To the Military Spouse That Does Not Live in a Military Community
Almost three years ago, my husband ended his time in the active duty army and joined the National Guard. In some ways, this was a big change for us. Leaving active duty is a challenge and one that we have had to work through. He no longer wore the uniform on a daily basis, we started paying for Tricare, and PCSing was no longer an option for us.
However, since we decided to stay in the Fort Campbell area, we still live in a military community. Most of my friends are married to someone in the Army, we can shop at the commissary as often as we want to, and I know when my husband deploys again, I will have that local support.
I am very aware that this is not the norm for a National Guard family.
I know that for some, there is no local military community. Maybe they know a few of the spouses, maybe not. Maybe they have some family that has served, maybe not. Being a part of a military community can be an enjoyable experience, but that isn’t always the case for every military spouse.
Being far removed from the military community can feel like you are walking this road alone, but you are not.
There might not be anyone in your town that you can relate to, but there are plenty of other spouses out there in our country that totally understand.
Whatever challenges you have had to face, whatever frustrations you are having, and however hard a deployment seems, there are others who have been through it too.
So what can you do when you don’t have access to a local military community?
Look for other military spouses
The truth is, there are other military spouses in your area, you just don’t know who they are. If your spouse’s unit happens to have an FRG, find out when they meet. If you are not sure, start asking around. If you feel you are up to it, ask if you can volunteer.
Check with your local churches and mom groups. See if anyone has any military ties. You never know who is connected with the military or who knows someone who is that can put you in touch. If you live in a bigger city, it’s even possible that there are some military support groups there.
No, you don’t have a local base to go to, but you might be able to find other military spouses you never knew were there.
When you don’t live in a military community, online is going to be your best friend. There are so many groups on Facebook to search through. There is a National Guard group, a group I started for military spouse support and plenty of other military spouse groups to get connected with.
Sometimes online friends can become your best friends. Through group discussions, private messages, and sharing our struggles, we can connect with each other and find our people. Someday, we can even meet up if life allows us to.
Although you might struggle to find the military spouse community in your local area, the military spouse community is very much active and alive online.
Find good friends
Sometimes our civilian friends can be our biggest cheerleaders. Maybe they don’t quite understand what we are going through, but that is okay. There are other spouses that might be able to relate to a husband being away and not always being able to be there for us.
Not everyone will understand, and some people will make stupid comments. That part of connecting with people can get old and is very frustrating. But see if you can look beyond that.
Some people mean well and are not trying to make you upset. Others can be your rock through your most difficult times, even if their spouse has never served.
Get involved in your community. Reach out and connect with others. The benefits of doing so will be worth it. There are plenty of people out there that love and support the military and want to help when they can. Let them.
Whether you are a National Guard or Reserve spouse or don’t live in a military community, know that you can find support even if it is just online. That others are going through what you are and that there is beauty in finding good friends.