When I was in my early twenties enjoying college life back in the Midwest, I would’ve laughed in your face if you told me I would be living in Japan as a stay-at-home mom living a military life. I had big dreams of scaling my nursing career ladder, breaking the glass ceiling, and being a strong independent woman like nobody’s business.
After I met my husband though, I saw my life going in a different direction. I saw myself moving to be with him and sharing a life together. I saw myself changing my career goals, making them flexible and adaptable to a new life and situation. It’s funny how life works out that way though. The planned direction of your life can take a sharp right turn when you least expect it.
So, when you reflect on your past choices leading you to the current place in your journey, you may find yourself realizing how military life was one of the best things that ever happened. That you don’t just leave your dreams in the distance for a man or a woman, but rather, you carry them with you wherever you go.
Today, military spouses stationed throughout the world are sharing a few undeniable ways military life can change you for the better…
You become independent.
“Learning to manage and run a household while your spouse is away—that is the heart of military life. You learn how to make tough decisions, manage hefty responsibilities and keep a positive attitude through all of it. There are so many things you learn to do without your spouse by your side, not because you want to, but because those are the common circumstances that military life creates. You learn to hold it together despite challenges.” — Lauren, The Military Wife and Mom
“It has made me more independent. I have had to do things I never thought I would ever have to do.” — Julie, Soldier’s Wife Crazy Life
“I’ve learned to be content in all circumstances. Flexibility! And realizing I don’t have to apologize for who I am or my priorities” — Jennifer, Royal Little Lambs
“It’s made me learn to be independent & realize I am capable of being in charge, & that change can be a welcoming thing for the better. I relied on my hubby so much when we were dating but he deployed soon after we were married & I went through so much personal change, as did our relationship. Between that & being a mom alone with the kids when he’s gone for training, I’d say I’ve undergone some big changes these last 10 years.” —Lauren
You gain perspective.
“Military life has taught me to turn everything into an opportunity no matter where it was on your preference “list”. Without this I would never be where I am today, because on my own, I would never have chosen any of these paths!” — Elizabeth, The Reluctant Landlord
“Military life has given me a new outlook on the importance of patience. I thought that I was a fairly patient person before I became a military spouse, but the changes you go through with PCS, deployments, and all the other miscellaneous stuff really start to test your patience. The best way for me to keep my patience was to remember that everything he is doing is for us; and that it will all be worth it in the end.” — Megan, Adventures of Noble and Pond
“I never planned on moving out of Florida, I never planned on marrying a military guy, and I was afraid of change. Now, home is when I’m with him, and I started my blog “Perception Is Everything” to remind myself that no matter what this military life throws at us…Open minds and hearts allow for a lifetime of adventures” — Jana
“You learn to treasure the small moments… And you don’t take those evenings for granted when your beloved’s boots come walking in the door after work…” —Ginger, Just One of the Boys
You grow lifelong friendships.
“Military life has given me the most unexpected gift; the gift of friendship. The kind of friendships where you are the village; you raise your kids together, you share meals, memories and fears. You are there for each other when spouses deploy and when family can’t step in. It’s the most amazing gift I never expected to find.” — Kristine, USMC Life
“Military life has taught me to be adaptable, flexible, and independent. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the past six years. And nothing has challenged me more than moving to Korea!” — Chantal
“Military life made this introvert learn to engage quickly with other people and with life. I learned to very quickly take advantage of what is in an area because we have a short time. I used to laugh how often I introduced civilians who’d lived their whole lives in an area to things in their hometown that they didn’t know about. They were in ruts…I was out exploring (and especially before GPS) getting lost and making discoveries.” — Kathie
You learn to appreciate the small stuff.
“Military life has taught me so much so far. One of the big things it’s taught me is to appreciate the little things and to think more positively. I try to make the most of every moment I have with him. I enjoy our time together rather than thinking about the time we’ll have apart.” — Keating
“Military life has taught me that starting over isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Our life has changed for the better, and it’s been an amazing adventure. We’ve seen and done things we probably would not have ever done being a military family.” — Candy, Candypolooza
“Before we were a military family, we were evicted from our apartment and struggling to be able to take care of our children. Now we have a place to live, and we’re able to provide a good life for our children. We are so thankful for the way our lives have changed over the last 6 years.” — Brittany
“My experience with the Military has given me a greater appreciation for the smaller things in life, and has given me the wisdom to understand what that really means.” — Lindsay, Love Homespun
You embrace change.
“I’ve achieved two of my life goals: to teach in higher education and to write professionally. I would never have done either had I not had not been unemployed. (Thanks, PCS!)” — Joanna, Jo My Gosh
“I would say that military life helped me learn not to fear change and to look at it as the start of a process rather than a single event!” — Judy, The Direction Diva
“Military life caused me to find my lowest of lows, but also because of military life I have reached my highest of highs; and the view never looked so good” — Elizabeth
You find inner-strength.
“Military life has above all taught me to be me. I can’t expect my husband to be everything for me, and that lesson early was exactly what I needed spiritually and individually. I am who I am, and I can be on my own and I find my comfort and strength in my faith and not another person. I make my own supports. I find my own solutions and walk my own path and all of that makes my marriage even better because I don’t need him, I want him. We are a team and a partnership and I love that I was never given the chance to try and force him to complete me, instead we can be whole all on our own and still be best friends who are completely and madly in love after 16 years and counting.” — Kim, She is Fierce
“Military life has made me tougher and more resilient. I do what I have to do for my marriage, my family, and my career.” — JD, Semi-delicate Balance
Wrapping it up.
So while military life is hard or challenging sometimes, there truly are countless ways the experience can change you for the better. There are often times when I look out my balcony here in Japan and wonder how in the world I got so lucky to travel this journey. We are all so blessed to live this military life.
Want more on military life?
- When Parenting Alone Gets Lonely in Military Life
- Military Moves Overseas: 7 Major Mistakes to Avoid
- 43 Awesome Tips Every New Military Wife Needs to Know
- I’m Terrible at Being a Military Spouse
How has military life changed you for the better? Let’s chat in the comments!