This guest post is written today by Dwayne Paro, author of The Empowered Veteran.
Transitioning from the military is not just about the service member themselves. This is a process that includes the entire family unit. Each member of the family plays a very critical and important role in the process of transition, much like they did during service. The military spouse is a key element to the success of any transition. They are the unsung heroes in the lives of every married member of the military. When the military spouse takes the vows of marriage they are signing up to something greater than a typical marriage. They know they will spend weeks and sometimes months without their partner, leading to them being solely responsible for the family unit.
The military spouse will go through the same exact transition phases as the military member. They will be leaving a life of something they have grown, in most cases, to love and understand. This will lead them into the vast land of the unknown, which will touch on many areas that they are in charge of: schooling for the kids, healthcare for the family, housing, where to shop for common needs, support network of other spouses and neighbors, recreation options and so forth. They will feel totally responsible for reestablishing all of these in an effort to ease the effects of the transition on the military member and their children.
The military children will be affected in similar ways. They will be leaving a school they may love, a community of friends and support, a way of life not always understood by others who have not been part of a military family, not knowing how they will be accepted where they move, etc.
Below are some key areas to keep in mind as you move forward as a family unit.
- You must take the time to research your options, take a positive approach to understanding any limitations or perceived obstacles.
- Ensure everyone has a role in researching and expressing their thoughts and desires to be considered as the future unfolds.
- Start early and make it part of your daily routine to ensure you do due diligence to all areas.
Family Vision and Goals
- Take the time to sit down as a family unit and draw out what you want your future to look like. Be bold and open to the possibilities.
- Create goals that will allow everyone in the family unit to work towards this vision and review them regularly to ensure they still make sense or adjust if needed.
- Celebrate the success and know it will be tough, for everyone.
- Knowing all great things come from a journey filled with peaks and valleys, you will need to be each other’s cheerleader to push each other forward in an encouraging and supportive way.
- Step back and understand where each other is coming from and be that ear each will need to express concerns and fears.
- Keep your faith in the process and your future in the forefront, have more faith than fear!
Open and Honest
- Hide nothing in the process, ensure that there is a safe and accepting environment for all members to voice their concerns and give no reason to hold back potential issues.
- Openness will be key to settling into the new normal; understanding that the military member, spouse and children all have a different experience and point of view from the past.
Remember you have been through many transitions in your life and will go through many more. This is a new chapter in your life and a time to honor the amazing past you lived while moving forward in an empowering and fulfilling way. Don’t get lost in the fog of transition and know that there are resources available and people ready to support. Be willing to look for and do more than the local Transition Assistance Program, the more resources you can utilize the better.
Landmark Life Coaching’s (www.landmarklifecoaching.com) Mission is to honorably and respectfully serve courageous groundbreakers and transitioning veterans to persevere in defining and executing their future by providing an atmosphere of camaraderie and trust that honors their dedication and commitment. This will empower our clients to feel whole, honored, respected and fulfilled in defining and living their life purpose.