Married to the Military: 20 Ways to Make It Work

What does it take to make a military marriage work? Between spending months apart, being uprooted every two years and dealing with his unique job pressures, life and love in the military can be exciting -- but also overwhelming. "There are times that you just hope for a phone call or an email from your loved one, and you are really scared," says iVillager kemamm on the Military Wives message board. "But if you care about him, all of the worry, separation and moving around is worth it -- really." Whether you're married to a military man or not, read the top 20 tips for successful military marriages -- you might be surprised at how well these ideas work for your relationship too!



Basic Training: How to Make the Most of Day-to-Day Challenges

Learn about the military
"Educating myself was a huge help. I read everything I could find on programs that pertained to my husband. He bought me a book about pilots, and what their lives are like. This all helped me to be more understanding when he couldn't call as often as we both hoped, or when we'd have to deal with last-minute travel changes." --cl-femmetita

Stay positive
"Being a military spouse is not easy, but staying as positive as possible can really help you through it." --cl-teresasue1970

Don't "rank" friends
"Hold your head high no matter what your husband's rank is. Each and every job is important. They depend on one another! When my husband and I move and meet new people, rank never ever comes into the picture. The friends we make are dear to us because of who they are in the inside, not what is on their shoulder or sleeve." --cl-bea_n_good

Be flexible!
"My favorite quote is, 'Always flexible. We have to be,' from Semper Gumby. As an example, I had chosen a wedding date and planned our ceremony, but it wasn't until three days beforehand that everything was a 'go.' That's when my husband called to say he was on his way home." --cl-jilljill311

Learn when to compromise
"While all relationships are difficult at times and compromises have to be made, women should not compromise beyond their limitations to make the relationship work. There is a line between compromises you have to make because your boyfriend or husband is in the military, and compromises you are asked to make because of unfair expectations he expresses about a relationship. A woman dating a military man [or married to a military man] should be strong enough in her character to recognize that line." --CL-Kris1119

Make new friends, but keep the old
"Don't turn your back on your old friends just because you have a new life. It will get harder to stay in touch, but the time you take to work at those friendships will pay off when you do get to go 'home.'" --ja1601

Deployment: Tips to Make Moving Easier

Get organized!
"When it's time to move, I always make a folder with information I've printed from the installation's Website. It's filled with emergency numbers, command numbers, information on utilities, the claims office phone number, the inbound shipment's phone number and more. Then, I throw in a couple of sheets of paper and a pencil. That way all the information we need is in one place." --melisca

Separate the needs from the wants
"Make a checklist of things you're going to want. Depending on how long your things will be in storage and where you're moving, you may want or need seasonal items." cl-jilljill311

Check the local news
"Find out if the newspaper from the area is online. You'll be able to look up apartments or houses to rent, as well as jobs if you want to work. Most times you can have it emailed daily." cl-jilljill311

Get references
"Ask your landlords for a written letter of recommendation. Keep the originals in your files, and make copies for potential future landlords. Be sure, also, to keep a list of their phone numbers, addresses and management company names for quick reference. You don't want to lose out on a great place because you don't have that information handy." cl-jilljill311

New Assignment: Survival Skills for Spending Time Apart

Gab with friends
"Don't wait by the phone for him to call! Call up friends, and do fun activities. This way you'll always have a story to tell when he comes home." --firsthalahblue

Document important events
"Some wives I know kept an online journal of their pregnancies, since their husbands weren't there to share the day-to-day experience. Each day they wrote about how they were feeling. If your husband won't have access to the Internet, you can send him a scrapbook each month with some photos of you." --lizzbert2000

Save (and savor) your conversations
"I save IM conversations with my [boyfriend in the military] by copying and pasting them. Rereading them helps me feel closer to him, and looking back at what he said reminds me how much he loves me." --lydiacordeilia

Meet other wives
"I joined a family support group for my fiance's ship. We meet once a month, talk about what's going on and even have socials. It really helps!" --missie_mouse

Be a patriot
"I try to remember that separation comes with most military jobs. It is not something they do to torture the families. It's simply part of the job, one that I admire my husband for having. I take a lot of pride in telling people that I am a military wife so that little reminder helps me stay positive." --hlilmom

Try something new
"Stay busy and the time will go by faster. You can do anything while your husband is gone: volunteer, work, make new friends, do activities with your children if you have them, or go to school yourself. You just have to be willing to go out and look for things to do. Most people are more than willing to help you out." --mquin73

Treat yourself
"While my husband is away I give myself spa treatments twice a week!" --cl-mommy_to_garrett

Rent a chick flick
"When else could I control the TV? Or watch all the movies that I know he won't like?" --mom2mna

Remember, you're not alone
"Thinking about other military families helps me. Somewhere, some poor woman has gone or is going through a trauma that is far worse than me being without my sweetie." --mpwife2001

Revel in alone time
"One good thing about him being sent away: I sleep wherever I want in the bed!" --vltns2001

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