Let me set the stage.
It’s date night. You and your spouse made amazing plans for a night on the town or a relaxing evening in with a delicious dinner on the table. As you’re getting ready and preparing for your wonderful date night, the phone rings. Your spouse answers it and he gives you “the look.”
If you’ve been married to a military member long enough, you know what “the look” means. It means that they have unwelcomed and unplanned news to share. It might also mean they have to cut date night short and go.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or it’s a “just because” date night, when duty calls for your service member, you realize that their military job takes precedence.
Even though you know that his military duty outweighs your date night, it’s still difficult to brush off the disappointment. For me, the disappointment doesn’t settle in until they walk out the door. My hearts sinks after the hug and door closes in front of me. Then, cue the violins.
Despite feeling extremely bummed about the situation, military spouses need to stay positive and move forward. It’s scientifically proven that maintaining a positive attitude is an overall benefit to our health, so keeping your head high and spirits up! It will all work out and you’ll be better for it in the end.
Feeling Disappointed that His Military Duty Canceled Your Date Night?
Here are 5 tips for ways to stay positive and reduce your disappointment.
1. Full steam ahead on your plans: If you had dinner reservations or wanted to see a movie, still go out and do it! You’d be surprised how much fun it can be to enjoy the company of strangers or be on your own for once. I used to have so much anxiety being by myself (even when I was living on my own, I had roommates that I went out with!), but I realized that the same excitement can be had with the same plans you made with your spouse.
2. Or call a pal: It is natural to think of a close friend when you feel bummed about your date night getting canceled. Why not give your friend a ring to see if they are open for the evening or weekend? So what if you have a romantic date planned? I’m almost positive that you will appreciate the time you’re sharing with a friend.
3. Take me time: I hardly ever get the opportunity to pamper myself! So, I particularly go out of my way to squeeze in a mani-pedi if my husband has to run out the door for a military assignment. For the late evenings, I’ll run a warm bath. When I was new at our current duty station, I utilized our time apart to dine at nice restaurants with a book to read alone. Honestly, solo dining was scary at first, especially in a brand-new location, but it was actually peaceful to sit there and enjoy a meal alone.
4. Adopt a new skill or start an activity: I have a special hobby that I partake in when my husband has to go away. During our time together, I collect mementos from our adventures. From park maps to concert programs, I keep all the loose items in a box. When he goes away, I break it open and piece together our duty station scrapbook. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on all the fun things we’ve done and keeps my mind occupied on happy thoughts.
If you’re a reader, you can spend time re-reading your favorite book or watch your all-time favorite movie, again. There are so many different things you can do that fills time and are easy to pick up at any moment.
5. Practice positive mantras: I find comfort in keeping my mind as ease and understand that I should expect the unexpected with military life. It was difficult to let go, especially when I was used to being in complete control. Life should be enjoyed at every possible moment and remember your spouse isn’t at fault for their departure. There are so many mantras out there! Find one that spurs positive thoughts for you and practice saying it.