When my fiance left for basic training, the days afterward were incredibly hard. But as I learned how to cope and take better care of myself, I realized that the hardest part wasn’t him being gone, the hardest part was learning how to support my service member through basic.
I knew that his physical, as well as his mental strength, would be tested beyond anything he had gone through before and I knew it would take lots of encouragement from me to help keep him focused.
How to Support Your Service Member at Basic
Focusing my efforts on him helped both of us get through those weeks of training and I truly believe it made our relationship stronger. Whether you are a military girlfriend or a military wife, here are just a few of my tips for supporting your significant other during this time.
What He Needs From You.
In order for your military member to remain strong, he needs you to remain strong as a military spouse. In the beginning, I spent most of our short phone calls together crying. I was very emotional during this time, and looking back I wish I had been stronger.
But as time went by, I realized that the phone calls were precious and I tried my hardest to wait until after he hung up the phone to cry. In this situation, fake it til’ you make it, just made sense!
Instead, I started to make the most of our time together. In between phone calls, I started a list of things I needed to ask him or talk to him about so I wouldn’t forget later on.
I made sure to remain positive on the phone and in my letters to him and I made sure he knew that no matter what happened, I would love him and I would be there for him. While our military men talk tough, they need that reassurance as much as we do! Reminding him of my love and support helped my fiance to feel safe and loved.
As the weeks went by he was able to tell me more and more about what was going at basic. This helped me know what to say and how to encourage him.There was one week he told me they were going out in the field for training for a week.
This particular week was known as the “make it or break it” week and I was scared he wouldn’t make it through. After what seemed to be many agonizing days, I received the phone call from him that he had made it. He was almost done with basic!
Why Letters Are So Important.
In basic, if one person messes up, they mess it up for everyone. Privileges like phone time can be taken away and even though your SO didn’t do anything wrong, it still affects him and you!
While phone time is a precious commodity at basic, letter writing is important because it will allow you tell him everything you want him to know and everything you may not have time to say on the phone.
While phone time may be out of your SO’s control, sending letters is not! Once you get that address, you can send as many letters as you would like. I wrote one letter every single day. I would tell my fiance about my thoughts, the good and the bad about my day, how the wedding planning was going, what his family wanted him to know, and more.
My advice is to not overthink the letter writing too much! If you’re still not sure where to get started, here are 20 letter writing prompts to get you started.
- What I’m Not Taking for Granted During This Time.
- I Can’t Wait to _X_ When I see You Again.
- Your Family Wants You to Know _X_.
- Everything I Love About You.
- Everything I Miss About You.
- _X_ Quotes to Encourage You.
- _X_ Bible Verses to Encourage You.
- Everything I’ve Been Doing While You are Gone.
- Why I’m so Proud of You.
- My Promise to You.
- I Think of You Everytime I _X_.
- These are My Dreams for Our Future.
- How My Life Changed When I Met You.
- _X_ Things You May Not Know About me.
- Remember When we Did _X_?
- _X_ Things We Can Do When You Get Back.
- If I Were There, Here’s What I Would Tell You.
- If Our Lives Were a Movie, Here’s How it Would Go.
- _X_ Songs That Remind me Of You.
- How I Plan to Support You During Your Military Career.
How to Keep Your Relationship Alive and Strong.
Being in a long-distance relationship is hard work! It takes a lot of patience and a lot of understanding to make it through. When thinking about your relationship and where it’s going during this time, try to put yourself in your significant other’s shoes. They are away from family, friends and in new and unfamiliar surroundings.
They are probably exhausted and grumpy. They may even say things they don’t mean. During this time, here are some things you can do to keep your relationship strong.
- Effectively communicate your needs; ask them to communicate theirs. Your significant other can’t read your mind and you can’t read his. Plainly telling him what you need from him or why you are upset or having a hard time will allow him to help you and it will build trust within your relationship.
- Work on your relationship independently. Because of the distance and because of the situation your significant other is currently in, you may have to work on the relationship independently. This means taking care of your mind, body, and emotions so that you can be strong in your relationship.
- Consider the expectations you both may have. It’s human to have expectations. We have expectations for our week, for the way we want to be treated, and for our relationships. Because men and women are so different we have to consider what expectations each of us may have. Clearly stating your expectations whether it’s in a letter or during a phone call, will help you both work together and more effectively grow your relationship.
- Be the Bigger Person. Sometimes in a relationship, you have to be the bigger person, and that is no different in a military relationship! During basic, you are going to have to be the bigger person. You need to be willing to say, “I’m sorry” if needed and you need to be willing to forgive. This will help both of you to come together as a team during this time, and let you both move forward in your relationship.
Supporting your significant other through basic will be hard, but it’s great practice for helping him get through the rest of his career as a military member. While this time will be hard, there are also so many rewards. Looking back over the past eight years of my husband’s military service, I am so glad I stuck with it. Military life has helped me grow in ways I never imagined and without this experience, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Kathryn Sneed is Christian military wife and stay-at-home mom to her two special needs kiddos. She has a passion for God, family, the military and helping others through her blog and services. Connect with her on Facebook or Pinterest.
Want more on military life?
- Why Deployment Meltdowns Are Actually a Good Thing
- Your Service Member is at Basic, Now What?
- The Surprising Thing You’ll Miss Most During Deployment
- I’m Terrible at Being a Military Spouse