A strong marriage takes a lot of work for any couple. But when you add stressors like drill weekends, annual training, and deployments, keeping a marriage strong can be tough.
Here are five tips to help keep your marriage strong and on solid ground.
1. Learn How to Manage Finances
Have an honest talk about your finances. Discuss each other’s spending and saving habits, who handles the checking accounts and credit cards, and who pays the bills.
Make a budget. This will help prioritize finances, give spending flexibility, and help keep you debt-free. Having a financial plan will also help when you are deployed.
Debt is often the No. 1 issue that leads to marital problems. If debt is a concern, create a plan to pay it off.
2. Discuss Family Planning
Planning to grow your family is a big decision. Have an open discussion with your spouse about whether or not you both want kids. Consider your goals for the future, your careers, and your finances.
Having a strong marriage before the kids arrive is important to the overall health and wellness of your family.
3. Spend Time Together
Separation is a normal part of Guard life due to drill weekends, trainings, and deployment. But rather than focusing on the time you are apart, focus on the time you have together to create happy, lasting memories.
Schedule a weekend just for the two of you. You don’t even have to leave home! Just commit to spending the whole weekend together. Catch a movie at home or the theater, go to the park, or eat a meal together. Try these easy and low-cost healthy recipes that you can cook with one another.
4. Motivate and Support Each Other
Encourage each other to set and achieve a goal. Be each other’s biggest cheerleader!
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Open and honest communication is key for any good relationship, especially in a military marriage where there are added stressors. Both of you should feel free to express your needs, wants, and worries, and know you are being heard.
Reach out to your state or unit chaplain for confidential support on how to communicate and connect with your spouse. Chaplains understand the stresses and strains of Guard Life and offer a safe, neutral space to figure things out.
Remember, communication doesn’t just happen, it takes effort from both partners. Commit to a specific time each day to spend a few minutes with your spouse talking about the day’s events, and any concerns that may be on your mind.