By OSD Communications Specialist Bailey Patton Brackin
Whether they are a neighbor, family member, or just go to your gym, you probably have at least a few military spouses in your life. And if you have spent any time getting to know them, you understand that being a military spouse is not an easy job. Life in the military typically takes them far from their home and family support system. And between deployments and TDYs, they are often left to navigate new cities alone. It can be lonely and even isolating at times.
Maybe you have thought about trying to lend a hand, but are unsure where to start. We got you covered! Here are six simple ways you can support, encourage, and help the military spouses in your life.
- Include them. Making friends is hard and military spouses have to do it often. Invite them to church, to coffee, or to your gym. Let them know they are welcome and included. Again, most military spouses don’t live close to family, so they rely on friends and neighbors to be their makeshift family.
- Share about your city. This is super helpful when a military spouse first arrives. Make a list of your favorite restaurants, fun things to do in your city, best gyms in the area, etc. Of course, they can Google all of this, but having personal recommendations is way more helpful.
- Call. Military life can be lonely and difficult at times. A simple phone call just to check in lets them know they aren’t alone.
- Hire a military spouse. Unemployment/underemployment are huge barriers for military spouses. In fact, the unemployment rate for military spouses is approximately 4 times higher than the national average. Military spouses make great employees and many hold advanced degrees, but constant movement makes career progression difficult and forces them to leave jobs and spend significant time searching for new ones.
- Send a care package. Care packages aren’t just for military members, it can mean a lot for a spouse to get something in the mail. Fill a box or basket with a few of their favorite things and let them know you were thinking of them. This is a great way to care for your military spouse friend or family member that doesn’t live in the same city as you.
- Open your home during holidays. Often times Military spouses are not able to go home for the holidays and preparing a big meal for just their family can feel overwhelming. An invitation to join a holiday meal or celebration means a lot. And don’t just think about it at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Send them an invite to Easter brunch or your 4th of July BBQ. Being with people on holidays makes strange places feel more like home.