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How To Strengthen Relationships During Stressful Times

Just this morning over breakfast, my husband and I were debating the Personally Procured Move or partial PPM. Our move is three months away and I’m already stressing. There are so many decisions and conversations for any move or move type. Even if you have all the right communication, you know there will be curve balls thrown in during the move. The last thing anyone wants during a PCS is to be at odds with their spouse. So, let’s chat about things that can strengthen our relationship during all the stress, and cling to the hope of having the best PCS season yet!

  • Sharing the Burden. Starting the conversation early helps get everyone on the same page upfront. It’s so easy for miscommunication to happen when everyone is stressed. Talking about all the decisions beforehand can help alleviate loads of decisions during game time when it is easy to get chippy. I bet your partner’s biggest stresses are different from yours. Maybe you have different concerns this time around than you have had before. Sharing all these things can help you work out a system to support each other. Maybe you can handle the things that stress them out the most and vice versa. Lastly, both committing to a shared goal of having a strong, peaceful relationship during the transition can set in motion a lot of intentionality and mutual support.
  • Simplifying. The great purge before the move can also cause some tension. Commonly, there is always one person in the relationship who tends to get rid of items and someone who has more sentimental attachment to things. There are also those who fall into the category of despising any type of organizing (totally my husband!). What does the most peaceful process look like for you and your spouse? Everyone handles this in their own unique way. But make sure you both know what the plan is and ways to help each other out. For us, I don’t mind doing the organizing and purging by myself, but not having child care or dinner to worry about on those days is a huge support!
  • Stress Check. Once the packing, loading or movers show up, I think it’s important to check in with each other throughout the day. At the very minimum, carrying on a conversation in PCS memes will help lighten the load even if for a moment. If you can tag team the day, I would encourage you to try it. Catching moments together to share the misery is a quick, easy way to feel more connected. It’s not you against each other, it’s your team against the world and unpredictable events that might define the day.
  • Silly Sides. This is where inside jokes are created. Fun memories made amidst the chaos will eventually be the memory that defines that PCS. Think of ways that will help you both decompress at the end of the day. Make a list of the last things you want to do before you leave that duty station. Do you have a favorite restaurant or bar you want to go to one more time? Do you want to try a new place you never had the chance to go to before? Stow away a favorite game to have an epic tournament between you two. Binge your favorite shows on a phone while you try to figure out how to get the phone at the best position on that air mattress. Go for a fancy dinner in your PCS grunge wear. Do something unexpected and fun. Most likely you both will not feel like doing anything, but I bet you won’t regret it a bit once you do. By the way, this is totally doable with kids, too. Be creative and make memories.

In conclusion, stressful times are a good opportunity to build stronger bonds. It’s easy to get lost in a cycle of arguments when amid PCSing, but don’t we all want to be in sync with our spouse instead? Have conversations, make decisions and create some memories. Cheers to a strengthened relationship during this move cycle!

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