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    5 Things Seasoned Spouses Appreciate About Military Life

    As Military Spouse Appreciation Day approaches, you’ll start seeing messages of gratitude for your endless sacrifice, managing Murphy’s law with aplomb, and canceling or postponing a perfectly planned wedding, vacation, or family reunion thanks to a denied leave request or an unexpected deployment

    If you immediately connect with the stories and experiences, there’s a good chance you’re a seasoned military spouse and another seasoned spouse wrote the blog or captioned the meme. 

    No one knows the ups and downs of military life better than experienced military spouses. And, it takes a spouse with extra spice to embrace the wisdom that comes from appreciating the good and bad of what military life offers.

    What Seasoned Spouses Appreciate About Military Life-1

    What Seasoned Spouses Appreciate About Military Life 

    Extended life in the military guarantees that you automatically earn an invisible badge of honor. The late nights, unexpected changes of plans, and extended days of solo parenting take a toll. It’s been a long couple of decades, after all. 

    You’ve probably had a hard road, but as an honorable and seasoned spouse, you know there’s no need to establish whose story is the “best worst story” because you understand that someone out there certainly has had it far worse. 

    Instead, now you know the value of flipping the script and focusing on what seasoned spouses appreciate about our unique lifestyle. You might not like the way you've had to hone your professional skills or love all of your military experiences, but you can at least acknowledge the personal growth that stems from hardship. 

    group of friends discussing paperPhoto from Shutterstock

    1) You’re way more chill and confident.

    It takes a lot to break you down these days. Your coping and investigation techniques are solid, and you finally get that, yes, ultimately, you will replace your lost ID. You also know the process will be painful because you’ll likely lose it over a holiday weekend. However, after so many years, you realize that a new laminated picture of yourself is inevitable. The same is true for eventually cracking the Tricare reimbursement enigma. 

    You can also expertly predict that at least one major appliance or car will break during a deployment, and you’re kinda okay with that (since you have to be) because you’ve successfully managed disasters before. Basically, you’ve learned from experience that somehow, in some way, everything will work out.

    friends talking over coffeePhoto from Shutterstock 

    2) You’re spending your time wisely and joyfully. 

    Most seasoned spouses have worked an odd collection of jobs or established careers along the way. At this point, at a minimum, you know what you don't want to do in the future. That’s a big deal as the retirement transition approaches—you’ll cut out job searches and interviews that don’t meet your goals. You’ll have the same clarity about volunteering, too. After years of mastering the professional volunteer hustle, you’ll focus on the organizations that speak to your heart and spend time there. 

    You’ve also learned the best version of “self-care” for you. The term self-care has been twisted and turned to fit every Facebook and Instagram ad hawking the latest and greatest product, but now you know what soothes your soul and make more time for those activities. Today, you're far less hesitant to plan that girls’ (or solo!) getaway. 

    3) You’re seeing your servicemember’s experience pay off differently.

    We all know that no one joins the military for a lucrative salary, but it's hard to deny that a senior military member’s income makes life a little easier. Seniority also has its perks within the workplace and personal relationships. After years and years of service, they may know a few people who can help your family avoid an unwanted assignment, fix the LES mistakes faster, and, most importantly, someone who can get that new ID printed ASAP. 

    portrait of smiling middle aged womanPhoto by Shutterstock

    4) You know the value of all friendships.

    As the years have passed, you realize that your friendships have served specific purposes for that season of life. For example, you may not continuously keep in touch with the moms and dads from preschool, but you’re thrilled to see holiday cards and will certainly reconnect if your paths cross again. On the other hand, if you’re lucky, that elementary school dad who was your BFF still holds a precious spot in your inner circle of friends. 

    There’s no way you could have gotten this far into military life without your friends’ support. How many do you keep in touch with today?

    • Best high school friend
    • Best military friend 
    • Best neighbor friend
    • Best duty station friend
    • Best deployment friend 
    • Best phone-a-friend
    • Best OCONUS friend

    Male friends chatting

    Photo from Shutterstock 

    5) You’ve learned to ask for or accept help when offered. 

    Well, sometimes. A seasoned spouse’s first instinct is to take charge and meet the challenge head-on, whether a clogged toilet, an unresponsive landlord, or a 2 a.m. solo parent trip to the ER. At this point in your military spouse career, you know that, although you can manage on your own 95% of the time, your friends, family, coworkers, and a mental health professional will happily bail you out of a tough situation. It takes years to learn this lesson, and sometimes you have to relearn it, but eventually, it finally sticks—everyone needs help sometimes.

    As you approach your spouse's military retirement, remember that you possess a specific brand of insight that younger spouses would benefit from. When asked, don’t be afraid to share your journey and offer advice that has served you well over the years.

    Thank you, seasoned spouse; you’ve persevered and thrived over the years, and we appreciate your dedication and devotion to our collective military family!

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    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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