Marriage doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. All of a sudden you’re living with another person, joining in their family and maybe even taking their name, and you’re supposed to be an expert, right? Wrong. 

It can be overwhelming, but being married means you have your closest friend to turn to now.  You can still be independent people with your own lives, but you’re a team who shares them too.  A more traditional definition might tell you to give up being an individual, but you don’t have to.  Staying confident in yourself is important for a military spouse.  It’s just as important as teamwork, because sometimes teamwork has to happen when you’re miles away from each other.

For us, that meant I got serious about job hunting once we moved in together. Jason and I started our own routine for the week, which started with early mornings and ended with late nights. This doesn’t mean we don’t take time out for each other: we enjoy making time to eat dinner together and ordering take-out on weekends. 

At first, I was frustrated by the things I thought we’d do together – like picking out sheets or hanging up our wedding pictures.  But then I realized I can do anything my spouse can do at home.  I had to give myself a little bit of a pep talk after moving in and finding myself intimidated by our three bedroom on-base rental.

I thought to myself, ‘You just planned a wedding almost entirely by yourself, remember? You can do this. You CAN build window frames, refinish furniture, get the job offer, or reinvent your laundry room. ‘ These might sound like simple tasks to accomplish, and some of them are, but when you find yourself surrounded by housework, those little things can really add up. 

After bruising my thumb with a hammer, burning my hand in the oven, and missing the first turn on my way home, I realized I wasn’t going to be a “pro” wife in a day. Nobody is.   But I learned to be proud of my meager accomplishments, and celebrate little victories.

Pro or not, you’re not in it alone anymore.  Even if you’re away from your husband or wife, he or she will still be proud to hear you DID do it. 

If you’re looking for more support, check out the Marine Corps Family Team Building, which provides training and information on how to handle the stresses of daily living and the mobile military lifestyle, opportunities for volunteering, and more. You can also reach out your local Military & Family Life Counselors.
 


Kelsey Stiglitz received a B.A. in English from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and works as a freelance contributor.  She is married to a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune.