Mid-week three Military life Relationships

Serving at home: 3 ways to be a friend to a military spouse

Being a military wife is a special calling and some days are tough. For the last 13 years, I have stood by my husband’s side while he has proudly served our country in the United States Navy. In those years, we have often spent more holidays, birthdays and anniversaries apart than we have together. We have moved far away from family and said goodbye to friends one too many times. While he leaves to serve on deployment, I serve at home.

Whether it’s deployments, school, or training, shifting the responsibilities shared by two people to one person for an extended period of time can create an increase in anxiety, anger, even depression. Life gets complicated, things break, and you get tired. Having a community of people helps to ease the isolation and difficulties that can arise from the long deployments and frequent moves. Sometimes this means building a community of friends who have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a military spouse.

When you have a military spouse as a friend, it can be a challenge to know just how to provide support when you don’t really understand the lifestyle. So, here are three ways you can to support the military spouse in your life, community, or church.

1. Understand that it doesn’t get easier.

Whether it is the first deployment or the fifth, being separated from your spouse is not an easy task. The responsibilities are multiplied and emotions swirl. Many military spouses are now solely responsible for taking care of finances, running kids to and from school, and fixing all of the multiple things that love to break around the house, sometimes without any family. On top of all of that, we worry about the unknowns. Is he safe? Has he been hurt? When will he return home? We live by our phones waiting for an email or hoping we won’t miss the long-awaited call. All of this pressure can cause some days to just be hard. So no matter how many times you endure a deployment, it just never gets easier.

2. Ask

Many military spouses can go into survival mode when their spouses leave for deployments, believing that we can do it all because we have to do it all. Sometimes it takes someone stepping in to ask how to help without being prompted. Send the text. Ask how to help. Ask how she is doing. Is there something you could do to help around the house? Are you able to watch the kids for a couple of hours? Ask the difficult questions and listen well.

3. Be present

Being a friend is the best way to support a military spouse. Even if you don’t understand what your military-spouse friend may be going through, simply providing the space for her to talk, vent or even cry makes a tremendous difference. Military life is often lonely. Showing up on a regular basis whether that means going to lunch, stopping by for a walk, or sending a text helps the military spouse to stay connected and build a community. This can be particularly important around major holidays and during family events. Creating intentional time together reminds the spouse she is not alone, even when it can feel that way. Serving at home is easier to do when you have a community of friends who show up to support and love you consistently.

When you take time to be a friend for a military spouse, you are helping to provide care to the entire family. Plus, the service member can take comfort in knowing that his spouse and family are being cared for in his absence. Your friendship makes a difference.

A thankful military spouse,

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17 comments on “Serving at home: 3 ways to be a friend to a military spouse

  1. Faith Ladson

    Great information. I have to learn how to accept help.

  2. Renee Baiano

    A friend of mine is a military wife. I see the challenges she goes through and she is amazing! This is a wonderful and accurate post.

  3. Thank you, so much, for this!

  4. I cannot imagine the sacrifice of being the spouse of someone who is serving. Thank you both for your service!

  5. I love this. Thank you SO much for putting this simple but beautiful message out there!

  6. Great post. I have a friend who is a military spouse and she’s always apologizing. I always try to go out of my way to help her. She has 2 kids under 2 and I know she’s just struggling to get the through the day. I think this is a perfect read for anyone who hasn’t had military exposure to understand how they can help..

  7. Very inspiring. Salute to all the military’s wife sacrificing for their family and supporting their husband’s dedication to serve one’s country.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Thank you! So many men and women stand serve on the home front every day.

  8. Thank you for this and thank you for serving! (yes, I believe that the families left behind are serving, as well!) I have a few friends who have spouses in the military and this is very helpful <3

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Sometimes we don’t realize the sacrifices an entire family makes when one person serves our country. The impact is far reaching. That’s why a support system is so vital. Friendships help a lot!

  9. Megan Fioto

    I can’t even imagine how hard it is to be a military wife, but I want to say thank you for your service at home! These are great tips for every one on how to be a friend to military wives.

  10. I love and appreciate this post! Navy spouse here!! A church member gave me no choice and insisted on watching the kids (in a friendly way) when my husband deployes last year. She knew I don’t like to bother anyone unless it was necessary. This was such a great help and relief to me. This is such a great reminder how we can help each other out! Thanks!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Thank you for your service. It’s funny how we can see help as not wanting to bother anyone. I do the same thing. But it is a blessing when we have people who choose to show up anyway!

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