Moving can put a strain on even the strongest of relationships. Not only are you stressed about all the things you need to do, but you also may feel emotional about leaving the place you call home. During the move, it's more important than ever for you and your partner to work together as a team. The following information can help you find ways to keep your relationship strong during the stresses of your next move.
Keep the lines of communication open
Good communication is key at any time in your relationship, but during a move it becomes even more important. Couples often need to work at staying connected during stressful times. These tips can help:
- Take time out for each other. Just talking and sharing emotions with your partner can help relieve some of the strain. Make sure you face any emotional hurdles together, as a couple, and are open and honest about how you are feeling. Carving out the time may be difficult, but it is well worth the effort and one of the most important things you can do as a couple.
- Recognize that this may be a difficult move. If you're leaving a duty station your partner is particularly fond of, realize that it can be hard to say goodbye. Be supportive and help your partner find ways to connect with friends before you leave.
- Work together. You may need help getting your to-do list completed or helping your child cope with the transition. Either way, it's important to talk with your partner about the problems and work together to find solutions.
- Maintain your daily routines as much as possible. Whether it's a Friday night date or pizza night with the children, try to keep your routines intact. These rituals will help keep you grounded.
Celebrate your new home. Once you arrive at your new duty station, make it special by planning something fun. You might try organizing a party to meet the neighbors or a visit to a nearby attraction.
Planning ahead will help minimize difficulties during a move. These techniques have worked for many military families:
- Set up a calendar. You may want to use an electronic calendar, like the one on Plan My Move, or a hard-copy calendar. Either way, make sure you both have access to it so you can keep up with what's going on and when.
- Create a command center. This is a central location for details such as to-do lists, important papers and other documents related to your move. Make sure both you and your partner understand how this area is set up so you can use it to manage the details of your move.
- Prioritize your to-do lists. With so many things to do, it can be hard to know where to start. Make an "A" list with your most important must-dos, a "B" list and a "C" list. That way, you'll know what to focus on first. Because you and your partner may have different priorities, it's important to work together to include those things that are important to each of you.
- Do your research. Use the online tool at MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to find information on your new installation, information on local schools and links to local websites.
- Don't leave it all until the last minute. Start on tasks as soon as you have orders to your new duty station. Much of the stress can be relieved by stretching out the tasks over a period of time instead of saving them for the last minute.
Keep your finances in check
Budgeting for a move is an important part of the moving process. Avoid any issues ahead of time by putting together a relocation budget before your move. Be realistic and honest about your spending.
- Use a budget planner. The Planning Your Relocation Budget downloadable spreadsheet can help you create a realistic plan. Be sure to budget for any unforeseen expenses.
- Stick to the plan. Track your budget on a weekly - and sometimes daily - basis in order to be sure you're sticking to it.
- Find out about moving allowances. Check with your Relocation Assistance Program to be sure you are taking advantage of all the moving allowances available. Find information on travel and moving allowances on the Defense Travel Management Office website.
Seek help if you need it
Don't hesitate to use the following resources if you run into any bumps in the road:
- The Relocation Assistance Program - This installation program can offer one-on-one help planning your move, dealing with any special circumstances or handling any other move-related issues.
- Military OneSource - Visit Military OneSource or call 800-342-9647 to find more information on moving and to find out about confidential, non-medical counseling services available in person, by telephone or through an online chat.
- Your installation's military and family support center - They can provide additional support during a move. Center staff can refer you to the appropriate support services and programs, including relocation services and non-medical counseling. Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to find your nearest military and family support center.