Most military families don’t have the luxury of living in the same neighborhood, town, state, or sometimes country as their extended families or close friends. It can sometimes make for some lonely days…especially when your service member is deployed or gone for an extended period of time.
When my husband re-enlisted and we moved to our first duty station, I was pregnant with my first daughter. I felt like I was the size of a house, I was new to military life, and quite frankly I was scared to pieces. For the first time, I was a 12-hour drive from all my family and friends.
And although I always considered myself a friendly person, I was not in a rush to get out in this new world and make a group of girlfriends. When training took my husband away time and time again, I felt lonely and depressed. It was a difficult time. Eventually, I did make a few friends, and when that first deployment to Iraq in 2003 came, they were my lifeline. Thus began the valuable lesson about making friends in the military.
I found out very quickly that a major key to thriving (and not just surviving) life as a military spouse would be some key friendships. I truly believe there are 5 friends that every military spouse NEEDS to have in his/her life. If you are really lucky you will have a few who fit into several or all of these categories at once:
5) A MENTOR
I once heard someone say, “If you do not desire to become more like a person, be wary of taking their advice.” I have lots of friends who may have lifestyles I wouldn’t choose. They have a different set of beliefs or even very different ideas about life in general. I enjoy their company, we have a great time together and I cherish their role in my life. But they may not be the folks I turn to for advice or when I am looking for inspiration or motivation. A good mentor is someone who is in a place you hope to be someday. They’re willing to share with you the truth about their journey. A good mentor can be an absolute lifesaver for a military spouse. He or she has “been there, done that” and is stronger and more resilient as a result. Find a good mentor… then be smart enough to really listen to their words and learn by their actions.