Relationship Tool Helps You Love Every Day

Husband hugging wife

A long-term, loving relationship is more than enjoyable, it gives you emotional support and strength during life’s hard times. Whether you’re dating or have been married for years, it’s important to nurture and grow your relationship. Love Every Day, a free relationship resilience tool from Military OneSource, can improve the quality and stability of your connection.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Love Every Day is a fun and interactive way that helps you develop and practice good relationship communication in only a few minutes each day. You get personalized text messages for 21 days to help foster a renewed sense of connection. By making intimate communication a consistent part of your daily routine, you and your partner learn to apply the skills in everyday life. Check out the Love Every Day video (streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks).

In just 21 days, you can reduce disharmony and build healthier habits as a couple. Give Love Every Day a try to spark some fun or rekindle your romance.

Maintaining Strong Relationships: Virtual Resources Available to Military Couples

Marine couple smiles at one another.

Current as of Oct. 7, 2020

The stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic presents challenges for everyone and may affect relationships. This can be especially true of intimate partner relationships.

Stress may come from couples spending more time together due to stay-at-home orders. Being separated due to travel restrictions can also cause stress.

It’s normal to go through ups and downs in your relationship. But if you are feeling frustrated or tense, it’s important to know you are not alone. Military OneSource offers a variety of virtual relationship resources that can help.

Take time to see if they are right for you, and share them with others who may benefit from them.

Strengthen your bond with your partner from home

There are a variety of counseling options and tools available to help military couples work through the stress brought on by the pandemic. Take advantage of these resources offered through Military OneSource, Military Community and Family Policy and other supporting organizations:

Tips for couples to manage relationship stress

Military OneSource offers tips for couples to help them cope with the stress and pressure brought on by the pandemic. These include:

  • Come up with a plan to deal with the new normal.
  • Give each other space, which could mean going to a different room, or maybe just wearing earbuds or headphones.
  • Practice good communication, starting by setting aside a time to talk when you aren’t too stressed.
  • Check in with each other by video or phone if you are separated.
  • Find time to be active by building physical activity into your day. Try a personal health and wellness coach or even a mobile coach.
  • Take time to breathe, and remember why you and your partner love each other.

Another factor regarding the stress you may feel in your relationship could be related to the stress the entire family is facing.

Above all else, when stress is high take care of yourself so you’ll be there for your spouse or partner.

If your spouse or partner has made you feel unsafe or afraid, help is available through the Family Advocacy Program. Speak to a victim advocate to explore next steps, or call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7, at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Reconnecting With Your Partner at Home

Couple connecting at home

A romantic getaway may seem like the perfect way to reconnect as a couple. But, that’s not always possible – and even if it were, it may not be the answer you’re both hoping for.

A more lasting solution is to look for opportunities to grow closer in your everyday interactions. Practice mutual respect, carve out time for one another, tune in more closely to each other’s needs. These and other simple ways to express love and affection for one another will strengthen your relationship.

Seeing each other’s side and managing your expectations

A first step toward reconnecting with your partner is to open up to each other and to be honest with yourself. As a couple, you can use these insights to forge a deeper connection based on mutual understanding. Here’s where to start:

  • Check your expectations against reality. Examine each other’s ideas of how your relationship should be. Where did those expectations come from? Are they realistic? Accept that no relationship is perfect all the time. Relationships also naturally change and evolve. The romance in its early stages may deepen into a reliable partnership that can be equally fulfilling, if not more. It may be time to update your expectations.
  • Stand in each other’s shoes. It can be truly eye-opening to hear each other’s perspective. It’s important in all relationships, but particularly for military couples when one partner is new to military life. For example, the demands of a service member’s job may make it impossible to have dinner together every night or talk on the phone whenever you want. By listening to each other’s needs and responsibilities, you will develop a greater awareness of and appreciation for each other. You may even be able to come up with creative ways to meet halfway, such as having breakfast together each morning or checking in during a scheduled break.
  • Avoid angrily criticizing each other. This will put each other on the defensive and shut down communication. Instead, name the specific action that bothers you and how it makes you feel. Then work together toward a solution that will work for both of you.

Ways to connect at home

No matter how busy you get, it’s essential that you and your partner make time for each other. Here are ideas for keeping your relationship fresh and meaningful.

