9 Things That Can Hurt a Military Marriage
This August my husband and I will be celebrating our 15th anniversary. In some ways, it seems like we just walked down the aisle. But when I look at my wedding photos, I can see that many years have gone by since that day. For one thing, we look so young. I was 23; he was 26. My niece, our little flower girl, is now graduating from high school and all of our photos were done on film, years before the digital age started.
I have learned a lot about marriage the last 15 years. I have also learned about what it means to be in a military marriage, about how to stay strong through deployments, about how to be the best wife I can be despite all the challenges that get thrown at us.
Check out The Blessing of a Military Marriage
The truth is, there are things that can help a military marriage and things that will hurt a military marriage. Whether you just walked down the aisle or did so a while ago, here are nine things that can hurt a military marriage that you should be aware of.
1. Not communicating
Married couples should be talking to one another, but sometimes that is hard to do. Everyday life can get in the way; deployments can get in the way, the stress of everything can get in the way. Try to keep the lines of communication open.
If you can’t talk in person, write letters, email or plan to speak on the phone. Check in with one another and try to make plans to hang out, even if you feel like two ships passing in the night.
Cheating can tear your marriage apart. Whether it is physical or not. Make sure you can protect your marriage. Make smart choices, especially when your spouse is away. Be the type of spouse that they can trust and not have to worry about when you are away from one another.
Set boundaries with other people. This will, of course, depend on your marriage but make sure you are on the same page. Some couples are okay with more social time with the opposite sex; others are not. Make sure you talk about expectations and what is normal for your marriage.
So many couples fight about money. When two people, who were raised differently, come together and create their family, there are going to be tensions about money. If one of you was raised with a spending mindset and the other with a saving mentality there is going to be friction when it comes to your budgets.
Make sure to spend time talking about your expectations, how much you should be spending, how much you should be saving, and figure out what your long-term goals are. Don’t hide money from each other and be honest about your spending.
Having children will add stress to your marriage. They will take up a lot of your time, and their needs will come first. Try to keep the perspective and still make time for your spouse.
Have date nights, even if that means making a nice dinner after the kids go to bed and curling up on your couch to watch a Netflix movie. Talk about your parenting strategies. There are so many different ways to be a parent and arguments can come up when you are not on the same page about how to raise your children.
Deployments can complicate this as one parent can leave when a child is just a few months old and come home to a toddler. The parent who was at home has a system, and a plan and the deployed parent has to figure out how to be involved again.
5. Being cruel
Don’t be cruel to your spouse. That is not going to take you down the right path. Be loving and patient with them. Don’t seek ways to hurt them and apologize when you do.
You know how they say never go to bed angry? That is pretty much true. Try your best to work things out in a kind matter and don’t be cruel and mean to each other. Not only is this destructive to your marriage, but kids can pick up on it too.
6. Acting immature
Being married means, you need to stop acting childish. Even if you married young. You are adults now, and you need to act like it.
Don’t try to live off of other people, work hard, and make the best of what you have. You will not be able to afford a brand new home right away, that might take years to get to a place where you can afford that. Be patient and know that over time things will change and you won’t always have to use a footlocker for your coffee table.
7. Taking bad advice
There is good advice and bad advice. Look to the people you trust and learn from them. Keep in mind that no one is in your marriage and no one can tell you exactly what to do. You can gain advice from others who have been there before and have wise words to say about whatever problem you are going through.
Be extra careful about family giving you advice. It could be very biased. If they never wanted you to get married in the first place, their advice might not help you in your current struggles. Find good friends that you trust to talk about your problems with.
8. Keeping things from your spouse
Don’t keep secrets from your spouse. Tell them what is going on and what they need to know. Of course, as military spouses, there will be times when we can’t talk to our husband or wife on a regular basis. Because of this, it can feel like we are keeping secrets.
If something is important, write it down and tell them later. When it comes to sharing things with them when they are overseas, think about their personality and ask them what they would want you to do. Some people do want to hear everything and others can’t handle that.
9. Assuming the grass will always be greener
If you have been married a while, there will be things that start to annoy you about your spouse. Of course, this is going to happen, you are living together, raising a family together and you are going to get on each other’s nerves sometimes. This is not caused for your to walk away. Because the truth is, everyone will annoy you at some point. Don’t assume the grass is greener somewhere else. Water your grass and keep your vows in mind.