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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7 thoughts on “What to Do When You’re Struggling With Life as a Military Wife”

  1. I am an infertile military wife with a career who is trying to find a way to make my marriage work. Articles like these are not at all helpful. I can’t have children. I am never going to be a mother. The entire military spouse culture seems to consist of having babies and staying home. I don’t belong here. The constant conflict between our careers makes me miserable. I have given up so much that I don’t even know who I am anymore. The only thing that is still mine is my work. The more articles like this that I read, the more convinced I am that I never should’ve gotten married and my husband would be better off without me.

    1. You are important to your husband and a welcomed spouse to the group. I would kill to have a friend that doesnt have kids. I have two kids amd love them but sometimes I just want to be me and not mommy. Don’t ever feel lije you arent enough. Some commands have lots of kids and some dont. You will find your place and a group you are comfortable in.

  2. Yes, this article has been getting lots of negative comments on what it’s like to be a military wife! Someone should rewrite it so it’s more helpful and current.

    Perhaps you could give me more helpful tips for military wives who are struggling with their marriages, and I could update the article. I welcome your thoughts!

    1. Let women know that they are doing the best they can. Understand that childcare is not affordable or easy to find. That we need resources and ways to find people to talk to when we feel isolated. That it is ok to hate ypur husband’s job and still love him. This is just to name a few.

  3. This is the worst advice on being a military wife I’ve ever heard. I’m sick of of military wives constantly being told to just suck it up and that our husband’s job is more important than the needs of our families or, god forbid, ourselves. It’s incredibly insensitive and out of touch. This expectation (from other wives!) to be completely submissive and sacrificial is the reason I avoid other military spouses and activities. It is still the 1950s in the military spouse world. Ridiculous.

  4. sharon, I completely agree with you. After being in the military myself for over 4 years, I decided to quit but to continue my relationship with a military man. We eventually got engaged, but I decided to end it before we got married. Life as a military wife or girlfriend is extremely difficult. Chosing to live your life fully, to chase your own dreams, to maintain stable relationships with friends and family and to have your own career does not make you selfish (”You need to put your husband above the discomforts (…)”) or too stubborn to let go of the naive vision of life you used to have, it’s about being as free and happy as you can be. We women need to start embracing life, and not someone else’s.

  5. I have to say that i find this article VERY disturbing!..

    Should you not be reassuring these millitary wives that they are ALREADY doing their best for their children & their husbands??!.

    After all it is them that has to deal with the hubby being away, juggling a job/childcare & feelings of isolation or whatever etc with kids in tow. Some of them have NO one to turn to because their husband has CHOSEN to be away from them!.

    You put these men on a pedal stool but the truth of the matter is, it is THEM who has made that choice in the first place. Millitary wives just have to go along with it. Putting their own career on hold & sacrificing the closeness of being around their own friends & family for the sake of their husband.

    I’m sorry but I think you are VERY wrong to be telling these women they ought to be thankful etc to their husbands for choosing this career path. Its the millitary husband who should have the utter most respect for their wives, who on a daily basis live with the burden of living with their husbands career choice!. HELLO WE ARE NOW IN THE 21st CENTURY..WOMEN HAVE JUST AS MUCH OF A RIGHT TO LIVE AS MEN..