  • Describe your perfect date together. Write down or tell each other in great detail what your ideal date would be like, right down to your outfits. Describe the setting, how you will get there and what you will do when you’re there.
  • Have a date night. You probably won’t be able to pull off your fantasy date, but you can aim for the emotional connection it would create. Plan a special night at home if going out is impossible. If you have children, ask a neighbor or friend to watch them for a few hours. Put away your phones, so you can focus on each other. Have a special meal, watch a movie. Dance. Do what makes you both happy.
  • Ask each other 20 questions. It doesn’t have to be 20, but there are probably many things you don’t know about each other. Do you know your partner’s favorite movie? Favorite recording artist? What would each other’s superpower be and why that one? The questions are endless and can open up new insights into one another.
  • Exercise together. Run, bike, hike, lift weights, sign up for an online fitness class together. Encourage each other and have fun together.
  • Go on a walk. Try to fit walks into your regular routine with your partner, even if it means getting up early. If you have young children, bring them along. Walking reduces stress and can lead to great conversations.
  • Take a long drive together. The car is another good setting for conversation. Enjoy the scenery outside your windows while catching up with each other.
  • Share your favorite childhood foods. Incorporate family recipes into your meals or order regional treats online. This is a good way to learn about each other and share an important part of your personal histories.
  • Take a class together. Experience the excitement of learning something new together. If you can’t get out, sign up for an online class. You should be able to find whatever you are interested in online, from cooking or learning a new language, to dance or drawing.

Resources for connecting with your partner

The Department of Defense, through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling program, offers resources to help service members and their partners reconnect at home.

  • The Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultation is a free and confidential series of personalized coaching sessions to help you deepen your relationships. The Building Healthy Relationships with Your Significant Other track focuses on issues common to military couples.
  • Non-medical counseling is another option available to couples or individuals. Free and confidential sessions with a Military and Family Life counselor are available on your installation. Military OneSource also offers non-medical counseling.
  • The Love Every Day app is a fun way to practice your relationship communication skills and rekindle your romance.
  • Visit the Re the We page on Military OneSource for access to articles, tools and resources to rekindle, repair or reset your relationship.

Military OneSource is there for you 24/7 to help you and your partner thrive in your relationship. Call 800-342-9647 to connect with a consultant. OCONUS? Use these international calling options.

Tips for Communicating in a Long-Distance Relationship

Service member and girlfriend get photo taken before deployment

Long-distance relationships are a challenge that many military couples face at some point in their relationship. Being apart from your loved one can create anxiety, sadness, even trust issues. But the separation can also bring couples closer, particularly if both partners set expectations and find ways to stay connected. With planning and commitment, you and your partner can keep your relationship strong while apart.

Plan ahead for staying in touch

The best time to talk about how you will stay connected during your geographic separation is while you are still together.

  • Set expectations about how you will stay in touch and how often. What works best for you as a couple? Phone calls, video chats, email, text, letters? A combination? How often will you call or write? Factor in your other commitments and activities so you don’t overpromise and risk disappointing each other or adding stress to your lives.
  • Agree on a time to speak with each other that works for both of you. Different time zones can make this tricky. One of you may be starting your day while the other is ending theirs.
  • Prepare yourselves for the unknown. It’s possible that you won’t know much about your communication options ahead of time. Wi-Fi may be spotty or nonexistent in the area where the service member will be. Mail or email service may be limited. Mission requirements may make communication impossible for days or longer. Discuss these very real possibilities so you won’t be caught off guard.
  • Pick a time each day to focus your thoughts on the other. Play the same song, if possible – maybe as one of you is drifting off to sleep and the other is starting the day if you’re in different time zones. This can be reassuring when communication isn’t possible.
  • Hide notes for each other to find during your geographic separation. Tuck little messages into gear, books, clothing, or in unexpected places around the home.

Nurturing your long-distance relationship

It takes effort to maintain closeness when you are physically distant from each other. But gestures, small and large, can feel particularly meaningful when you are missing your loved one.

  • Plan ahead for birthdays and anniversaries so cards or gifts arrive on time.
  • Be there for each other emotionally. Keep track of what is happening in your partner’s life so you can check in after a big day or send virtual, reassuring hugs when needed.
  • Keep each other up to date on new developments in your lives. Talk about friends you’ve made, interests you’ve developed, new favorite foods. Passing along these types of details will make reintegration easier when you are together again.
  • Try to keep your conversations positive. Don’t hide your struggles, but don’t let them dominate conversations either. Positive communication during deployment is linked to less anxiety among military couples on return.
  • Deal with challenges constructively as they come up. Address issues right away before they become bigger problems down the road. Doing this also makes the adjustment smoother when you are back together.
  • Know when to pull back a bit. There’s such a thing as being in touch too often. If phone calls or video chats begin to feel burdensome or you are struggling to find things to talk about, speak less frequently. This will help keep your conversations fresh and your time reconnecting will feel more special.
  • Have shared experiences. Read the same book or watch the same movie and compare notes later. Play an online game together. Listen to the same playlist. Having shared experiences brings couples closer together.

