It is no secret that the divorce rate in America is alarmingly high. One may venture to guess that the military divorce rate is even more so, as each military marriage presents its own set of unique challenges.
I know, because I endured a number of these challenges firsthand as a military wife. My husband was active duty for the first 4 years of our marriage, and there were MANY arguments that sprouted simply because our circumstances weren’t ideal.
Recognizing these arguments, and learning how to say ‘thank you’ to each other has played a big role in the ultimate success of our marriage.
Military relationships are required to navigate some rough terrain.
For instance, being far away from your family can be frustrating, particularly if you have children. Continual address changes, saying goodbye to friends that have turned into family, work stress, etc. All of these strains collectively lay heavily on a military relationship, and there’s only so much weight one can hold before they snap.
Perhaps you and your military spouse are able to gracefully maneuver right past these stressors. Maybe these issues never even cause a hiccup in your relationship! If that’s the case then just stop reading because my advice will only fall on deaf ears.
However, if your military marriage is anything at all like mine was with my soldier, then it’s possible — and I daresay even vital — to learn how to express your appreciation for one another.
The cool thing is, demonstrating our gratefulness isn’t as hard as you might think! Here are some simple, yet practical ways to say thank you to your military spouse.
Hear them out.
When your partner is upset (even when the reason seems trivial to you), let them vent. It’s so easy to shut each other down, especially when you are also stressed, but we must remember that our partners need to feel validated as well. If we can’t vent our frustrations to one another, then it creates a situation where we no longer feel heard, and those frustrations tend to evolve into bigger issues.
Practice giving each other undivided attention.
Even for just a snippet of your day. At dinner time in my home, everyone puts their cell phone in a designated spot so that we can spend quality time talking about how our days went. By limiting distractions such as this, we show our loved ones that they’re worth being present for.
Hug each other more often.
When I feel stressed out and on the brink of explosion, my husband is really great about pulling me in for a big bear hug. Even when I begrudgingly barely hug him back due to my state of absolute decided grumpiness, I love when he does this and it truly does make things easier to handle.
Spruce up your military relationsh with an untypical date night.
Rather than enjoying your regular dinner at the usual spot, shake things up a little and go take a dance lesson, or painting class instead. Taking the time to plan thoughtful, intimate, good quality
Compliment each other often, and sincerely.
Reinforcing the physical attraction you have for one another keeps a spark in your relationship. Light each other up at every chance you get.
Send ‘I love you’ texts in the middle of a
Simple, yet effective in letting your partner know that you’re thinking about them.
Leave your partner notes.
In their lunchbox, on the bathroom mirror, taped to their steering wheel… anywhere they might be surprised to see it. It doesn’t have to be a long love letter but similar to the ‘I love you’ text, it can prove to be a thoughtful way of showing that you care.
Have you ever seen that picture of a wife dangling over a cliff, one arm in the grasp of her husband who is trying desperately to pull her back up?
She has a snake biting her arm (unbeknownst to her husband as the snake is out of his view). He has a massive boulder on his back, (again positioned out of sight of the frightened wife). So there they are, both boldly trying to save one another yet unaware of the challenges the other is enduring, just to keep holding on.
Both members of the marriage need to understand, that there will ALWAYS be things that your husband or wife is dealing with. Things that are beyond your perspective. Invisible monkeys on their back, so to speak. Monkeys that are causing them to act in a way you might find untypical, or even displeasing. Accept it, recognize when it’s happening, and love and thank them anyway. Let’s start throwing appreciation around like it’s confetti!
The next time you’re on the verge of taking your stress out on your husband or wife consider the following: Has your significant other sacrificed things in their life, to be with you? I’m sure you can think of a few losses. Have they supported you at times when no one else was around? I bet they have, because when you are both thousands of miles away from home, you quickly realize that other person is ALL YOU’VE GOT. Which is why it is so important to learn how to say thank you to your military spouse.