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Challenges of a Military Spouse

How to support military families in your community

How to support a military spouse
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Having a military spouse—deployed, stateside or in the reserves—brings its own set of challenges to the at-home partner (especially when it comes to being a temporary single parent). I know from watching my daughter-in-law go through this, as well as close friends.

We’re all pretty good about rallying around while a spouse is on deployment, but what about the times when he or she is home—or sometimes home? Yes, sometimes home can bring extreme challenges as well. Here’s what I mean:

Reservist’s Spouse
In this case, the enlisted spouse is training on the weekends or for two weeks a year. Sometimes schedules must be adjusted at the last minute, which means the at-home spouse is suddenly stuck with a much longer to-do list.

Stateside Spouse
With an active duty military spouse, there is always extra training, extra schooling and extra paperwork that can make planning family activities and schedules an exercise in frustration. The at-home spouse is constantly coping with a blown-up calendar.

Post-Deployment Spouse
These are times of emotional highs and lows. Yes, everyone is ecstatic when the deployed spouse is safely home, but he or she often returns with emotional baggage. Being on deployment takes a toll on our military personnel, and those at home have to work hard to help unpack those raw feelings. The at-home spouse must balance spending time with the newly returned loved one while offering space and privacy for that person to adjust to being home again.

What can we do to help? Here are two ideas:

1.  Listen to their needs. These spouses—in whatever situation they’re experiencing—also need a place to vent, ask for help and get support. Unless we’re listening, we’ll miss the opportunity to serve them.

2. Pray for them. Spend time on your knees lifting them up before the Father. Then, let them know you’re praying. Share specifics about how you’re asking God to strengthen and bless them. I know, firsthand, how important it is to know that others are praying for me and for my military loved one.

So I encourage you to look for the military families in your community. Reach out to them as families but especially look for ways to bless the military spouses.  

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