What to Do When You’re Struggling With Life as a Military Wife

If you love your husband but hate what deployment is doing to your marriage, you may find comfort and support in these tips for military wives. Don’t give your husband’s job in the army, navy, or US Marines Corps power to destroy your relationship.

These tips are inspired by a reader’s comment…

“I have been married for 10 years and have three boys ages 8, 5 and 17 months,” says R. on 6 Signs Your Marriage is Over – and How to Cope With the Future. “My husband is in the United States Marines and I am very proud of him and love him with all my heart. Recently I took my children on vacation without him since he could not get time off. We haven’t seen eye to eye since we returned, as I didn’t want to come back to this duty station. I don’t have any friends here and nor do my children. Everyone leaves and we are still here.”

First, you might find it helpful to accept that you married a military man. You vowed to love him for better or for worse…and moving from station to station is part of the “worse.” Deployment is hard on marriage – but so is infertility, illness, and toxic in-laws! Most married couples have something that makes marriage challenging.

Here are a few more tips for military wives who dislike uprooting their lives – and their children’s lives – because of their husband’s deployments…

When You Don’t Like Being a Military Wife…

First, the rest of R’s comment:

“I haven’t been treating my husband the way I should. He says I don’t respect him or his job. Now, he doesn’t come home and won’t answer my phone calls. He hasn’t seen the children. I still really love and want to be friends with my husband again, not only for our children but for us. He is going for a year away on deployment in January 2012. I want to get through these 5 months without fighting and arguing. How do I do it and what advice do you have? I have hurt him and I don’t think he believes me when I say I’m sorry. I don’t know what the solution is. Please help.”

Embrace the life of military wife

I’m afraid I have to side with your husband on this one! You married a marine whose life involves constantly moving, new deployments, and upheavals in your family life. This man is the father of your children and the love of your life…and you need to put him, his deployment, and your marriage above the discomfort of having to live in duty stations you don’t like.

Here’s what one army wife says – I love this:

“Repeated deployments and constant moving are hard on military family life,” says Crissy in US Army Wife Strong! “In a society where more than half of all civilian marriages end in divorce, it’s understandable that a military marriage – so full of potential for excitement and fulfillment – can crumple. The process can prove frustrating and emotional, not to mention financially taxing. I always know that we both have to stay strong, and as long as my husband serves in the US Military I know there is another deployment looming around the corner. So it is very important that whatever problems we have work them out way ahead of time. Life is always throwing us curve balls and we have to learn to overcome and adapt.”

That’s the type of spouse everyone needs! Supportive, positive, realistic, and determined to make marriage work. Crissy’s tips for military wives aren’t just for military wives – her words apply to all married couples.

If you feel like your husband loves his army, navy, or marine work more than he loves you, read How to Increase Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Connect with other military wives – especially positive, strong ones

You’re not the only wife who hates having to move to new deployments because of her husband’s job! I suspect most military families dislike the constant moving around, making new friends, adjusting to new teachers, learning how to live in new cities, etc.

If you don’t have any friends at this duty station and you can’t see yourself being friends with anyone there, then make friends in other ways. Some stations are in or near cities or towns; can you take fitness classes or adult education courses there?

If there is absolutely no way to make friends at your husband’s duty station, then make friends online. Search the internet for “military wife blogs” or “marine family forums” or “how to be happy as an army wife.” It doesn’t matter if you can’t find a blog run by a US Marine’s wife – just find an active, supportive, busy website that brings military wives together. Talking about how deployment affects your marriage can help you cope.

Remember that “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”

Wives set the tone for the family. If you’re unhappy, negative, and complaining about constantly having to move to new stations or having a husband who is leaving on deployment, then you’ll infect your family. You need to find ways to be happy as the wife of a US Marine, instead of fighting his job and disrupting your marriage.

You have the power to create a happy, healthy marriage and family life. But, you need to unleash your power in the right direction.

Help for Military Wives Who Need Encouragement

tips for military wives marriageIn Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives is the bestselling book on military families, and it’s received almost 70 five star reviews. You’re not the only wife of a marine or military man who needs daily strength, encouragement, and support!

In Daily Encouragement for Military Wives, Jocelyn Green speaks to the wives of deployed soldiers, airmen, seamen, and marines through the experiences of their spouses. This book is not “ten easy steps” for a painless life; instead, it is a collection of devotions that squarely addresses the challenges wives face when their husbands are away protecting freedom, challenges like:

  • How does a military wife maintain a strong sense of patriotism without allowing her country to become an idol?
  • What good can possibly come from moving every two or three years?
  • How can I be sure that God has a purpose for my life that’s as strong as His purpose for my husband’s?

The foundation of this devotional is the unchanging character of God and the anchor of Jesus Christ, even amidst the shifting circumstances of a military family.

If you’re struggling with your military marriage, get as much support as possible. I’m a big fan of books (especially devotionals) because they offer insight and wisdom. You might also reach out to other military wives in your church or community, and get the support and advice you need.

What do you think of these tips for marriage and deployment? Comments welcome below…I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience of being a military wife.


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