As military spouses, we all struggle to keep those long lasting, deep connection friendships. But the struggle is even harder when you have a friendship with a civilian. When I was a military child I longed to have a friend that I could call my “best friend.” Unfortunately, we rarely stayed in one place for that to happen, nor was it easy trying to get all of my other friends to understand why my family traveled so much and didn’t stay put for very long. And now, even as a mother of two boys who is often alone, I yearn for a friendship that I can rely on and that can have grace and understanding.
So how do you know what your military spouse friend needs? If your friend is a military spouse, here are some things to help you understand her more. Some of these are my own and some of these are from my Valiant Mamas.
Thing 1: She will travel … even if she’s alone with multiple children and a dog.
When it comes to the holidays or even a little time off, you can bet that your military spouse friend is always traveling back home. We unfortunately do not get the luxury of having our family near us, most of the time. And most likely our spouses are not going to be with us. That’s why I always say that us military spouses are so brave. One woman from my Valiant Mamas group posted that she traveled 15 hours with her kids and a dog. Girl’s got some guts. But we have to do what we have to do. Whether it be traveling just to see our families that we haven’t seen in over a year or it’s because we’re moving for the second time in three years, we have to be brave and take chances because most of the time that’s our only option.
Thing 2: She wants your WiFi password.
Technology is a wonderful thing. But there are times that we go days or even weeks without talking to our spouse who is overseas. So, we will take any chance we get to hear from them and hear their voices. Expect us to always have our phones out, asking if you have Wi-Fi when we’re at your house. We may even text our spouses while we’re with you. Again, this may be our only opportunity for days to speak to our husbands, as rude as it may seem.'Thank you, civilian friends, for sticking it out. For being our friends during the season we are with you. For always picking up the phone. And always having us over for dinner. We couldn’t do this without you.'Click To Tweet
Thing 3: She’ll contact you often.
Sometimes it’s hard for us military spouses to make friends. We’re constantly moving. Constantly starting over, often without a huge support system around us. So, with the friends we do make, we are always asking for playdates, for coffee dates, for girl’s nights, and even time with you on the weekends when you’re spending quality time with your family. This may become annoying to a civilian friend, but understand we are looking for a long-lasting friendship. Someone we can talk to when our husbands are away. Someone we can lean on when we feel lonely. For milspouse moms, you may be their only adult conversation that day, even if it’s through text message.
Thing 4: She assumes you understand what she goes through.
This kind of coincides with the previous point. Us military spouses yearn for a support system. Whether it’s through friendships, church, mom groups, or even squadron spouse groups. But this “support system” thing is easier said than done. When we do find a friend we connect with, we tend to lean on them and almost expect them to be our family in a way. We expect them to understand what we go through. To be gracious when we text multiple times a day to take away the feeling of loneliness. To adopt us into their families when our husbands are gone. To invite us over for the holidays when our family is so far away. To be present. To be loving. To be understanding.
I know what you may be thinking. Wow, that’s a lot of pressure for one friend. These are not realistic expectations for any friend. It isn’t realistic to always be there for someone when you have your own life going on and when you barely know them. However, this is what you get when your friend is a military spouse. We need present friends when our husband is gone. We need someone to talk to when we feel lonely. We need a family to adopt us.
But when you give this much to a military spouse, you gain something as well. You gain a friend that is extremely loyal and returns all the favors that you have given her. That will love you through everything that you go through because you’ve done the same for her.
At some point in your friendship, you’ll even wonder how your milspouse friend does it all. One of those reasons is you.
Thank you, civilian friends, for sticking it out. For being our friends during the season we are with you. For always picking up the phone. And always having us over for dinner. We couldn’t do this without you.