This is a partnered post with Martinsburg College. All opinions are as always, 100% my own.
My husband and I met before he went to basic training after enlisting in the Air Force. We didn’t get married until after he was out. So while I knew him during his service years, I was never a military wife. I do however know many military wives and I have seen first hand that the idea that military marriages don’t last is not at all true.
The struggles of being in the military are very real. Some spouses deploy for a year or more overseas. That means they are not home at all. Imagine being the sole adult in a home, dealing with children, paying bills, and basically running everything while worrying about your spouse the entire time.
Past deployments come duty stations. This means that many military families move, often times from one side of the country to another, or even overseas. The kids change schools all the time. You are constantly moving and looking for a new home. You leave behind family or even very special friends and go somewhere where you have to start all over.
I talked to some friends who are married to enlisted military and have faced the challenges of deployments and constant moves. They had some great insight into what makes their marriages work.
Make the most out of everywhere you are. You may be very unhappy with your location but your spouse is probably even more so. Focus on family time and remember that friends come and go quickly and you may never be stationed with each other again. We’ve found just a few friends in each location and still communicate but not often. Our marriage needs to last forever and we want our children to find the best in every duty station. We try not to discuss what we don’t like so that we only see the positive.
Pray to find a church as soon as we move, that treats us like family, the right neighborhood and neighbors, the right schools and the right jobs. God has never failed us.
Get plugged in and involved right away. There are several ways to do this: join the Spouses Club, attend squadron socials, etc. This really helps when you first move to a new assignment. I have found lifelong friends doing this and it makes any assignment so much better.
When dealing with a deployment, try and find something to throw all your energy into. I have used this time to go back to school and further my education.
Martinsburg College can help with the goal of going back to school. Martinsburg college has been providing online distance learning programs for military students, veterans, active-duty service members, and military spouses since 2004. They understand the demands of military service and have created flexible policies that allow you to succeed. Martinsburg also accepts MyCAA benefits making their program free for spouses of rank E-5 or lower. Where else can a spouse go to college for free?
One of my favorite parts about Martinsburg College is that they award credits for military training and experiences. This is a big plus. I know recently when my husband went back to school, even though he was a teacher in the Air Force, he couldn’t even get credit for a public speaking class. Military training, awards, and experiences have no bearing in a traditional college setting.
Martinsburg College also offers every graduate a Post-Graduation Plan. This plan provides specific, step-by-step instructions for preparing a military to civilian resume and translating military experience into civilian workplace needs. I call that an invaluable resource. The degrees and certificates you receive from Martinsburg are going to be for “portable” jobs which means they’re jobs you can find anywhere you move like. So no matter where the military takes you, you are sure to have a job.
Be sure to head over to the Military Spouses in the Field Facebook Page for more support with any career decisions.