I am being compensated for this post as part of the Operation In Touch Brand Ambassador Program via MSB New Media. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’m talking about love. The love that exists behind a strong couple. Because I’m a military spouse, I’m talking about strong military couples.
Strong couples come from strong individuals. Strong individuals are secure with themselves and, therefore, succeed in a relationship. Solid relationships are dependent on two people’s understanding, love, trust, and appreciation of each other. It’s falling in love with the person who makes you smarter, better, stronger… and then taking on military life together.
Here are 15 Things Strong Military Couples Do Differently.
1) They understand the contract
If you’re in the relationship long enough, you’ll hear the following phrases: “Mission First”, I gotta do what I gotta do”, “Needs of the [Insert branch]”, “if the military wanted you to have a spouse, they would have issued you one.” As much as military life can get out of their control, strong military couples have to be flexible and adjust to whatever the military throws at them. Someone (or both of you) signed a contract with Uncle Sam and sometimes that can trump your personal lives. Strong couples learned to adapt and overcome.
2) They always put in effort into making it work
Even the strongest of couples know that relationships take work. Sometimes A LOT of work. As much as Hollywood tries to spin it, military life isn’t a fairy tale.
Strong military couples put forth an effort every day. They are grateful for their partner, make room for growth, and say “I love you” and mean it because they never know when they will be separated again.
3) They don’t go through each other’s phones
If you have the urge to go through your partner’s phone, stop yourself and ask why? Do you not trust him or her? Because once you start prying into each other’s phones, all trust goes out the window. Military life is bound to put some distance between you two sometimes and you have to be able to maintain that trust.
Also, don’t text something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying aloud to your partner and you won’t find yourself apologizing later.
4) They enjoy other interests
Secure couples don’t need to be with one another all of the time. They both know it’s important to still maintain their independence and outside interests.
Your partner wants to enjoy his/her own life and for you to do the same. I don’t need to enjoy golf just because he does. (I tried, I hated it). He doesn’t need to enjoy dancing (more dance space for me!)
5) They never deliberately try to make the other person jealous
When you’re in a solid relationship in which you receive enough attention and care, you shouldn’t feel the need to seek it out more attention.
Keeping your partner guessing is one thing thing, but keeping your partner guessing about your level of commitment is a no-go. Jealousy breeds insecurity, and that’s does not make a successful relationship.
6) They don’t compete with each other
Challenging your partner is one thing. Competing with your partner is another. When you challenge your partner, both of you develop as better people; When you complete, someone has to lose.
It’s not about who had it rougher during deployment or whose career is better. It’s about selflessly making each other happy.
7) They don’t enter into “social media” relationships.
You’ve seen it before. Some couples change their relationship status just about every 24 hours on Facebook. Or they constantly upload “we-re-in-love-couples-selfie”, only to be followed by a “guess-what-i’m-single-selfie” a week later, and repeat.
Sure it’s a nice thing to announce to your social media “friends” (and I used that term loosely) but if your relationship lives and dies by social media, you guys probably aren’t mature enough to have a real relationship.
8) They try not to pick on each other’s flaws
In an organization that prides itself on perfection and flawlessness, the military can sure drum up feelings of inadequacy. Strong couples know the other person’s weaknesses, and rather than putting their partners down for it, they try to step in and help.
He might be horrible at asking for help and you might be bad at organizing. But you two make it work because you’ve lean on each other for support.
9) They aren’t trying to the make the other person something he or she is not
You fell in love with one another for a reason, not for a project. Happy partners are in love with the real people in front of them. Does this mean you both can’t change and grow as people? Absolutely not.
But secure couples know who they are in a relationship with and they don’t worry about the things they CAN’T change.
10) They know when to leave military life at the door
With military life, some things are bound to spill over into home life. Strong military couples know their lives involve the military but it’s not ALL ABOUT the military. They know when the time is right to leave the boots and the cover at the door and talk about the things that matter in life.
11) They are honest with each other
You’re a strong couple because you build up each other’s strength and got there together. That means being honest with each other, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
Sometimes, I don’t want to acknowledge the fact that I’ve gained a few pounds and that my diet is horrible. Then my partner says to me “We need to focus on our health and fitness for our future and our son’s.” Polite, but it still gets the picture across.
12) They don’t need to keep contact 24/7
Strong couples don’t need constant contact. They aren’t consumed with what the other person is doing or talking to or eating at or working on.There has to be a balance in checking in with each other vs text-stalking.
For instance, I know my husband’s at work. I know he’s busy with inspections. I will not try to text him every 5 minutes or check his IG or Facebook.
13) They don’t hang out with only each other
Just because you spend every minute together doesn’t mean you have a solid relationship. The ability to separate from one another can makes your bond even stronger. It can be hard when military couples PCS frequently and have to start a new social circle. But you both have to plant down some separate roots even temporarily.
Seriously, think about THAT couple that can’t be without the other person. Like they can’t even go to a girls night or guys night without their partner tagging along. It’s just as important to keep your outside relationships as it is to maintain your romantic relationship.
14) They won’t get mad without explaining why
Being passive-aggressive is never a good way to let someone know you’re angry. Successful couples are able to speak up, and talk honestly about how they are feeling without being afraid of how the other person will react. A strong military couple will then hash it out and try to find the solution.
15) They don’t judge the relationship against other couples
When you compare, there is always a winner and a loser. Military couples who start comparing their relationship with another couple’s may have some insecurities they’re not addressing. It doesn’t matter if this couple makes more money, or has more free time, or has better-behaved kids.
Strong military couples are strong because they don’t base their value on how they measure up to the outside world. They focus on themselves and know that’s all that matters.
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photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery cc altered by JD Collins