Patience and the Military Spouse

Over the years being patient is something I have had to learn to be.  We, military spouse, spend a lot of time waiting.  We wait on orders so we can plan our lives, we wait on packers to move our stuff and then wait for it to be delivered, we wait for our husbands and wives to return from deployments and then during that time we are waiting and waiting to hear from them.  Always waiting on SOMETHING!  It can be hard to have patience when we have so much waiting to do.  But, with all my years with the Navy I think I am finally beginning to tackle this battle.  Well, “coping” might be a better term.  Here are my tips to help tackle the ever present virtue we call “patience”.

1.  Lower expectations.  When our expectations are too high we can end up disappointed.  So, if you are expecting a phone call from your deployed spouse at 5PM (because after all that is what the email said), expect it to be closer to 6.  Things happen and often beyond their control and so when the phone rings at 5:35 you are thrilled instead of angry.

2.  Keep busy with a “to do” list.  This is a great tip for when you are forced to wait on people showing up at your home.  Like contractors who are “suppose” to come and work on repairs to your storm damaged home.  Lower the expectation, make a list of things that need to be done around the house and forget about the timeline.  Keeping busy will help pass the time and you will be less likely to notice when the maintenance guy is one hour late to fix the dishwasher.

3.  Have stress coping skills.  Waiting for things like PCS orders or new of any thing military related can be very stressful.  Even if you aren’t the member.  We proudly support our spouses and always want the best for them.  But, if you are stressed it doesn’t help anyone.  Have your stress skills waiting and ready.  Things like meditation, exercise, knitting and talking with friends are good examples of this.  When you are relaxed and less stressed your patience will be better.

4.  Always be ready for the unexpected.  Nothing was more unexpected for me than our PCS to Hawaii and it being 7 months sooner than my husband’s projected rotation.  And then put a hurricane on top of that and I feel like the word “patient” hasn’t been in my vocabulary! However, with this military life things unexpected happen all the time.  So, I recovered quickly and moved forward.  Now, the only thing left to wait on is the actual move itself.

5.  Know when to walk away.   Walking away when you are losing patience is very important.  Often times I have to do this when my husband isn’t home and the kids are moving slower than normal (which is really slow, like pouring molasses out of jar slow) and I can feel the patience flying out the window along with my sanity.  Just walk away, use your one of stress relief skills and start over.

Keeping calm and patient isn’t easy for anyone really but military spouses have to have lots of it!  I do realize that sometimes it just isn’t possible and we all lose it some days and that is why wine and ladies night’s were invented.

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2 Responses to Patience and the Military Spouse

  1. Rev. Kimberleigh D. Brown-Haynes says:

    I’m so proud of you and Gresh! God bless you for going the distance in the military and doing it together!!! It’s hard enough out here in the civilian world as a wife and I, too, lived that Navy wife existence. I don’t envy you. But I do admire you, greatly. Better than that, I salute you!

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