Military life is one of those things that will take all the life plans you jotted on a piece of paper, crumple them up and throw them in the shredder.
Military spouses and significant others, you might feel a little discouraged hearing this. I certainly did at first too. Growing up in the Midwest, I never envisioned leaving my home state, let alone following a military guy around the world.
Obviously, I got over all my 21-year-old-this-is-how-the-world-is-going-to-be notions and kissed my life in the Midwest goodbye in exchange for the adventure of a lifetime. Because it turns out military life isn’t so bad after all. Your life as a military spouse will turn out far different than you imagine, but thankfully, different need not equal bad.
Our family gets to travel to all sorts of cool places, live there for a little while and then move on to a new place. We have access to a stable income and reasonable health care during a time when many other Americans do not. We’ve met some of the coolest people and made lifelong friends because of military life. And of course, we’ve learned to become more independent, resilient, creative and wise than we believed was possible.
There are countless ways military life changes you for the better. But if you have your heart set on being miserable, there is a high probability you will fulfill that prophecy. I’ll save you the challenge of discovering all this on your own. Here’s how.
How to stay miserable in military life.
Set your heart on things happening exactly as planned.
Expect your service member to be around for all special occasions and holidays.
Refuse to reinvent yourself or try new things.
Avoid making new friends and reaching out to your community.
Allow the military to define who you are as a person.
Allow the decisions made by the military to dictate your happiness.
Snub the motto: Embrace Adventure
Don’t utilize any of the amazing resources available for military families.
Regularly say, “Back in my hometown we did it this way…”
Somehow believe that the grass is greener on the other side.
Lack independence, resilience, gratitude, team work, honesty, and communication skills.
Allow separations to create irreparable rifts in your marriage.
Believe you are entitled to anything in life outside of what is spelled out for you in The Constitution of the United States
Make poor choices while your service member is away that will sabotage trust.
Focus on materialism and having the perfect home, car and wardrobe.
Believe you aren’t capable of managing a household, finances, or life changes without your service member by your side.
Define your career success as only completing one specific job at one specific company.
Make zero effort to maintain faraway relationships with friends and family.
Spend your days dreaming about what your life would be like “if only your service member weren’t in the military.”
Being a military wife is hard. Really, it is hard. I’ve had my share of pity parties over life not going the way I wanted, but you know what? As military spouses and significant others, we have to choose happiness through all the unique challenges of military life. We are so lucky and blessed to live such a privileged life. To travel the world. To challenge ourselves to become better. To meet all. the. people. To say your life is filled with adventure. To live amongst the bravest men and women our country knows.
There is beauty in the military life mess.
And on this Memorial Day weekend, I can’t help but think of all the service members who are no longer here. The service members who embraced this life. The service members who made the ultimate sacrifice and died for it.
We owe it to them to find happiness in military life. To embrace it. To tackle it head on. To view it as an honor and a privilege. To discover gratitude. To find a way to make it work. To see perspective.
Our nation’s bravest heroes deserve it. If you discover happiness in military life for no other reason, do it for them: our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
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Want more in military life?
- 18 Ways Military Life Changes You for the Better
- 31 Best Military Wife Quotes for Encouragment
- The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Military Spouses
- 9 Relationship Truths Only a Modern Military Spouse Would Understand
- What You Miss Most During a Deployment
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MSB New Media & Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.
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