25 Tips For The Brand New Military Spouse
Your husband of two years just left for basic training.
Your boyfriend is on his way to Ft. Benning, fulfilling his dream.
You are getting married, and then a week later, you and your new husband are moving to Ft. Bliss in Texas, a state you never even thought about visiting let alone moving to.
Welcome to the military, as a new spouse, you are for sure feeling overwhelmed. Your life has just done a 180, and you are a bit lost.
When my husband joined, and we were at our first duty station in Germany, I remember standing there watching a group of soldiers march by. Was this my life now? What did I get myself into? There was so much I didn’t understand.
So if you are brand new to this life, here are 25 tips to help you start your military spouse journey:
1. Learn about TRICARE
Learn what you can about TRICARE. Spend some time on their website. There is a lot to learn, and things can change quickly. But knowing where to go to find that information is necessary.
2. Bloom where you are planted
Remember that no matter where you get stationed, you can bloom where you are planted. You can make the best of a horrible duty station, no matter how bad the negative reviews are. Make sure you are working towards enjoying where you live, every day.
3. Deployments happen
Deployments will happen, and not always at the best time. You can’t plan for them, and they can be disappointing, but they are a big part of military life. Luckily there is a lot of deployment support out there.
4. Not everyone is trustworthy
Sadly, not everyone you meet is going to be trustworthy. Keep this in mind but also know that there are plenty of amazing military spouses out there too.
5. Try your FRG, at least once
Give it a try, just once. What would that hurt? If you hate it, don’t go back. But if you go, there is always the chance that you ended up in a good FRG and being a part of that will help you in your military spouse life.
6. Explore the Commissary
When you first get to your duty station, explore the Commissary. Figure out how long it takes you to get there and do your own price matching so that you can see if shopping there will save you money. In some places it does, in others, it doesn’t. And try not to go on payday, trust me on that one.
7. Befriend your neighbors
Say hi to your neighbors and befriend them, at least with a smile. Getting along with your neighbors will make for a better experience, whether you are on post or off.
8. Remember OPSEC
OPSEC is so important. Learn what it means and lean on the side of not sharing that info if you are not sure.
9. Practice PERSEC
PERSEC is more individual. Talk that over with your spouse, so you are on the same page. If he doesn’t want his photo on Facebook, don’t share it.
10. Don’t overshare
There is no need to overshare details on social media. Stay as vague as you can. You can still get your point across without sharing such personal details.
11. Respect your marriage
Always respect your marriage, whether they are home or overseas. Respect your spouse online. They are going to piss you off; you don’t always have to share when they do.
12. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
Putting yourself out there can be difficult, especially if you are more on the introverted side but doing so can be worth it.
13. Help others when you can
If you see someone you can help, do so. If you can’t personally help in their situation, you could direct them to someone or a resource who can.
14. Say no to things
You don’t have to say yes to everything. When you get involved in your community, there will be a lot of things you could say yes to. Don’t burn yourself out and know that sometimes, it is okay to say no.
15. Buy a journal
Buy a cute journal and when you are stressed, write in it. When you are missing your spouse, write in it. Not only will that help you in the moment but reading back in the future can help you too.
16. Find the deployment tips that work for you
There are so many deployment tips out there. Not all of them will work for you. Figure out which ones work for you and your family.
17. Don’t be overwhelmed by the acronyms
There are so many acronyms in the military world. There is no way to learn them all. The good news is that they are pretty easy to figure out if you look them up online.
18. Live on post at least once
Give living on post/base a try. If you are new, doing so can be a good way to get to know military life. If you don’t like it, live off in the future.
19. Don’t overspend when you get extra money
There will be times when your spouse gets extra pay. Don’t overspend when they do. You will kick yourself later.
20. Have a plan for deployment pay
Before your spouse goes anywhere, have a plan for any extra deployment pay and be on the same page about what you will do with the money.
21. Make plans, but put them in pencil
You can make plans when you are a military spouse, just make sure they are in pencil. They might have to change at a moment’s notice.
22. Join new clubs
If you are feeling lonely and fear you won’t ever make any friends, try something new. Go to MOPS, PWOC or a regular playdate with your kids. Get out of the house and meet new people.
23. Cry if you need to
If you need to cry, do so. Some people cry more than others; it’s just the way they handle stress. Don’t listen to anyone that tells you not to cry.
24. Don’t let someone else’s bad experience become yours
We all have our own experiences, especially about duty stations. Don’t let someone else’s bad experience ruin things for you. Keep what they said in mind but don’t automatically assume you will have that same bad experience that you have.
25. Find extra help if you need it
If you need extra help, don’t be afraid to find it. This could mean hiring a babysitter on a regular basis or setting up time with a counselor. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you are feeling lost or not sure how you will make it through.
What are your best tips for the brand new military spouse???