Words of Advice for a New Military Spouse

 Sgt. Victor Arias, 725th Brigade Support Battalion transportation technician, and Sara, his wife, renew their wedding vows at the Soldier’s Chapel on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in 2011. (U.S. Air Force/Zachary Wolf)
Sgt. Victor Arias, 725th Brigade Support Battalion transportation technician, and Sara, his wife, renew their wedding vows at the Soldier’s Chapel on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in 2011. (U.S. Air Force/Zachary Wolf)

When my husband and I got married, no one gave me new military wife advice. And I had no idea what to expect (or what was expected of me) as a military spouse. I mean, there's no military spouse handbook you can go off of when you marry a military member, you know? Throughout my marriage, I've learned so much about what comes with the territory of being a milspouse.

I know that there are so many things that I still have to learn about being a milspouse, but that will come with time. In the meantime, let's talk about some things I wish someone would've given me advice on when I was a new military spouse.

New Military Spouse Advice

Make those connections. I never knew the importance of making connections with other milspouses, because no one ever told me. So, I'm here to tell you that this is probably the most important thing you will need to know as a milspouse.

The fact is, whether you like it or not, you will need the help of another milspouse in the future. Whether if it's for the source of information, someone to laugh with or a shoulder to cry on, your connection and friendship with other milspouses will help you throughout your whole milspouse journey.

Make sure to put an effort into building those connections with others, it will help you out in the long run.

Solo parenting can happen. I knew that parenting by myself was a possibility at some point in my milspouse journey, but I didn't know the amount of energy it really took out of a mom. Don't get me wrong, it can be done but it is a lot to get used to.

Just make sure to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the possibility of solo parenting.

Career on the backburner. Before I married my husband, I was working in the medical field for eight years and was going to school to further my education. I had a whole game plan of what my career would look like in the next couple of years. Until that game plan changed because the military moved us.

You'll find that you may have to put your career on hold because you love someone who loves their country, but that should not stop you from creating and conquering your goals.

Deployment is hard, very hard. It's inevitable: there's a chance that your spouse has to leave because of a deployment. I wish someone would've told me some things I could do to emotionally and mentally prepare myself for it. There are some things that have helped me survive a deployment:

  • Limit expectations on communication and being emotionally available from their end when they're deployed.
  • Don't be afraid to delegate and ask for help (or even hire help) when it comes to household chores.
  • It's ok to simplify meals. Take it easy when it comes to meals, especially if you're holding the fort down by yourself.
  • Support groups are always helpful, and so necessary. The best part if that support can be found with spouse groups on base or on Facebook.

Reveille, Retreat and Taps. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry, I didn't either. When you are on base, these are the songs that are played over the giant voice system. When each song is played, there is proper etiquette to follow:

  • Stop what you're doing and face the flag, or in the direction of the music.
  • If you're in a vehicle, stop in place or pull over and put your hazard lights on.
  • When the national anthem is played, place the right hand over your heart.

Sometimes your spouse won't be emotionally available. This was one that took me a while to adapt to. Depending on what responsibilities your spouse has for their job, they may be under a lot of pressure at work. From demanding hours to the amount of workload, they can easily become emotionally drained -- and sometimes it comes home with them.

Don't take it personally when they're not in the mood to talk or just want to zone out, it has nothing to do with you. I found that when you give them some space and empathize with them they are quick to recover from their day and jump back to being themselves again.

You will become versatile. The most positive trait that you'll inherit while being a military spouse is the ability to be versatile. You'll be placed in all sorts of different challenges and obstacles in your milspouse journey, and you will find a way to adapt (I promise). The military life is a whole other life of its own, so just get ready to grow and become the best version of yourself from the experience.

-- Catherine Edoria-Dela Cruz is a military spouse, stay-at-home mom and content creator for her blog Love always, Catherine. She loves sharing tips, advice and stories with friends, family and readers. She believes that life is about having meaningful relationships, creating and sharing stories, living simply and keeping close the things that only bring you joy.

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