Resources for staying close while apart

The Department of Defense, through Military OneSource, offers resources for military couples coping with a geographic separation.

  • Strengthen your relationship with the Building Healthy Relationships Staying Connected While Away specialty consultation. A consultant will meet with you by phone or video to help with emotional coping and staying connected.
  • Get expert help with non-medical counseling when you need more support than friends and family can provide. Non-medical counseling is free and confidential and available wherever in the world you are.
  • Tap into the Love Every Day app to practice your relationship communication skills and kindle your romance.
  • Visit the Re the We page on Military OneSource for access to articles, tools and resources to rekindle, repair or reset your relationship.

Military OneSource is there for you 24/7 to help with relationship issues and other concerns. Call 800-342-9647 to connect with a consultant. OCONUS? Use these international calling options.

Relationship Support for Your Service Member

young couple sitting in a park

Although everyone hopes for a happily-ever-after romance, all couples are bound to experience conflict from time to time. Military couples in particular have unique pressures that most civilians do not have to deal with. In fact, relationship issues are the top reason service members and their families seek non-medical counseling support through Military OneSource.

Couples can strengthen their partnership by enhancing communication skills, addressing challenges early, learning how to resolve their differences and developing healthy relationship habits.

If your service member is having relationship problems or is trying to pick up the pieces after a breakup, help is available.

The importance of addressing relationship stress

An unhappy relationship can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including their physical and mental health. Studies show that people live longer, healthier lives when they have positive emotional connections. For service members, relationship issues can affect readiness by making it difficult to stay focused on the mission at hand.

Not everybody is willing to seek help, however. As a friend or family member, you can let your service member know that it’s not only OK to reach out for support, it’s a sign of strength. Share a time when you were in a similar situation. This will help your loved one understand that problems like theirs are not uncommon. Talk about the ways you and your partner repaired your relationship. Or if your efforts weren’t successful, mention how tapping into available resources might have helped.

Help for Relationship Stress

Your service member and their partner can seek help at any stage of their relationship, whether they are just starting out or have been together for many years. Resources for service members include:

  • Non-medical counseling. Non-medical counselors are experienced professionals who understand the unique issues service members and their partners face. They will meet with couples or individuals face-to-face, or by phone, online chat or video. Sessions are free and confidential.
  • Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations. These consultations focus on the area of a relationship that needs attention. Common issues military couples may seek assistance for include communication refreshers, reconnecting after deployment and staying connected while away. The sessions include coaching, practical tools, resources and problem-solving techniques. The Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations are free and confidential.
  • Love Every Day. This interactive tool helps couples practice their communication skills in only a few minutes each day. 
  • Marriage enrichment programs for military couples. Each military service branch offers programs designed to enrich marriage by helping couples develop their communication skills and rekindle their romance. These programs are either low-cost or free.
     

If your service member or their partner feels unsafe in a relationship, they can reach out to the Family Advocacy Program or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-787-7224.

Your service member can learn more by contacting Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. International calling options are available for those outside the continental United States.  
 

 

Although everyone hopes for a happily-ever-after romance, all couples are bound to experience conflict from time to time. Military couples in particular have unique pressures that most civilians do not have to deal with. In fact, relationship issues are the top reason service members and their families seek non-medical counseling support through Military OneSource.

Marriage Enrichment Programs

Service member puts money in her husband’s “love bank” basket at a marriage retreat

With deployments and frequent relocations, military relationships can be put to the test. You’ve aced military life. Now can you bring that same strength and sense of adventure to your marriage?

You can access free, confidential, relationship consultation services like Building Healthy Relationships as well as non-medical counseling through Military OneSource. Call 800-342-9647 or chat online with our trained professional consultants. Also, each military service branch offers programs designed to enrich marriage and maintain a healthy relationship by helping couples develop better communication skills and rekindle the romance. These programs are generally:

  • Run by chaplains and supported by commanders, Military and Family Support Centers, and installation family readiness programs
  • Non-faith-specific
  • Either low-cost or free to service members and spouses

To find out about programs available through your service branch and installation, check with your chaplain or local Military and Family Support Center. Through the center, Military and Family Life Counselors are available on installations and embedded in units. Here are some service-specific programs.

