Keeping Your Dreams Alive in a Military Marriage

Last week, I posted a review on “The Six Box”, a reverse care package for military spouses. Today, I am so excited to have teamed up with Megan, from The Six Box, again for a guest post! The ladies at The Six Box are doing great things for the military community by providing a “pick-me-up” for the spouses who seem to take care of everyone else. Have questions about what The Six Box is? Check out my review HERE and their website HERE.

 

Military spouses have learned the art of sacrificing ourselves over and over again, but when you constantly feel like your dreams are being put on the back burner it can take it’s toll.

Living life at the “whim” of the military does not provide a stable foundation for a spouse to go back to school, stay at a job long enough to get promoted and sometimes even hampers the ability to find enjoyable work at all. Furthermore, the constant moves, solo parenting and stress of knowing your husband can come home any day with new orders, training schedules and more can lead you to push your needs and dreams further and further away.

Hi, I’m Megan, one-half of the team at The Six Box, a “reverse” care package for military spouses holding down the fort during a deployment or other challenging season. I became a military spouse a year after I married my husband as he didn’t join until after he put a ring on it. I actually feared the military life and had told my husband when we were dating I would never marry a military man (due to the stress and worry I had seen friends experience). My husband is tricky as you see I didn’t marry a military man, I married a Police Officer who joined the military a year later (sneaky, sneaky).

I feared life as a military spouse for the usual reasons: living apart for weeks and months at a time, deployments, not being able to communicate or really know what my husband does for work, uncertainty of where we will live, etc. But the one thing that scared me more, which I didn’t even realize at first, was that I might have to give up my dreams altogether or put them on hold for years. While I am not a woman with say “traditional” career goals that require a Master’s or Doctorate or extensive hours in an office, I have always been independent and wanting to have something to call my own.

After 5+ years as a military spouse, I have to come believe even more that we military spouses thrive and serve our families, friends and communities so much better when our dreams are valued. The best part is I have realized that my dreams didn’t have to be shoved under a rug and a part of me lost forever, but in order to pursue them I needed to do a few things. The three tips I offer below can apply to any military spouse and any dream she might have.

Re-evaluate: One thing I can guarantee you in military life is change is constant, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Change can push us to learn and do new things, meet new people and evolve as individuals. To be fair, change is also not unique to military life (although the changes themselves are unique) and it is a fact of life that things do not stay the same year after year. Take time to re-evaluate your dreams and how they fit into your life now and try to envision where you want to be 5, 10 or 25 years from now. Maybe you need to go back to school or maybe you just need to make time to read more books on a topic, volunteer or start a blog. Pursuing our dreams and goals doesn’t mean they need to be all consuming or even happen immediately.

Be honest: Do you feel totally overwhelmed with all that is on your plate? Speak up! This one can be very hard to do, but burnout and driving away from the house after an argument or kids throwing pasta on the ceiling to the local bar is worse. Either talk to your husband or a friend (if your husband is gone) and ask them to help you make time for you to free you up to do the things that will help you thrive. This could mean taking an online class for a semester, using one Saturday morning a month for “you” time, making sure you go for that 15 minute run each day or meeting up with friends, a book club, bible study, etc monthly where you feel refreshed. (It might help to emphasize to your husband that you are going to burst if this doesn’t happen).

Initiate: While re-evaluating and being honest are technically you taking initiative, what I really mean here is “Go for it!”. Do you want to see if your boss will allow you to work remote after you PCS? Ask! Do you want to take a photography class, but aren’t sure where to find one? Get online and search, ask neighbors or the local coffee shop – do the research! Would you like to join those moms working out in the park? Say hi! (this one might sound crazy, but there is a group of moms in my neighborhood who have yelled at me to join them during their workouts while I walked by with my daughter-I laughed and while I haven’t joined yet, I am actually looking into it over my maternity leave).

The big thing is, if you have a dream or need you can’t expect people to be mind readers – you should make it known. If your husband’s career doesn’t currently support a full blown version of your dream, then re-evaluate and weave it in another way. (Also, I would encourage you not to blame your husband or his job if you can’t do exactly what you want right now.) Marriage is a partnership and (hopefully) a place where you can both share what your heart’s desires are and encourage one another to pursue them in realistic ways.

Remember, you are married to someone in the military so I can guarantee you wherever you are at in life, will change. Don’t let your fears of military life keep you from re-evaluating, speaking up or taking initiative when it comes to your dreams and needs. You and your spouse both benefit from having two partners who support each other in pursuit of your dreams. Go for it!

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