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military spouse

Military

Five Things Military Spouses Should Never Stop Doing

April 27, 2017

Military spouses are forced to stop doing a lot of things. Between moving frequently and the unpredictability of military life, they sometimes have to stop everything from living near their family to pursuing their career goals, even if it’s just temporary. Heck, we’re even forced to stop sleeping next to our spouses at least occasionally! But I believe so strongly that there are some things military spouses should never stop doing!

Military spouses should never stop…

Exploring.

The military takes you a lot of strange and random places, sometimes for years or just for a day. Military spouses should explore them all, everything from the tourist traps to the local restaurants. Take drives to the lake, plan day trips for long weekends, visit museums and eat all the local food you can get your hands on. You may only be somewhere for a limited amount of time and it may not be your absolute favorite, but keep looking for the best parts.

Pushing.

So much of a military spouse’s attention is focused on the person’s career, which makes sense. No one calls my husband a “communications spouse”; being a military spouse defines our lives in ways other career choices don’t.  But that doesn’t mean that we should stop pushing to have our own identity separate from our husband or wife’s career. Military spouses should never stop pushing towards their own career, education or life goals. Sometimes we’ll have to work a bit harder than our civilian counterparts or tackle the goal a different way, but we can still make them happen.

Loving.

Being a military spouse requires a whole lot of love; we have to love from thousands of miles away and sometimes enough for two people! And while we should never stop loving our spouse, this one is aimed at all those other people who come in and out of your life. Even though we say a lot of hard goodbyes or “see you laters”, we can’t build walls or close our heart to loving other people. So keep loving your friend even though she’s leaving soon and it would be easier to find a new friend. Keep loving your current neighbor even though you’ll kind of be happy when they PCS and stop leaving their stuff all over your driveway. Keep loving the people in your life!

Learning.

I would apply this one to everyone, military or civilians, because there is so much to learn in the world. But for military spouses, we are often given the opportunity to learn from and about so many different people, places and cultures that it’s imperative we never stop learning.

Living.

You’ve likely seen the bumper sticker that says “live like he deploys tomorrow” and while I’m not sure I agree with the drama that implies, I do like the message behind it. Perhaps no one is more painfully aware of just how short life can be than military spouses. So I encourage you to stop waiting to do or experience things. Don’t put something off until the next deployment is over. Don’t wait to say “I love you” until the next phone call.  And don’t let your life come to a screeching halt because your spouse is gone.

What would you add to my list of things military spouses should never stop doing?

Military

Qualities Military Spouses Need

April 24, 2017
Qualities Military Spouses Need

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: before I met A, I never ever pictured myself joining the ranks of military spouses. In fact, I was pretty dead set against it because I didn’t think I “had what it took”. Four-plus years later, I can say that very few people have everything they need to rock military spouse life before becoming one, but there are some must-have qualities for military spouses to be successful.

Military Spouses Need To Be…

…organized.

While our spouses are meticulous at work, things tend to be very different at home. Military spouses have to be organized because things would literally fall apart if we weren’t. Try handling a PCS while your spouse is TDY or keeping track of everything during a deployment without checklists or an organizational system, I dare you.

…bold.

You’ll often read that military spouses need to be independent, but I prefer the word bold because it implies an inherent risk taker. And no, I don’t mean all military spouses need to jump out of planes or take up rock climbing. What I mean is that military spouses need to face everything thrown at them head-on without getting knocked off course. They need to pursue their own dreams while moving every few years. They need to hold their family together even when members are gone for months at a time. They need to be bold.

…calm.

The military throws a lot of curveballs: moves, deployments, random trainings and so on. With all of that unknown, it would be really easy to be a walking bundle of nerves. But military spouses need to be calm in the face of the unknown. We can’t get all worked up at every change of plans or every time our future seemed a bit uncertain, especially when we need to keep little ones calm as well.

…memory keepers.

One of the great things about the military is the many opportunities it gives you to see new places and make new memories. But someone has to keep track of all those moments, especially if not all members of the family are there for them. More often than not, that falls to military spouses. We need to record first steps, vacations, proms and everything in between.

…themselves.

More than anything else, military spouses need to be themselves. Our community is better off having the diversity each of us brings to the table.

To celebrate must-have military spouse qualities, I’ve put together a little Military Spouse Survival Kit that I’m giving away! But anyone can enter below for their chance to win the prettiest notebook, a hyacinth-scented candle, bright pink nail polish and (my personal favorite) a five-year memory book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marriage Military

Relationship Habituation: What It Means And How To Make It Work For You

April 13, 2017
Relationship Habituation: What it is and how to make it work for you!

