Today, I want to share a few tips about involving your spouse in your Army or military career. These are just some tips I learned during my 15 year career in the Army. Please keep in mind this advice is geared for both female and male Soldiers.
If you are married, or have a significant other, it really helps if you can get them on board and be supportive. In the Army, I’ve really noticed two types of spouses. The first type is very supportive of their other half. They understand the commitment and sacrifice it takes to serve and they rarely complain. They want their other half to be successful and they are their spouse’s biggest cheerleader.
On the other hand, the other type of spouse seems to be anti-military OR wants nothing to do with their spouse’s career. They are distant. They complain a lot. They never attend any events or go out of the way to do the little things to be supportive. In many cases, these relationships don’t last, especially if the other half plans on making a career out of the military.
From personal experience, I can tell you that having a supportive spouse is HUGE, especially if you want to make a career out of the Army. You need someone who loves you unconditionally, supports you and is willing to make personal sacrifices.
One of the best ways to get your spouse to be supportive is to look at things from their perspective. Find out what they like and dislike about you serving in the military and hear them out. Find out what they want in life and do your best to help them reach their goals and dreams. Show them that you care.
Another good thing to do is to introduce your spouse to other spouses. Find 2-3 of your peers who are married and introduce your spouse to their spouses. This will let them make new friends and connect with other people who are in a similar relationship.
Furthermore, get your spouse to participate in the Family Readiness Group. Have them attend the meetings a few times and get to know the other spouses and learn more about the Army.
You should also get your spouse to attend events with you, such as some ceremonies, dining ins, dining outs, galas and other events. In most cases, they will have a fun time at these events and meet other people.
It would also be a wise decision to share your goals and dreams with your spouse. Let them know why you want to serve in the Army and what it means to you. Explain to your spouse specifically what your goals are and let them know the big picture. Explain to them how they are part of that picture.
In addition, make sure your spouse feels appreciated. Let them know by telling them and showing them that you appreciate their support, commitment and sacrifice and that you need them. This goes a long way. Do the little things by spending time with them, helping them when you are home, sending them cards and gifts, etc.
If I had to boil it down to one word it would be “communication.” Communicate with your spouse often, share your feelings, hopes and dreams and talk through the issues.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are a male or female Soldier, it’s important to have a supportive spouse, especially if you plan on making a career out of the military. Following the advice listed above is a good starting point. Please keep in mind that your spouse has their own hopes and dreams too, so make sure you are supportive of them as well.
What are your thoughts? What do you do to involve your spouse in your military career? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.