Leaving the Military? 5 Ways to Have Your Spouse’s Back

“Babe I don’t love it like I used to. I’ve had a good career, and I’m young enough to retire and pursue what I really want to do!” – My hubby (CWO2)

YES! I attached his rank to that and here’s why… It was one of my selling points for trying to get him to stay in. His career was progressing and I had absolutely NO DESIRE to leave the Marine Corps yet. Are we even ready for retirement? Call me crazy, but I enjoy the comfort and changes.

Buuuuut I realize that HE is the one that has to get up and do the job everyday!

So it’s my job to figure out how to support him during his transition. Here’s some of the ways I’ve found that we as spouses can do that:

Respect their decision
The decision to retire from the military is a BIG one. Rather this decision came out of the blue or you’ve been pushing it on your spouse because you’re tired of the lifestyle, respect what they’ve chosen.

Go to their retirement course (Transition GPS/TAPS)
It will do you some good to be up on any transitional info that will impact your household. Find out what the topics are and choose a day to attend with them. I’d recommend going to the class on benefits. This way you both have a clear understanding and you can be present to ask any questions you may have.

Let them FREAK OUT
Maybe they were GUNG-HO for the idea. Ready to get out and even counting down the days. Most of them are tired of having their lives dictated and they want to choose their own path of success, or just do something different. But now there’s a new anxiety they have to deal with.

They have to choose their own path, and no one is there to dictate what they have to do everyday.
They may not have liked the monotony, but they didn’t have to wonder how they would make it. The military told them what to do…always. And now they have to man-up and figure it out.

So needless to say, let them have their freak out moments and give them a safe space to process their emotions. The highs AND the lows.

Flex YOUR transition muscles!
This is your time to flex those Military spouse muscles! How many times have you PCS’d, had to change your plans, gotten orders that you weren’t to fond of, or had to deal with the solo life brought on by deployments? But you DID IT!

Well… this is no different. With this whole retirement process you will probably spend a good year in transition and getting settled into what your new life will look like. You’re deciding where you want to permanently live, what’s best for the kids, rather or not to go back home or put down roots elsewhere. Then there’s finding employment. Where will you all find the best jobs?

The point I’m stressing is that we have to EXPECT all of this and be intentional about not allowing it to get the best of your relationship.

Believe in them
It can be SUPER scary to leave the comforts of what you’ve known for the last 20years. Our spouses may put up a brave front but when the cracks in their armor are exposed, we have to FILL them! Use reassuring words like:

  • “You can do this!”
  • “We’ll do whatever it takes to make things work.”
  • “You’re so strong!”
  • “The kids and I love you so much!”
  • “You’re still our HERO!”
  • “We’ll figure this out TOGETHER!”

What would YOU add to this list of ways to support your retiree?

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