Being married to someone in the military can be extremely difficult for a variety of reasons. With all the frequent moves and long periods of deployment as part of the package, the life of a military partner carries any number of stress factors. Here, we’ll look at some of the common challenges of being a military spouse, and some advice for overcoming them…
When you’re married, going without a partner, even for a short period of time, is always difficult. When they’re deployed overseas for long periods, the burden can be much more intense. A cocktail of different emotions are likely to be circulating your mind. In fact, studies over the past few years have shown that military spouses can be much more prone to clinical depression, especially when their partner is deployed frequently or for long periods of time. This is even more of a risk when the partner left at home is a man. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a range of coping strategies that are effective for people in this situation. Join a club, make a point to make new friends, pursue a job or start working on some kind of project outside of your current work. Keeping your mind occupied and interacting with other people can work miracles to ease the sense of loneliness.
Being a military spouse isn’t easy, but there’s one benefit in that the government has your back to some degree. Aside from paying your partner’s paycheque, they also provide you with various benefits which you may want to take advantage of. One of the many benefits is in regard to your education. Initiatives include the post 9/11 GI Bill transferability, which allows service members to transfer their GI Bill benefits to immediate family members. There are also an increasing amount of military spouse scholarships for people looking to further their education. While these initiatives can make a major positive difference to your quality of life, there are still certain challenges in taking advantage of them. Eligibility can be quite complex, and whenever there’s government money involved, there are all kinds of applications you’ll need to deal with. For example, with the aforementioned GI Bill benefits, your spouse must have at least six years of service behind them, and an obligation to serve four more.
Finding and Keeping a Job
A lot of people aren’t aware of the many stumbling blocks that stand between military spouses and making progress with their careers. A big part of this is how often military families are required to move around. While home-based positions are becoming more and more frequent, this can still be a huge obstacle for the average military spouse. Aside from the relocations, some employers are known to see military spouses as unstable workers, work schedules can be hard to fit around their duties as a parent, and their skills and education can be hard to match up with local job opportunities. Further education, career exploration and networking can all mitigate this issue.