When my husband and I were living in different states, I would get so annoyed seeing cute couples together. I know, I know…we made our choices, and we were doing what we needed to do. But when your significant other is thousands of miles away, it can be annoying to watch your friends (or complete strangers at the mall) make a PDA spectacle. This was just one of the many annoyances I had during our separation.
However, there was one perk I had that those couples didn’t: the blessing of quality time with myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have given anything to have been able to go on a date with my husband. But sitting around moping wasn’t productive in any way. So I decided, like many military spouses do, to focus my energy on myself.
I got married during my freshman year of college. While I would have given anything to be able to go out on a date with my husband, at least our time apart ensured I had plenty of time to study! I was able to plan a wedding, ship my husband off to war and make the Dean’s List my first year of college. I’m pretty proud of that, and I think it’s with good reason. Separations are a great time for military spouses to focus on their education. The separation provides a large amount of interrupted time, and the classes are a good distraction and milestone to help pass the time.
Weight loss goals are also common for military spouses. Many spouses find it easier to stick to a healthier diet when they are able to focus on just their preferences, and exercising is a productive way to pass the time. Plus the idea of looking great at for the reunion with your spouse can be huge motivation!
These are two of the more common goals/activities I have talked about with spouses, but there are tons more. One friend treated herself to a nightly session of chick flick/girly TV shows on her husband’s big screen once a week during the deployment, complete with ice cream. I would watch all of my chick flicks on Netflix while my husband was in the field so I didn’t have to listen to his complaining. Having control of the remote is one of the small perks that can really add up over time!
Separations from spouses are also a great time to reach out to the rest of your support system. Want to bond with your friends? Invite them all over for a Girl’s Night In at your place complete with chick flicks and at home makeovers (one Army Wife said she made homemade facial masks from fruits and veggies- definitely a project for the girls).
Living with your family while your spouse is off doing the military thing? Reconnect with your parents and siblings by continuing family traditions.
There are tons of things you can do for yourself without your spouse around (even if you live together, let’s be honest- I bet you’re cleaning/cooking time gets cut in half during field training, I know mine sure did). I dabbled in graphic design with Paint Shop Pro and had my own design site. Other wives I’ve talked to learn to sew or make jewelry- not only did they discover a new passion, they were able to make some extra cash as well!
Speaking of extra cash, separations can also be a good time to save money. With no spouse at home to spend quality time with, what’s stopping you from picking up a few extra shifts at work (I know this may not work if you have kids, but I wanted to throw it out there for us childless ones)? Groceries usually somehow last longer without soldiers around too…wonder why that is? 😉 No matter the reason, I appreciate the extra cash and time spent away from the grocery store.
So basically what I’m saying is: find something, anything, that you enjoy or want to change and then just do it. Not only will the time away from your spouse be more enjoyable and pass quicker, the two of you will actually have something to talk about when you do get to spend time together. Plus, everyone knows that confidence is attractive. The best way to develop that confidence is to succeed at something you actually care about. You’ll like yourself more, and I bet others will too.