How often have you heard the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Military spouses hear it a lot, especially from civilian friends and family members who are legitimately trying to soften the blow of frequent and prolonged separations. Maybe it’s because we hear it so often or because it’s often said during the toughest moments of a deployment, but odds are we roll our eyes and brush it off as meaningless. But I actually don’t think it is; there may be something to relationship habituation. I know, I know. But hear me out on this one.

You see there actually is some scientific evidence that may back up the concept. The basic idea is that if you’re constantly exposed to something, you’ll get used to it and it won’t have as big of an impact on you as it did originally. This can apply to everything from a fancy meal to a new phone to that expensive sweater you just had to have, but doesn’t seem as great the 5th time you wear it. This is called habituation and is something that military spouses don’t seem to get a lot of.

Think about it. Between regular workdays, training, TDYs and deployments, military couples barely have time to get used to a joint schedule, let alone become immune to each other. It’s why homecomings have the rosy glow of a first date and the butterflies to go with it. On the bright side, you get to live like newlyweds longer and maybe find yourself loving your spouse more after a long separation. They have a stronger effect on you.

Unfortunately, this same concept may also be why couples may learn down the road that they aren’t as well suited for each other as they thought, especially now that they have to spend more of their time together. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can make relationship habituation work in your favor throughout your relationship, even if you never go through a deployment.

Spend time apart, even when he or she is home.

I’m not saying spend months at your summer home alone (invite me!), but rather explore your own hobbies/activities. A few hours or even a day here or there spent apart may recharge your relationship habituation batteries and give you plenty of new things to talk about.

Openly and respectfully discuss the things that irritate you about your loved one.

In my experience, it’s the smallest irritants that cause the biggest fights and the most resentment, largely because someone has kept them on lock down for eight years and suddenly lets it all come pouring out because they cannot stand one more pair of dirty socks on the floor. So nip it in the bud and discuss it early on before you’re boiling with rage at the mere thought of cotton footwear.

Regularly look for new reasons to love your spouse.

Part of the fun of a new relationship is that you discover new awesome things about your significant other on a regular basis, sometimes even daily. The same concept applies if your loved one has been gone for an extended period of time: you rediscover how good they smell or that cute way they crinkle their nose when they laugh. So look for ways to get that same warm and fuzzy feeling even if you’ve spent every day together for a year straight or 10 years straight.

Do new things outside of your collective comfort zone together.  

In new relationships, you’re constantly doing stuff together for the first time, learning about each other and bonding as you go. But as time goes on, couples often stop exploring together, instead settling into a routine of Netflix and chill. But I think it’s so important to continuously do new things together! You can try a unique date night idea or visit a new place or even just eat a new restaurant. Create new memories together. And who knows? Maybe you’ll see a whole new side of your spouse when you take them salsa dancing for the first time.

Relationship habituation isn’t necessarily something military spouses are super familiar with, at least not during their spouse’s military career. And in a way, we’re lucky because of that. But as time goes on, we may find that all the time together is a bit too much time together. How do you make relationship habituation work for you instead of against you?

Military

Military Spouse Profile: Tiffany From Seeing Sunshine

April 3, 2017

There are so many amazing military spouses out there kicking butt on a daily basis that deserve to be recognized and I’m excited to feature one of them each month with my Military Spouse Profile series. If you’re interested in sharing your story (or know someone who might), please send me an email!

Introduce yourself to my readers! Tell us a little bit about who you are.

My name is Tiffany. I’ve been a military spouse for almost four years now. My husband is a military police officer in the Army. We are currently stationed at Fort Campbell, and we really love it here. I work as a blogger and virtual assistant. I blog about faith, marriage, and military life. I’ve also been writing a lot about pregnancy because we are expecting our first child soon. (Note: Tiffany and her husband welcomed their sweet little girl Raylee just a few weeks ago!)

What inspired you to start blogging?

I began blogging in college just for fun. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and actually I have a degree in journalism. In 2012, I started my own self-hosted blog – Seeing Sunshine – with the hopes of encouraging others, specifically singles. The funny thing is, though, I wasn’t single for long and ended up getting married the next year. That’s when the purpose of my blog shifted a little, but I still focus on trying to encourage and uplift others.

What’s the main message you hope your blog shares with your readers?

Seeing Sunshine got its name because I started it during a somewhat dark time in my life. I wanted to remind myself to see the sunshine. I wanted to remind others to look for the positives and watch for God’s blessings. That is still my main goal for my little corner of the internet.

What is your favorite part of being a military spouse?

