Marriage is one of the most powerful foundations of the U.S. Armed Forces. While service members answer duty’s call, military spouses work to support their partners and families on the homefront.
We work together to create strong and resilient communities and family units. The strength of the military is inextricably linked to the overall mental, physical and emotional well-being of the service members and their families.
With the everyday push and pull of the world, we can look up and find that in the sea of commitments and obligations we’ve lost sight of the main thing: our commitments to one another in our marriages.
Consciously taking time to pour into ourselves and our marriages can fortify our unions during times of peacefulness and tumult alike. Emotional time, effort and investments are essential to creating healthy and lasting military marriages.
Here are 8 ways to emotionally invest in your military marriage.
Be playful together.
All work and no play make marriages a dull chore. Who said the fun had to end when you jumped over the broom? No one!
It’s OK to prank your spouse (within their comfort zone), beat them in a table flipping game of UNO or challenge each other to a race on your kids’ scooters. The point is you both deserve to let loose and experience joy together. Conscientiously seek opportunities for play.
Nothing makes a long ruck march more manageable than a rousing call and response. Passion begets passion.
If you’ve found that you aren’t connecting with your spouse, consider delving into one of your forgotten loves or passions. The excitement of an interesting job, task or hobby can be contagious.
Let passion infect your marriage.
Be affectionate daily.
Whether you’re down for a “50 Shades of Grey” evening or cuddling with fuzzy socks, we all need physical contact. It’s something we remember all too well during TDYs and deployments. But investing in the physical touch daily can garner closeness and rekindle the flame. Hug, kiss or snuggle with your baby today.
Gratitude has a way of shifting perspectives. Practicing gratitude as a couple is a surefire method of keeping a positive and emotionally connected home.
Are you happy the dog has stopped its summer shedding? Or that the unit’s chili cook-off was actually delicious? Seek out the good stuff as partners.
We all need the benefit of the doubt at one point or another. Extending grace to your partner allows you to see them as a human who is doing their best with the tools they have.
Graciousness lets you place smelly boots in the passenger seat of his car as a joke instead of seeing red that you’ve temporarily lost your sense of smell from the horror that is reeking boots in your bedroom.
What are your values? Where do you see yourself and your spouse in the future? Revisiting your core values and mission as a family can help facilitate a deeper emotional connection.
We know we have a common goal. And although circumstances and environments may change we can also return to the essence of our union. Rediscover your shared vision and dreams within your military marriage.
There are times when we are running on empty, when things have got to give. It’s OK to be clear and transparent about our needs, desires and weakness. No living breathing, flawed human can ever be Bionic Woman or Captain America. Let’s stop aspiring to unrealistic goals and instead be the best version of ourselves at any given moment in our lives. Let your partner know when you need a hand.
They say that all is fair in love and war, but I beg to differ. There is such a thing as “below the belt” and that is a place none of us should ever endeavor to go in love.
Military marriages have so many sacrifices and compromises, but we should always fight fair.
Words last forever. In order to remain emotionally invested, each partner has to feel safe to be vulnerable. Regardless of slights or differing points of view we can work to ensure our marriages are always safe places to land.
There is no magic wand to greater intimacy and long-lasting ardor, but committing to emotionally invest in your military marriage is definitely a strong step in the right direction.