Adjusting to military life is something of a challenge for the individual who joined, but when they have a spouse and even children it can be an even bigger adjustment. One of the biggest challenges for a married couple that was married before the military is simply moving from one place to another. Moving away from family and friends to a place where there is suddenly no family or friends can be difficult. The spouse, who is not in the military, is now at home with no friends or family close by. Loneliness is one factor that can break up a military marriage really quick. Not having anyone to talk to while his or her spouse is at work for long hours can be rough. This is bad for the spouse who is at home, but it is also stressful for the soldier as well. They go to work knowing that their spouse is at home and does not know a single soul around them. It makes the adjustment hard for them as well. Fear of being in a new place can also affect them since they do not know their surroundings that well or people in it.
The military’s requirements of their personnel for particular jobs can also cause stress for a married couple that are new to the military. There can be policies that have to be followed by the soldier, which can prevent them from coming home on time. Sometimes these policies are for good reason, and sometimes it is just to save the government some money. These policies vary, but it contributes to making it harder to adjust to military life as a married couple. The spouse who is at home wants their partner home on time, but this is something that does not always happen. Sometimes the reason for their spouse being late is not always to support the mission, and these are the issues that are even harder to get used to. Sometimes spouses can come home late because of a co-worker messing something up, or loosing a piece of equipment. These are just a couple of examples, but for someone who is not used to being responsible for everyone else, it proves to be trying for someone to be accustomed to it.
Another thing that can make it tough for married couples to get used to military married life is when the surroundings are unfamiliar. Learning their way around can be testing for someone who is not good with maps, directions, or just feels uncomfortable with driving around aimlessly until they find what they are looking for. Driving around aimlessly can be trying while trying to find a doctor’s office or something similar. Maybe accidently driving into a bad neighborhood can make them feel even more uncomfortable. The need to get there is important, and in a situation where someone is stressed and with his or her need a fight is imminent.
All of these things are factors that make it hard to adjust to military life as a married couple. Unexpected over time, co-workers messing up, canceled plans, loneliness, fear, frustration are all things that can play on a marriage. These are not all of the things, but a few of the important ones. Being in a new place with without friends or family is rough on anyone. Humans need socialization. Joining the spouse’s club on base is one way to meet other spouses who have been through the same thing, or are currently going through it. Attending family appreciation day is another way to meet the co-workers of your spouse as well as their spouses and children. Calling back home is a good way to stay in touch with family and friends there. Social media such as Facebook is another good way to keep up with friends from back home as well as family. Communication is key with any marriage. Communicating why over time is needed or what is going on at work is an important way to help a spouse understand what is going on. A soldier expressing their own disappointment to cancel plans can be an important thing for the spouse at waiting at home to hear. They do not want to feel like the only one who cares that the plans they were looking forward to burned to ash right in front of them. They want to know that their partner cares just as much as they do. This is all part of communicating. A suggestion for trying to find a specific location or type of location would be to look it up on the Internet first before leaving to find it. Paying attention to street names around the location will help with feeling more confident in knowing where you are. Making this adjustment is hard for both spouses. Learning to accept the things that you cannot change is one of the most important skills to living the military life.