Becoming a military spouse has a very steep learning curve, doesn’t it? From the acronyms to handling a deployment or making it through a PCS, there is so much you have to learn when you fall for someone in the military. And being a military spouse is such a stressful experience; with constant fears regarding your significant other’s well-being, as well as a distant relationship caused by being hundreds of miles apart. Luckily other military spouses are very eager to share their knowledge with newcomers to the military lifestyle. Blogs and social media are great ways to find your way, but military spouses have another resource to turn to: books!
Certainly books by other military spouses are a great resource to learn more about the military lifestyle and I highly recommend reading a few. But military spouses can learn valuable lessons from civilian-authored books as well!
Books Military Spouse NEED To Read
Year of Yes – I loved this book so much and totally think it should be required reading for all military spouses. The author spends a year saying “yes” to things that scare her, things that make her uncomfortable and things she was ordinarily too busy for. Along the way, she learns some valuable life lessons, has way more fun and becomes more open to living life to the fullest.
Lesson to learn: No one does it all perfectly.
There’s something about being a military spouse that makes you want to be the perfect military spouse: perfect housekeeper, perfect mom, perfect volunteer record, perfect hostess, etc. And I just don’t get it. No one is ever going to do it all perfectly, no matter how crazy we make ourselves trying to get there. The military is going to throw so much at you and you can’t possibly prepare for it all, let alone handle it perfectly. Do the best you can and that will be good enough.
The Gratitude Diaries – Who could be a bit more appreciative of what they have in life? I certainly fall into that category and that’s what made The Gratitude Diaries so appealing to me.
Lesson to learn: Voice your appreciation more often than your complaints.
Yes, there is a lot that sucks about being a military spouse. But if all you ever do is complain, all you’ll ever find are things to complain about. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle and military spouses need to break it! PCS-ing again is not ideal, but maybe instead of talking about how much you hate moving, you could instead share about how thankful you are that you’re getting to experience a new place.
I also think this lesson should be applied to our significant others as well. It’s easy to let your spouse become the lightning rod for all of your frustration or unhappiness. They aren’t the ones at home dealing with the day-to-day hassles of life, but even though they’re the “reason” that you’re the military spouse, they aren’t the reason you’re having to go through another deployment or PCS. Voice your appreciation for them rather than your complaints about the military.
The Happiness Project – I don’t know that many of us consciously work to be happy, at least not very often. But the author of The Happiness Project does just that by spending an entire year working to be happier. It’s an interesting concept, isn’t it?
Lesson to learn: It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light.
As someone who regularly blogs about it, I can tell you that it’s HARD to always find the bright side, especially amidst the ups and downs of military life. It’s hard to always be happy, but the lesson here isn’t that you ALWAYS have to be happy, but rather that you need to recognize that you must work to be happy.
Home Fires Burning – As uniform as the military strives to be, there is a huge amount of variation from branch to branch, post to post and job to job. Each individual has a unique military experience based on a whole variety of factors. The same can be said for military spouses, perhaps even more so than the actual military personnel. I like that the author told a handful of these stories to give the reader a glimpse into the diversity of the military spouse community.
Lesson to learn: Each military spouse is different, but we all seek similar things: connections, support and meaningful lives.
I love the incredible diversity of the military spouse community; I think it makes us stronger. We all bring such different backgrounds to our roles as military spouses and, as a result, experience this lifestyle differently. But overall, most of us are seeking very similar things out of life. Even though we approach being a military spouse differently, we experience many of the same hurdles and joys; those similarities should bond us together. No one can relate to military spouses like other military spouses.
There are so many great ways to gather information and advice as a military spouse: fellow spouses, blogs and books. What book do you think is on the military spouse must-read list?