Dear New Spouse,
Welcome to one of the biggest and best families you will ever be a part of. I cannot promise you that you will love every place you live at, or that it will not be without tears, stress, or sacrifice. But what I can promise you is that you will find some of your best friends within this community, you will have some good stories to tell later, and it will be an adventure that you will not forget.
You will find that everyone will be quick to help guide you on the best neighborhoods, preferred schools, and even what to bring as a hostess gift or the appropriate dress code for events. But there are certain things that people do not like to discuss, or do not want to have the conversation about. If I can give you advice to start this journey, it would be this:
Find some friends – Yes, I know you may not like where you were sent to live, and may have gone kicking and screaming, but you will need a person or two. Someone you can call on in an emergency or vent to, and when deployment comes, a person you can lean on. Take it from someone who tried to do it all alone, it sucks. Find a someone to be friends with.
Have your affairs in order – This is one of those things that no one likes to talk about, but is so important. We are still a country involved in hostile conflict and training accidents do happen. You do not want to be that person getting the knock on the door and not knowing what needs to happen. Take the time to have the discussion with your spouse, and visit JAG to se up a will, medical directive and POA if needed.
News – If your spouse is deployed or on a rotation somewhere, one of the worst things you can do is watch the news. They usually show the most heated and scary scenes of an isolated incident and is not true representation of where your spouse may be. Also know that no news can be good news. Communication blackouts can happen for any number of reasons. If you cannot get a hold of your spouse or have not heard from do not fret yet. Keep in mind that most notifications to next of kin happen within the first 24 hours, if it has been longer take a breath and take walk.
Get Out – Besides watching the news nonstop, another bad habit is staying in. Get Out! Take a walk, grab a cup of coffee, enjoy reading a book at the park, or stroll the aisles of Target and Hobby Lobby. Whatever it is that brings you joy, get out of the house and do it.
OPSEC and PERSEC – You will hear this continuously thrown around – Operational Security and Personal Security. In short it means be mindful of what you say and to who. In short you should not openly discuss or post to social media anything that is sharing locations, times, units, or movement that is happening. I know it can be tempting to post the goodbye pic, the homecoming ceremony, or the, “Hey, we’re moving,” I know, I have done it. Its not wrong to want to post these things, but it is highly advised that you delay in doing so (such as waiting until the unit as posted on their page that they arrived at their location, etc.). If you have questions on if something is ok to share, reach out to your unit PAO who can assist on the right and wrong of it.
Enjoy the adventure – You are about to embark on an amazing adventure. While we may go to the new location pouting and dragging our feet, keep in mind that it is only temporary and, in a few years, you will be moving someplace else. Take the time to try and enjoy each location, meet a friend along the way and enjoy the adventure.
Its about to be a whirlwind of excitement and chaos. Breathe. You have got this. And always know that the spouses who have been around for a bit are always here to help you!
A Spouse Who Was Once the New One Too