So you got married what seems like five minutes ago (congratulations, by the way) and now you’re preparing for your first adventure with the military: moving. We don’t just dip our toes in the pool, do we? No sir, we jump in headfirst. Whether you’re just moving in with your new better half or moving to the other side of the world on your first PCS together, you’re in for a wild ride.
But “wild” can be a good thing. Believe it or not, you can even control “wild” to an extent by focusing on the big picture, finding ways to minimize homesickness and having a heads up about common new military spouse frustrations. Let these tips help you stretch that honeymoon phase to the max:
- Expect to be homesick. Who wouldn’t miss the comfort and familiarity of home? It’s natural to be homesick from time to time. Give yourself something to look forward to by planning a trip home, arranging for a friend or relative to send some of your hometown or homemade favorites or inviting a loved one to visit you.
- Remind yourself that “home” changes too. I’ve actually PCSed back to my hometown, and I can assure you that home is a state of mind more than it is a place. It never stays just the way we remember it. Places change, people change and people move away just like we did. What we miss are the memories we made there, not the place itself. Find comfort in knowing you aren’t the only one moving on.
- Make home wherever you are. Create the feeling of home with your new spouse. Establish traditions, incorporate a few of your favorite things into the décor, and make the most of where you are by meeting new people and trying new local places and activities.
- Remember that you have to flex (often). Your service member’s career is demanding. It often requires weird hours, spur of the moment changes, bottomless baskets of laundry, cold meals and a lot of hurrying up only to wait. Accepting this chaos can help you avoid undue stress and maybe even spare you and your spouse an argument or two.
- Network for new opportunities. A new home means you may need a new job, a new pizza place and everything in between. Neighbors and fellow military spouses are great connections in your new community that can link you to the right people and places to help you feel at home.
- Keep in touch. Just because you’re no longer living with your parents or in your hometown doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch. Use social media, text, email or video chat to communicate and stay connected even from miles away.
Your first months of marital bliss might not look just the way you pictured. You may be living in a small town you’ve never heard of, but you’ll make the most of it because you’re a military spouse now and that’s just what we do. Welcome to the club!