Positive communication with your partner is important, no matter what stage of life you are in.
And being in a military relationship is a pretty unique experience. (Here’s what I’ve learned so far.)
There will be many things that are simply out of yours and your partners’ control. Where you live, when you can talk on the phone… I could go on.
These things can put a huge strain on a relationship, but they definitely don’t have to destroy it.
Learning important communication skills will benefit your relationship now AND in the long run!
Just like you want to be heard, hear them.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is one of my favorite quotes to live by, which is the 5th habit in the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book.
This basically means that before you make assumptions, or even before you try to make your point known, LISTEN.
Listen to the meaning behind their words.
Listen to their words with the intent to understand, not to respond. This can result in more meaningful and honest communication.
Speaking of honesty, DO IT!
It might be easy to say now and then hard to do in the moment, but it really is worth it.
Relationships are built on trust. So being honest is truly a foundational aspect to all healthy and positive relationships.
If you are worried about their safety in their specific job, tell them. You may learn that it isn’t as risky as you previously thought. Or it may open another conversation into how you’ll handle it together.
If you are missing them a lot while they are gone, there is NOTHING wrong with telling them. If anything, it helps them to know they are loved and missed.
Being honest can sometimes be really difficult. And usually it’s because we are worried we will hurt them with our words.
Find a way to be honest and kind without diluting how you are feeling or how important it is to you.
Obviously, there will be times where you will approach a topic or request with incredible kindness.
But sometimes, words can get thrown around that are hard to hear.
If you can tell that they had a difficult time telling you something, start off with “thank you for telling me. I see that it was difficult for you”.
They are just as much human as you are. Just like you would want empathy, offer it back.
Yes, talking is literally the key to communication. But I mean discussing, not arguing.
When it comes to things within the military, you need to be on the same team.
For example, instead of fighting about how they stayed at work longer than normal, talk about what make them late. (They may not have had a choice anyways.)
When you get stationed at a base that is less than ideal, talk about what you are feeling. Anxious? Excited? Nervous?
Having a conversation instead of a fight is not only a way better way to communicate, but it shows to your partner that you are willing to understand their viewpoint and feelings.
Body language can sometimes say way more than words.
Do your best to face them while they talk. Avoid distractions such as phone use.
Lets say I try talking with my husband, and he is sitting down, arms crossed, eyes rolling, and shaking his head. It will be hard for me to feel heard and respected.
Disregarding your partners intent to communicate with you is hurtful, and most likely will cause to you feel bad in the end as well.
Slow to Blame
Really, placing blame has no place in a relationship. Unless something truly wrong or bad has happened, blaming the other person gets you no where.
Instead, find out why they acted the way they did. Ask (kindly) what motivated them, what they were feeling, and how you would like things to change next time.
And again, in the military, neither of you have much control over things.
Blaming your partner for your new duty station is pointless. Or blaming them for the required deployment they are asked to go on.
Often, playing the blame game is unfair and unproductive.
Work as a team to solve problems instead of creating unnecessary ones.
These practices take time to develop if you aren’t already doing them.
Give yourself grace! Trying to reach these goals is what matters, not being perfect.
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