My favorite part of being a military spouse is definitely the opportunities we have been given to travel and explore new places. We have had the money to go on a vacation almost every year, not to mention being able to explore so many different parts of the country (or world) thanks to being stationed at different places. Traveling is something we both really enjoy.

Tell us a little bit about your journey as a military spouse-the ups and downs, lessons learned, etc.

When I married my husband, he was already stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, so I moved there to be with him. It was my first time being away from family, and I had no clue what military life would be like. I found it difficult to make friends, but my husband and I were too busy being in that “honeymoon” stage and exploring the area for me to feel too lonely.

Next, Travis, my husband, was stationed in Korea for one year. Because I hadn’t made many friends in Georgia, I moved back home to Indiana to live near family. I was able to visit my husband in Korea for two months – once in the spring and once in the fall. However, that was the hardest year for our marriage. Honestly, God worked a miracle and saved our marriage that year!

We went to Missouri next while Travis was in the Captain’s Career Course. I really enjoyed our six months there. Now, we are living in Tennessee. It’s crazy what a difference my experience as a military wife is comparing now to that first year. I have many friends here and feel much more involved. I’m a lot more comfortable in this role of Army wife.

What’s the number one piece of advice you would give a new military spouse?

It’s all about your attitude. Military life can be extremely frustrating. There have been so many times I’ve hated the Army, been disappointed with orders, or had to change plans … again. It’s very hard not having control over certain aspects of your life. But it all comes down to your attitude and perspective. If we choose to let those things get to us, we will be miserable. But if we choose to “hunt the good stuff” or “see the sunshine,” we can have a military life full of opportunities and adventures.

What or who has been the biggest help or source of support to you in your role as a military spouse?

Right now, I’m involved in a military wife Bible study called The Lantern. It’s the first time I’ve felt truly understood and supported as a Christian military wife. I love those ladies and our time together each week.

Do you have a favorite place the military has taken you? What is it and why?

While Travis was stationed in Korea, they sent him TDY to Hawaii for some classes. It just so happened to land on one of the weeks I was visiting him. Of course, there was no way I was letting him go to Hawaii without me. Hawaii has always been on my bucket list. We were able to go together. I explored the island while he was in class, and each evening I’d pick him up so we could go explore together. It was really fun, and just so exciting to finally get to be in Hawaii.

Just for fun:

  • Favorite Netflix binge-worthy watch? I went through a Lost phase one time, and binge-watched all the seasons. It was so suspenseful and mysterious! By the end, though, it got pretty lame.
  • What’s your favorite hobby? I love going to the beach or laying poolside with a good book. Does that count as a hobby?
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. Dark chocolate.
  • Tell us a random fact about yourself. I’ve never had a hamburger from a fast food place.

A huge thank you to Tiffany for sharing her story with us today.  I’ve followed Tiffany for quite some time now and am always inspired and encouraged by her upbeat attitude, no matter what life throws her way. Make sure to check Tiffany out on her blog, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

Blog

Military Spouse Blogs You Should Read

March 27, 2017
Military Spouse Blogs You Should Read

My favorite part of Mondays definitely has to be checking out my favorite blogs for new content. I follow some fantastic military spouse blogs that always have new, unique posts. If you aren’t already following these fantastic ladies, definitely check them out regularly!

Military Spouse Blogs You Should Read

Marathons and Dog Tags: I’ve told y’all before how fantastic Jen is and that still stands! She runs marathons, has a wiener dog and the most positive attitude you’ll find. Also her little girl is the most perfect cutie patootie that ever existed. She’s guest posted here before and I highly recommend you visit her blog and follow her on Instagram.

The Martins and the Marines: What’s better than a military spouse blog? A military spouse blog featuring three of the cutest little redheads ever. Kourtney’s husband is a Marine stationed in North Carolina and I love reading all about their adventures, plus she’s an amazing photographer so her blog is visually stunning. Check out her super adorable gender prediction shoot.

SpouseBUZZ: I love SpouseBUZZ because it’s got so much fantastic content! Their team of writers does a great job covering anything and everything military-related.  It’s a great place to go for social media content or even your own post ideas.

The Adventures of a Young Wife: You’re going to officially meet Grace on the blog next month, but I had to include her in the list because I flat out adore her blog. She’s an Army wife as well as a marriage and family counselor so she’s a great resource for keeping your military relationship strong. Definitely check her out…we won’t hold it against her that she’s a Gamecock.

I love all four of these military spouse blogs and totally recommend checking them out as soon as you can! What’s your favorite blog to recommend?

P.S. It was a bit quiet here last week because A and I were off adventuring through the Pacific Northwest. We had the absolute best time so stay tuned for lots of details about trip. Tomorrow? Way too many photos of Seattle.