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3 Things All Military Families Can Do When Loving Your Soldier Gets Tough

Family, Love

It can be hard but it is TOTALLY worth it.

There is no greater honor than when your partner joins the armed forces

Whether they join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or any branch of the military, you can't help but feel this overwhelming sense of pride that the person you love chooses to risk their life to defend our country.

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And there is also nothing more terrifying.

You are, of course, scared of what could potentially happen to the person you love. On top of that, you probably don't know how to be a military family just yet.

Long distance relationships are hard, even at the best of times, but even more so when it involves someone in the military.

How do you raise your children to feel like both parents are a part of their lives?

How do you love someone who lives in a world completely different from your own?

How do you make sure that your partner overseas feels like they have your love and are a part of your family?

Don't worry: you are not alone in your fears.

There are thousands of military families like your own, with more than 2 million children in the US alone that have had a parent deployed since 2001.

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So Senior VP of YourTango Experts, Melanie Gorman, asked a group of relationship Experts — including Sharon Davis, Stan TatkinNancy Dreyfus, and Chris Shea — what their best advice is to these military husbands and wives.

Our Experts offered 3 things every family can do for those moments when loving a member of the armed forces is at its hardest:

 

1. Understand that your partner is in a totally different world, one you cannot understand.

This is the hardest thing you can do because even if we try, it's impossible to be able to fully appreciate what it's like to live in a war zone.

Yes, it's ok to feel frustrated and scared when your partner suddenly drops the phone in the middle of a conversation without so much as a goodbye. And yes, in the normal world that would be rude.

But your partner isn't in the normal world. For them, there is no extra second to say, "I have to go" or, "Talk to you later". That extra second can literally be the difference between life and death.

It's important to have a support system so you can reach out in these moments, and have someone who has been through it who can sympathize, as they gently remind you that it is not your partner's fault, allowing you to release any resentment you feel towards your love.

 

2. Accept that what you feel is normal.

When we experience a withdrawal of interest, we tend to feel an immediate sense of shame. We may even unintentionally take that feeling out on those around us.

Which is totally normal ... but not necessarily healthy. Getting angry at your kids — because you feel bad that you're so angry that your partner didn't call on Friday night like he promised he would — isn't going to solve anything.

In fact, it will only make you feel worse.

Find a support group or speak with a therapist about what it is that is bothering you and how you feel.

Children are more perceptive than adults tend to give them credit for. If you leave your frustrations to boil and fester, it might teach your children to resent the parent who made you feel this way when, in reality, it's just your shame talking.

Your emotions are not wrong. You just need to channel them properly.

 

3. Find ways to incorporate your partner into your everyday lives.

Try to find ways to Skype or send videos, even leaving videos messages if you can't always schedule a time for a live chat. Send your loved one care packages full of photographs and drawings and delicious tastes of home.

If that's not possible — and it isn't for everyone — create memory boxes.

If you and the kids go to the park to play, have them gather some leaves, have them write what they did and take some pictures that you can put in a box, and when he/she gets home, you can all look at them together and they feel like a part of everything you do.

 

It's hard to love someone when they are far away. It's something only the strongest and the fiercest of families can do.

But it is totally worth it.

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Just remember: your partner will come home and, until then, you are not alone.

 

If you or your partner is having trouble coping with a partner overseas, figuring out how to be a military family, or any other relationship problem please visit the websites of  Sharon, StanNancy, and Chris directly. They’re here to help.

 

 

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