If you’ve ever taken a general history class, then you already are aware of the fact that countries are formulated and built by blood. Since the pre-colonial era, there have been many wars in the world, and the tradition of international warfare continues into the 21st century with wars such as the Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom; wars that lasted for decades. The warriors who fight in these wars are usually emotionally and physically exhausted; however, there is a force that drives them to achieve their goals so as to uphold nationalism and a safer planet. While serving in the military is extremely vital and a highly regarded cause all over the world, it greatly influences families in a big way. Not only does the spouse who’s left behind need to do everything for the family alone; but also has to deal with the fears that their other half could be in danger.
Soldiers are always on the move; whether for an abroad deployment or local training, the majority of military members will at some point spend some extensive period away from their loved ones. Active duty comes with its share of uncertainty, risk, and danger, and the trauma and worry on military spouses left behind is a normal part of every military relationship. Don’t let the stress get you down, anyway. You love that man or woman who’s out there to serve. So, what is your responsibility as a Military spouse? Simple, your job is to make it as uncomplicated as possible for the soldier to do their work.
What makes a soldier’s job different from others is that theirs is a 24-hour everyday job; while soldiers have working days, their job doesn’t ever end. When a soldier is instructed to work, there is no room for saying no and more importantly; there’s no overtime pay. The soldier’s job is tougher than it seems. Now, bring in the deployments, and that’s a different world, altogether. The Military spouse is left supporting the family, and it is tough. You are left to explain to the kids why mom or dad will be away for a while. It sucks. Still, however annoying it may be, that does not relieve you of your duty to make the soldier’s life easier. You are the support mechanism that is the soldier’s backbone and the cornerstone of their career. Well, here are seven things that the military spouse can do in making the soldier’s life easier, especially during deployment:
- Make sure that you have everything that’s needed to accomplish stuff in life. Things needed include:
- Power of Attorney – POA
- Access to finances
- Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System – DEERS
- Soldiers Group Life Insurance – SGLILast will and testament
- Assume the responsibility of being the head of the family henceforth. You should learn to decide on all the key family issues in your own. You should be in a position to handle almost every situation that may arise in the household. Doing this will limit the number of disruptions to the Soldier while on duty, and it is crucial.
- Contact the head of your unit’s Family Readiness Group (FRG) and make sure that your name is on the contact list. This way, you will always get updates on any unit functions and latest news and information concerning the deployed soldiers. While there may be times when it is impossible for the soldier to call you; the FRG should be your point of contact during those times. The FRG can also be of help to you in case of anything when your wife or husband is away to serve.
- Communication is paramount during this period. Whether it be in the form of emails, phone calls or letters, try to remain as optimistic as possible during communication. Your chance to talk is restricted, so avoid any negative thoughts. The last thing in the world that any soldier needs while away for deployment is drama from home. Try very much to avoid unnecessary arguments. Talk about daily things – they need it.
- Share your everyday life with your spouse. Mention to them about all events concerning the family; from kids’ school events to household stuff. Send lots of videos and pictures when you can. It helps to make the Soldier feel connected to the family despite the long absence.
- Make it a habit of sending your spouse cards, care packages, and letters. Nothing can improve a Soldier’s spirits faster than receiving some form of communication from home. The soldiers are most likely at their most vulnerable state once the holidays approach. So, ensure that your husband or wife receives their holiday gift packages on time.
- Keep your family connection intact. Research has shown that there is usually a very high divorce rate in the military during and right away after a deployment. Divorce mostly occurs due to communication breakdown. It is important to listen to your partner and especially when they want to share what’s going on with them. Let them vent it all out. Be a good listener!
Military families are imperative, and they do stand out from the crowd. Always remember that you are the support mechanism that holds the soldier while on active duty. Without a strong backbone back at home, service members will certainly fail on the job as their attention is divided.
Keep in mind that even if you’re under much stress and pressure, your partner’s situation may be worse as they are exposed to immense physical danger not forgetting other combat hardships. Therefore, you should remain stable during this time. Instead of looking for emotional support; give it, and add some form of encouragement and declarations of your love as a bonus. Eventually, you’ll see that assuming the role of the emotionally stable partner indeed makes you strong, naturally. In the end, you will be able to carry on until your partner returns. Your fundamental responsibility, nonetheless, is not to yourself. It is to the service man or woman in ensuring that their lives are stress-free so they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities.