remember it next time. This will help, just as learning military time, because it will cut down on his time spent explaining it to you over and over and it will provide more time for you to focus on more intimate topics.
You might be more familiar with some of the acronyms used often on television, such as AWOL or MIA, but what about the others used a little less often? For example, do you know what it means when you’re beau says, “If I want to change my MOS, my CO said I need to take the APFT first,”? Translation: “If I want to change my military occupational specialty, my commanding officer said I need to take the Army Physical Fitness Test first.” Better brush up on some of those terms ASAP! Check out this site to look of some of the most commonly used ones: http://www.fas.org/news/reference/lexicon/acronym.htm.
Not only must you be patient while he away during deployment, but also when arriving on the base to visit him. Unless he is with you, it will take some time to get onto the base. They will often search your vehicle as well as insist you provide your license, registration, proof of insurance, and may even have to call your man to check your reason for being on the base. The line is often very long to acquire a visitor’s pass as well, so bring something to do while you wait.
Be supportive when you learn of your man’s deployment and don’t try to make him feel bad for fighting for his country. He has made a big decision to join, and deployments give him a chance to use what he has learned in training. You may be scared because you don’t know what he will be facing, but supporting him and rusting in his abilities will help him through this tough time as well. He will feel guilty enough that he is leaving you and his family behind, so be supportive and understanding so you can make it as easy as possible for him.