The One Thing a Military Relationship Needs for Survival

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I’ve yet to meet a military spouse who hasn’t– at on point or another– wished for better times. It was awesome when he was on shore dutyIf only we didn’t have this deployment coming up. We’re just waiting for orders to come through.

But really, there is no perfect moment. There is no perfect time. You will always hope for better times, more stable times, or for other plans to come through. But it doesn’t mean that you have to put your life on hold or that it isn’t possible to have a really strong relationship despite all of the craziness that military life can throw at us.

And it starts with one characteristic.

EVERYONE needs this one character trait in their relationship. military spouse, milpouse, milso (1)


Here it is.

Every military (or civilian, for that matter) relationship needs mutual commitment.

It’s vitally important, and often something that I see missing from the desperate emails that I receive from my wonderful readers. There’s often a disparity– their partner isn’t totally committed to making the relationship work. They expect the writer to make all of the sacrifices, to show all of the love, and to do all of the supporting without the cozy, warm blanket of true commitment. The emails often beg me for ideas to make life more exciting for their service member, to make them more interesting so that the service member won’t leave them or won’t cheat.

That’s not a relationship. That’s being an emotional hostage.

You literally don’t need anything else for a relationship to work. As long as both people involved are totally committed to making a relationship work, it will.

When you’re committed to another person, you won’t get distracted. Not by another person. Not by another idea. Not by the obstacles that are in your path.

EVERYONE needs this one character trait in their relationship. military spouse, milpouse, milso (3)

You see each other as vitally important. You see your relationship as vitally important. And you’re both committed to doing whatever needs to be done to nurture that relationship and stay attached to that person. You’re committed to doing everything that needs to be done to grow that relationship. And when it is damaged– which it inevitably will be– you are committed to fixing and healing it together. When you and your partner are committed, it’s a whole lot easier to focus on all of the other things that make up a relationship: communication, honesty, trust. The list goes on.

And commitment, too makes it so much easier to deal with obstacles and hardships that the military so often throws our way. Total commitment means that you don’t have to worry about what your partner is doing on the other side of the world, and it means that they don’t have to worry about what your’e doing. It means that you’re both working towards the same goals and that you’ve committed to being on the same page with each other.

Do you agree– is commitment the most important thing a military relationship needs to work? Or is there another equally (or more important) characteristic? Let me know– I want to hear your thoughts.


5 Responses

  1. I totally agree, and I’d also add trust. You can be committed to someone but if you can’t trust that person it’s bound to cause issues. You and your partner must trust each other and both must be committed to making things work.

  2. Completely agree! Total commitment does make everything easier. Demonstrating that “totalness” is a bit more complicated.

    I think we must remember to give credit for the partner who has doubts but sticks around to work it through. And the partner who gets derailed but works hard to get back on track. And a hundred other small ways people show commitment even if they disagree, have doubts or are dealing with external issues.

  3. I couldn’t agree more! Like all marriages, my marriage has its issues, but my husband and I are committed to making it work. And that commitment helps us tremendously. We both do everything we can to work as a team and work through the issues as they come up and because of that, we’re a much stronger couple.

  4. Commitment, while a vital part, is nothing without communication. Both parties can be “all in” but if they don’t communicate, in whatever capacity they are able, any relationship (military or civilian) won’t stand a chance. Speaking from experience, it doesn’t matte if it’s just a “good morning, love you”, that small communication can go so far towards easing the down days and bridge the gap when you CAN’T talk. This goes both ways too. Yes, your service member is away but they need that too. I don’t know how many times during his first deployment my husband said to me “I don’t care what you say, I just want to read something from you. It sucks being away and when I can’t talk to you, I can at least hear your voice while I read”. The stupidest phrase I think I have ever heard is “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. That couldn’t be more false. Absence makes a bond, no matter how strong it once was, weaker. We may have to be physically separate, but we don’t EVER have to be 100% apart. Modern technology is an amazing thing. Use it.

    1. I totally agree with you and I hope and pray my son and daughter-in-law take advantage of this technology when he is deployed in February I think he said…
      From where I set it appears they are very happy.

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