This month, I am so proud to celebrate my 21st year as a military spouse. What’s our secret for keeping it together so long? My husband always jokes that we have been together so long because we spend so much time apart. Could there be some truth to this for all military couples? I think, yes, depending upon how you spend that time. Here are 4 ways to spend times of separation growing yourself and your relationship:
1. Be ready. Make it your business to prepare the family business. Nothing makes separation more difficult than to add complicated family business matters to the mix. Familiarize yourself with whatever accounts your hubby manages, know the passwords, where the paperwork is located, what are the due dates and other particulars. In fact, my hubby created a three-ring binder with everything (information on car warranties, insurance, registration, etc.) before he left and it saved the day, many times.
2. Get Smart. There must be something you have been dying to learn, but just couldn’t find the time or focus on it. Whether it is a work-related skill, a hobby, or a personal development topic, times of separation from your honey can be the ideal to time take that class. For example, learning accounting, a foreign language, belly dancing, or woodworking for pure self-improvement can be extremely satisfying, fill extra time, and give you something positive to talk about when he calls home. He will love the fact that you are excited about something fun rather than moping around or resentful while he is gone.
3. Stay connected. During our first few separations for PCS, deployment, and non-accompanied tours, we were limited to communicating by phone and snail mail. But today, there’s email, Skype, net meetings, and all kinds of other methods to stay in touch. Use them all, but be careful not to expect instant replies just because you can send it instantaneously. If you do, you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. And, just becasue there is a vast array of electronic communication, that doesn’t mean you should forget about handwritten love letters every now and then. Not only is it a great way to be romantic, but he can he can read your letter over and over, and at any time he wants to read them.
4. Be social. It’s easy to become a recluse when you are missing your honey, but don’t. The days will go by much faster when you surround yourself with loving and supportive people. Fun and laughter are important for your moods, your motivation and your overall well-being; family and friends are just the ones who can supply it for you.
So, is being separated often the real reason we’ve been together so long? No really, it’s the healthy outlook we have and how we spend that time. What tips can you share on keeping it together when you are apart?