Military Spouse — As military spouses we are no strangers to change. We move and move again, we raise our children together and alone, we juggle our finances, and handle deployments. We are wonder woman each and every day, and funny thing is that these are just the most obvious things that we handle on a regular basis.
In this crazy military life, change is common, and how we deal with it can make or break us. Change happens and developing the ability to change with it is the key to thriving in this world of ours.
So often when we are met with change we respond with resistance, and looked at it as a source of stress. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be that way. What if you could think about change in a whole new way? What if the next time your soldier walked in the door with some “news” instead of getting frustrated, you could find the silver lining? What if the idea of an upcoming change brought about excitement and inspiration instead of stress and resentment? It can be that way, and for many of us it is!
Change doesn’t have to be something to fear. Change can be something that gives us a fresh start, a new attitude and a brighter future. It’s the knowing how to “handle” it that makes all the difference. Over the years I have watched people who move through change with ease and have even been “one of them” a time or 2.
What I noticed was that those who transitioned easily did something that the rest of us didn’t. They changed with the change and they used the following steps. With these steps you can prepare and shift your mindset to bring new life into your reality and a smile to your face that will have you prepared for any situation that comes your way.
How to Thrive As A Military Spouse When Faced With So Many Changes!
Step 1: Recognize
The first action step to handling any type of change is to simply recognize that things will be different. This idea may seem trivial, but if you resist the fact that things are going to change you will never begin to take action. And action is what moves us forward. During any new situation, frustration and uncomfortable feelings will surface, and unless you let yourself acknowledge them and become aware of how you react to those feelings, you will be unable to move on to step 2: Deciding.
Step 2: Decide
The decision to change the circumstances in your daily life is not a simple one, especially when that change may not be something you desire. In order to move forward, you must commit to doing things differently, and this isn’t always easy. Deciding to develop a long term commitment to create new habits and actions is nothing to be taken lightly, but the rewards of doing so will move you closer to the life that you desire.
When you move to a new duty station you must decide how you will take action to make the adjustment, when a deployment rears its ugly head you must decide how you will fill your time and alter your routine. And then you take action based on those decisions.
Step 3: Assess and Uncover what isn’t working
As with any change, it is important to take a closer look at what is and isn’t working right now. Are the decisions you made when you first found out life was changing working or are they causing more stress? If you are unhappy, take the time to uncover what it really is that is causing it.
Are you afraid? If it’s finances – ask yourself what is the real concern; not enough cash to PCS & pay bills or is it that you feel as though need to do something as a family before he deploys and the finances are to tight to do so. Maybe it’s a personal relationship, parenting or other concerns, only you can uncover what isn’t working, and in doing so you will find what you want to change and what the best way to proceed is!
Step 4: Design
Knowing what you want out of any situation is a key step to meeting change with a positive attitude. If you are excited about what you are moving toward, you will be more likely to stay with the process of doing so. You have the power to design your experience any way you like. So take the time and design it in a way that works for you! PCSing? Choose to connect with positive happy people. Deployment? Create a new routine that works for everyone! By taking some time to think about what you want, you have the power to Design any situation to fit your needs and feed your spirit!
Step 5: Create habits
In order to make anything happen, you need to take action. And for any action to be forward moving, it must become a habit that you want and can do on a consistent basis. So often people think of all the “bad habits” that they have, instead I want you to think of all the good habits you have and add to them! How do you start your day? Does it work for you? If not take this time of change and try something new!
Step 6: Evaluate again!
The final step in any process of change is to take the time and evaluate whether your new habits are actually doing what they are meant to do. We have all had times where we are working hard, but getting no where, all because we were so focused on “working harder” rather than looking at what our work was moving us toward. If the new routine is stressing you out, change it!
If staying up til 2am just to chat with your deployed soldier for 2 minutes leaves you unable to sleep try working out a better way to communicate. By incorporating the “evaluate” step regularly into your life, you will be better able to adjust to the small changes which makes the big ones easier to handle!
Being a military spouse is an honor that comes with A LOT of change, and if you can begin to accept that change is an opportunity rather than a problem, your life will open up and all the miracles that are there for you will present themselves!
Being a military spouse overall is quite the difficult task. You’ve heard me say many a time that we are married single parents. However, with the recent flood of ‘woe is me’ type propaganda floating around, I felt is prudent to write this post. Being a military spouse is different from a civilian spouse and is often more difficult; however, there are some fabulous benefits that go along with being a milspouse!
You don’t have to worry about the rent!
The military provides a place for you to live. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not always the Hilton, but you get a roof over your head. When housing on post is full, you are provided a basic housing allowance (BAH) to find a place to live off-post. The only ‘downside’ to this, is that depending on the area assigned, your BAH may not completely cover the cost of your rent. However, it usually comes pretty darn close.
Bye-bye grocery store and helllloooo Commissary
I have seen so many military spouses bitch and moan about going to the commissary. Really?? Do you know how much our civilian counterparts are paying for food??
I went to my local grocery store (my nearest commissary is 77 miles away) to buy a pound of butter. It cost me $5! In the commissary, it’s about $3. I won’t even get started on the price of meats and things. What I’m saying is – you have to spend less on food, so there’s something to spend on you!
This is the best part for me! Yeah… You hear the ‘oh I had to leave my family and friends’… but what about living in Italy for 3 years, and your kids being bi-lingual by the time it’s all said and done. What about the opportunity to see and experience things your friends and family only get to read about in books and watch on TV. Not only that, you get to do it on the government’s dime. Do you know how much it costs just to go ‘hang out’ on vacation in one of these places??
If this doesn’t convince you, nothing else will. We have built-in health insurance. No, the military hospitals might not be near as efficient as a civilian hospital. Yeah, you might have to hurry up and wait, BUT… you know what you don’t get? A medical bill. There are instances where you end up paying for some things, but that’s only if you end up at a civilian facility and you didn’t check to see if they accept Tricare.
Do you know how much it costs to have a baby?
Do you know how much it costs to have surgery?
Me either! That’s why this is an awesome benefit!
It is popular to be patriotic. Many stores offer a military discount. I just bought a new set of furniture, and didn’t have to pay the tax. Many retailers offer a discount (usually around 10%) on their products and services. Is 10% a lot? No, but it’s better than the previous nothing being offered before. Don’t take these discounts for granted. Business owners don’t have to offer it to us. As for my family, we patronize businesses that offer military discounts. They support us, therefore we bring our business.
Oh yeah, check out theme parks as well. Many theme parks offer military discounts for admission – sometimes free. My family and I went to Sea World in Orlando for free. How many civilian spouses are living it up at Sea World at no cost?!
The military is currently offering educational reimbursement programs for military spouses. You can read about the educational benefits in the Ezine article ‘3 Tuition Assistance Programs for Military Spouses’. In contrast, most civilian spouses only get educational benefits offered when they’re spouse has been killed in the line of duty or just not at all. This is a HUGE opportunity for you to be able to continue your education even on the move!
Military posts often offer things to families at a huge discount – Such as, department store items, groceries, boat rentals, bowling centers, camping sites, libraries, auto care, and golf courses etc. These privileges are reserved for the military family, and not available to the general public. Yes, the general public has these opportunities; however, it is at a much higher cost.
Being a military spouse is a tough job, but it has its perks. I would encourage you to stop looking at the difficulties, and focus on the benefits that you have. Take advantage of all that’s being offered to you, and you won’t have time to be miserable.