Guest Post by Lauren Oliver
My family has a military background. Both my mother’s parents served in WWII, my grandmother in the Women’s Air Corps, and my grandfather in the Army. My husband’s father is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the USAF and he served in the Vietnam War while his wife stayed home, on-base with their newborn son. What both couples have in common, even through the separation of years and a generation, is that they both were in military marriages.
They had to work to stay happy in a military marriage. Even through all the stress and worrying from my mother-in-law’s experience to the stress and responsibility that my grandparents undertook in the war, one thing is paramount: it requires understanding and compassion to make a military marriage work.
My grandparents were not married at the time that they both went to war. They dated for a long while, and they ended up deciding that it would be best to break things off until after the war if they both were able to come back to each other. But the devotion and love was still there, along with the worry and stress that comes with waiting to hear about your spouse or loved one.
My in-laws were married during my father-in-law’s deployment, and from my mother-in-law’s point of view, it was very stressful, very nerve-wracking, and ultimately, it takes a very strong will and a confidence in love that the average marriage does not count on, as they are not put to the test in this way. When I asked her for the top five tips she could give for other military marriages on how to make it work and make it a happy military marriage, she told me this:
- You have to be willing to take the bad with the good. You need to be prepared for anything and everything. And not take it with a grain of salt. Focus on the love that you have for each other, and have a plan for when he comes home. Enjoy every minute that you’re together, because if he sees regular combat, it may be your last.
- Be understanding…very understanding. If you cannot understand and be that rock for your spouse when you’re together, the threads will unravel and the marriage will not stand the test of time and battle.
- Be accepting. This is your spouse’s career, their life’s work. Ultimately, you need to be accepting of what they do and that sometimes they cannot discuss certain things at home. You need to be accepting of that and let some things be.
- Be supportive and loving. When your spouse comes home, offer family and alone time. Let them know how much they’re missed and appreciated. What your spouse is actually doing is supporting the family financially—a very extreme profession to be sure, but it is still family support.
- Be faithful to each other. Nothing is worse than sending your spouse or receiving from your spouse a “Dear John” or “Dear Jane” letter. When someone is in combat or on deployment, they need to know that they have a family and loved ones to come home to. This gives them purpose in ensuring their survival.
I hope these five tips to a happy military marriage can help you have a long and healthy military marriage. If you are serving in the military and are married, I would love to hear any tips that you can recommend. Just leave a comment to share your thoughts.
If you have any questions about keeping your military marriage happy, you can ask them here and we will do our best to provide an answer.
About the Author: Lauren Oliver is a stay at home mom currently working from home as a freelance writer. She is certified in Education with a background in education, writing, and tutoring to help students develop their educational skills. She comes from a military family and writes articles about education, military life, and personal development.