If you are a service member or a spouse or dependent of a service member you already know many of the challenges that go into keeping a healthy and intact family during military service. Adjusting to deployments, workups, trainings, 24-hour duty shifts, all of this can take a huge toll on the family in different ways. It can sometimes be challenging to see how each member of the family is impacted by these stressors. Military counseling can help service members, as well as their loved ones.
Military Couples Therapy: Strengthen Your Connection
As the service member you might be sad and disappointed to not be able to see your family as much as you would like. You might feel overburdened working a long day and coming home to have to care for children and take care of household tasks. And as the spouse or partner you might feel lonely and sad to not see your partner as much as you had hoped. This can lead to feeling resentful of the military, or of the career your partner has chosen in general. All of these are normal feelings and experiences and it becomes important for each partner to be able to share those feelings and have them received by the other partner. Military counseling can help both partners understand their feelings and express them more effectively.
This also makes compromise and teamwork all the more important. It’s not uncommon for a military therapist to see an active duty service member “check-out” from the family as they feel they are not providing adequately based on the feedback they might get from their partner. This might lead to them picking up more work and staying away from home in order to “not have to deal with” the home life and to avoid the negative emotions all together. On the other side the partner can become overwhelmingly frustrated with the service member for the disconnect, not feeling as though they are “pulling their weight” in the house, which can lead to negative feedback, depression and disconnect from their partner. Ultimately, both partners tend to desire more connection but the way they are managing these stressors are actually pushing them further and further away from one another. Military couples therapy can help both partners be on the same page, handle their stressors more effectively, improve the relationship together.
Counseling Exercises for Military Couples
Times like these make it even more important to create routine check-in with one another in order to express these emotions and thoughts and come together as a team to provide some solutions.
The first step in this process is to provide empathy to one another, the second step is to brainstorm together a number of solutions, no matter how off the wall or bizarre they might be. The next step is to then choose together some of the solutions that might be a good fit for you and your family. And finally, make a plan for implementation of these solutions and then to stick with it.
It’s also important to continually (weekly) revisit this in order to continue to address any concerns or anything that is not working in the plan as a means to pivot and adjust the solution as it fits for your family. This part can be quite challenging for some of us as our egos get in the way and we often think we have the “perfect solution” to the problem – we may have the perfect solution for ourselves but that likely is not the “perfect solution” for our partner.
As military therapists, we can help minimize the pain and agony of this process and come alongside each partner as a neutral observer of this process, offering feedback and suggestions that take both parties needs and desires into account as a way to piece together the perfect solution for the two of you! If you’d like help with the challenges of military life, book a military counseling session today.