Military Life May 9, 2019

Military Spouse Appreciation Day: How Service Members and Their Spouses Can Strengthen Their Marriage

Clarissa S., Editor

What is Military Spouse Appreciation Day?

Serving in the military requires a great deal of resilience and strength, and military spouses display these qualities as well. They provide care and support to their loved ones during their acts of service. Maintaining a happy marriage can seem difficult when one partner is deployed on long-term or extended tours of duty. Because of this, it is important to appreciate the care that a military spouse shows his or her loved ones and community every day. Here are ways that both partners can continue to strengthen their relationship and show each other their appreciation.

May 10, 2019, is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, a time to celebrate and recognize Service members’ spouses for their strength, loyalty and commitment.

Tips for Service Members and Military Spouses

1. Show Affection

  • Send each other photos of recent experiences, both during deployment and pre- and post-deployment.
  • Think about your favorite memories with your partner. These memories make up the foundation of a happy relationship.
  • Say something positive to each other about your relationship on a regular basis to highlight your appreciation and love.

2. Try Some Relationship-Building Activities

  • Send each other romantic handwritten notes. These small tokens of affection can be especially helpful during eventual deployment.
  • Take the time to apologize during arguments, miscommunications or any other difficult moments in your relationship.
  • Plan a trip or vacation you both can look forward to.
  • Commit to scheduling daily, weekly and monthly activities to foster a closer connection. Make these plans a priority.

3. Use Strategies for Pre-Deployment

  • Maintain open communication. Express your emotions and thoughts to your partner and listen carefully to them while they express theirs. Discuss what you expect from each other during the deployment, especially how you plan to communicate with each other.
  • Make meaningful memories that will last during separations. Spend quality time together and create experiences that both of you can remember when one partner is away.
  • Spouses should get involved in their communities and reach out to other military spouses to share experiences and find support.

4. Make the Best of Deployment

  • Don’t ignore or try to hide your feelings. It’s OK to feel sad, lonely, frustrated or angry.
  • Try to find the upsides of deployment. Service members get an opportunity to make a big impact on their country. A military spouse can use this time to develop a greater sense of self-confidence and independence. He or she can also choose to spend time reflecting and thinking, or developing a new hobby or pastime.
  • Learn some stress management techniques. Journaling, exercise, meditation and deep breathing are some ways that Service members and spouses can deal with their separation.

5. Celebrate Coming Home Together

  • Be patient. The transition can be challenging for both of you, so give yourself some time to become relaxed and comfortable together again.
  • Talk openly about your experiences during your separation. Both partners likely changed in small ways during this time; it is important to reestablish a foundation of healthy communication.
  • Reinforce your appreciation for each other. Military spouses can express their pride in their partner’s work and sacrifice. Service members can show how much they value their spouse’s constant support and care during their service.
  • Ask for help if your emotions become too difficult to handle alone. Personal or couples counseling can help you manage your thoughts and emotions. Military OneSource offers free, confidential counseling to Service members, their immediate family members and survivors. The Military and Family Life Counseling Program is another option for 24/7 support.

For more information on various Military Life products available to purchase for your community, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Strategies for a Healthy Marriage.

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