“Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…” That childhood song pops into my head whenever I feel like I am waiting too long for something to happen in the military world. You need to have patience as well as several other traits to make your life a little easier as a milspouse. There will be challenges and experiences you never imagined. Having a good milspouse toolkit is a must.

1. Patience

You need all the patience you can get. You will be waiting–for orders, for news of a deployment, for homecoming dates. . . The waiting never ends.

2. Understanding

Understanding is a must. It’s crucial to understand that people are different than you, not everything will go according to plan, and military life is all about learning as you go.

3. Compassion

There is no room for being cruel in the milspouse world. Military spouses are made up of people from all over the country (and even the world) who have different backgrounds and experiences. Being compassionate will help you make friends and be a person others can depend on.

4. Flexibility

Since plans change so much in the military, being flexible is a necessity. Not everything you are told is going to happen will actually happen. Plans will change. Learning to go with the flow when things change will make your life easier.

5. Creativity

In this milspouse life, you need to be creative. From figuring out how to move from a three-bedroom home to a two-bedroom apartment, how to celebrate birthdays when your spouse is deployed, or how to send your spouse a birthday care package.

6. Boldness

Be bold. Get out there and meet new people. Whether you are PCSing by yourself or making everything work during a deployment, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; the results will be worth it.

7. Serenity

You will need to be able to keep calm when they feel out of control. Remember, this too shall pass and, even when it doesn’t seem like it, most problems have a solution. Keeping a calm perspective makes life easier for those around you as well as those in your home.

8. Clear thinking

Pick your battles. There will be a lot of situations that come up that you will feel you need to fight. It isn’t always worth it. Sometimes walking away is the best thing you can do.

9. Organization

Time to get organized! There is so much paperwork in military life and you don’t want to lose any of it. Planners are a milspouse’s best friend. (Remember to write everything in pencil. . .just in case.)

10. Humor

Cultivate a sense of humor. Whether you are talking with your friends about all the crazy stuff that happens when your spouses are deployed or trying to hold it together during another PCS, your sense of humor will get you through intense situations.

11. Commitment

Be committed. To your spouse: Whether they are home or not. To your family: Your kids need you. To yourself: Don’t forget who you are and your hopes and dreams. Commit to everything that is important to you and doesn’t lose sight of that along the way.

12. Independence

You need to be able to do things on your own. Your spouse will not always be around to help. This can be hard to get used to, but once you have conquered some of these challenges, you will feel more independent and will feel better about doing things on your own.