Military Books for Your Military Relationship (Part 1)

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Last night, I received this awesome message in my Facebook inbox from Lori. 

Hi Jo,

My name is Lori and I came across your blog / FB page through another blogger’s site. I read your write up on her blog and in it you mentioned that you’d read up on deployment and had ordered books through Amazon. I was wondering if you could please share the titles of some of those books with me? I’d really appreciate it if you could and I hope you’re having a great week so far. Great job on your blog and this page and thank you for sharing your deployment journey!!


For a long time, I’ve been thinking about doing a run-down of every book I read to prepare myself for John’s deployment. And it seems like now’s the perfect time! 
I do not come from a military family and up until dating John, had very little contact with anything military. I didn’t really know what to do, or expect, or even, really, how to act. (Except, you know, cry. I’m a champion crier.) I’ve always been a voracious reader — go figure why I’m an English teacher– and so I turned to books and research.
Because I read so many books, I’m going to break this post up into a very short series. Feel free to agree or disagree, and please add the books that you’ve read! I know that I didn’t read them all! Both books that you found helpful and ones that you found absolutely annoying and obnoxious are welcome!
A Family’s Guide to the Military for Dummies
by Sheryl Garrett and Sue Hoppin
I bought this one as a reference book. As much as much as John and are going to try to be as “normal” as possible, there are definitely things about military life I’ve just got to be informed and knowledgeable about. (Including that annoying No-PDA-Including-Hand-Holding-in-Uniform rule.) I would not recommend reading it cover-to-cover. I tried on a Friday night and I ended up waking up on  it Saturday morning. There may or may not be a drool stain on  the cover. Ew. In summation, as a reference, it’s the most comprehensive book on the military I own. It’s also the most boring book on the military I own.

by Elaine Gray Dumler

If you want 212 ideas for how to stay connected with someone on deployment, this is your book. The book offers practical suggestions for all of the phases of deployment– pre-to-post. Of all of the books I’ve read on deployment, I’m Already Home… Again had, by far, the most useful and concrete ideas for communication during deployment. It’s a great jumping-off point for your own ideas, especially if you’re preparing for or going through your first deployment.
Married to the Military: A Survival Guide for Military Wives, Girlfriends, and Women in Uniform
by Meredity Leyva

This was one of the two books that I highlighted during my rampage through military spouse books. I most appreciated that it was both objective and informative. As someone who was a little overwhelmed and (is still) intimidated by everything military, I really enjoyed that it focused on nuts-and-bolts things like military protocol and hierarchies.  Two other gigantic pluses? One, the book is written for anyone in a military relationship and is much more inclusive than a lot of the books I picked up. Two, the non-military partner in the relationship isn’t represented as a second-class citizen. I would definitely buy this book again, and I’m sure I will be thumbing through it after John and I get married.
Coming up… magical pitchers that stop adultery! (Yes, you read that correctly!) Stay tuned!

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25 Responses

  1. These would be a great resource for new couples or for a new spouse in a unit. So helpful for those not familiar with the military lifestyle.

    1. I agree! I have found so much more worth in the books that are more like reference manuals than narratives about living a military lifestyle!

  2. I wonder if my mom would be insulted if I gave her that “For Dummies” book. I feel like I spend my life trying to explain stuff to her and she always gives me a look like she thinks I’m making some of it up! Well, truth be told, parts of it she understands pretty well. She’s a doctor, so she understands getting called into work and having time off that isn’t really time off the way most people think about it, but there’s still a lot that confuses her!

    1. I don’t think the Dummies title would be insulting at all. It’s really a very comprehensive look at everything military, and I’m sure it would help her understand your perspective!

  3. And one thing to keep in mind, is by the time they are published, some of the info maybe outdated. Overall, all are great books! I also enjoyed Chicken Soup for the Military Spouse, it made me laugh and cry and love even more this amazing military family we have.

    1. Absolutely, Lori. You are very right! I haven’t seen the Chicken Soup book– I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the heads-up!

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