Army
Installation chaplains offer the Strong Bonds Program. The program features:

  • Weekend retreats that help couples build relationship resiliency
  • Specific retreats for couples, families, single soldiers and for those facing deployment
  • Activities for unit members who are on the same duty cycle

Marine Corps
The Marine Corps offers the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program. This program:

  • Benefits newlyweds and seasoned couples alike
  • Helps couples improve their communication skills and build strong relationships
  • Offers workshops through chaplains and Marine Corps Family Team Building

Navy
Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operations offer marriage enrichment retreats. More information is available on the Navy’s ChaplainCare website. These getaways include:

  • Weekend retreats that help couples focus on their relationships while enjoying food, fun and romance
  • The opportunity for couples to learn about handling conflict, growing their marriage, building intimacy, communication and understanding each other

Air Force
The Air Force Chaplain Corps offers the MarriageCare program. Check with your installation’s chaplain to see what’s available in your area. The MarriageCare program offers:

  • Weekend retreats to help couples to revitalize their marriage while taking a break from military duty
  • A chance to work on communication, forgiveness and other skills
  • Other programs offered by chaplains on Air Force installations

Online tools: Love Every Day

Does daily communication with your partner mostly involve texts? It might be time for a new way to communicate.

Take a few minutes to connect in a fun and meaningful way using Love Every Day. This free interactive tool for your mobile phone prompts you and your partner, via text, to connect in new ways. Both partners answer one question each day for 21 days. Check out the video (streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks.)

Questions can focus on what you love about one another, provide you with new ways to get to know each other, share thoughts and memories, and show you care in fun ways. Log in, live in the moment and spark some fun with Love Every Day.

MilSpouse Toolkit

From education on military culture to navigating resources, this track is beneficial for new spouses who may be experiencing a disconnect from their family and need to identify a support system in their new community. This track focuses resources to assist new and current military spouses with adjustment to the military lifestyle, developing coping skills and resources for resiliency.

Building Healthy Relationships

Service member hugging spouse.

Make your most important relationships even stronger. This new specialty consultation from Military OneSource helps you deepen relationships with family, friends and others through an education-based consultation.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Building Healthy Relationships offers coaching sessions, practical tools, resources and problem-solving techniques. This consultation is designed to be flexible and personable, and is available to you by phone or video.

Identify your goals and boost your relationships

Everyone can benefit from boosting a relationship or improving communication. Perhaps you’re a parent who wants to create a stronger bond with your child. Or maybe you’re looking for ways to develop your communication skills.

This consultation offers a variety of tracks that are customized to different relationship dynamics. Your consultant will help you identify the track or tracks that are right for you. The personalized coaching sessions, educational tools, resources and empowering skills will help you be at your best. Building Healthy Relationships consultation tracks are designed so that you can do them from the comfort of your home.

  • Building Healthy Relationships with Your Significant Other. This track focuses on providing educational resources, guidance on common issues couples can face being a part of the military culture and tools to support strong relationships. Consultations can include both or one partner.
  • Healthy Parent-Child Connections. This track allows the parent to work with a consultant to identify relationship goals, with parents receiving education and resources to enhance these vital relationships. It is also possible for children to attend sessions with their parent as appropriate.
  • Communication Refreshers. Communication can be one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship. This track offers individuals or couples educational webinars, inventories and services to improve the way they communicate with one another. This is an excellent path for those seeking to enhance communication with a spouse, colleague or family member.
  • Staying Connected While Away. Part of military life can come with deployment and separations due to military duty. With this track, a consultant can assist service members or adult loved ones with identifying goals and resources to assist with emotional coping and keeping connected with that family member during these times.
  • Reconnecting After Deployment. When service members return from deployment, a major shift can occur for the entire family. This track is tailored to the unique period of reintegration by assisting service members and/or family members with identifying goals and providing materials that can ease stress and shape resiliency.
  • Blended Family. Couples may encounter new family dynamics when partners have children from previous relationships. This track focuses on co-parenting as a way to build a solid leadership unit for the military family, accounting for unique experiences and dynamics. This is an excellent path for those couples who are trying to introduce civilian children to military life.
  • MilSpouse Toolkit. From education on military culture to navigating resources, this track is beneficial for new spouses who may be experiencing a disconnect from their family and need to identify a support system in their new community. This track focuses resources to assist new and current military spouses with adjustment to the military lifestyle, developing coping skills and resources for resiliency.

If one or more individuals do not speak English, your consultant can facilitate a three-way call for simultaneous language interpretation.

Start building healthy relationships

Since this consultation is available by both phone and video, you can get started anytime. Call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat to schedule an appointment with a Building Healthy Relationships consultant. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

How to Successfully Communicate as a Couple

Talking couple embrace

For service members, a loving, resilient marriage is both a matter of personal happiness and family readiness. When family relationships are strong and healthy, service members are free to focus on their mission and daily duty requirements. Like any good relationship, marriages take work and attention.

Communicating well is one of the most important skills any couple can have, and a key component of lasting, loving relationships. Working with your partner to learn and practice basic communication techniques can help you build trust and intimacy in your relationship.

Communication basics

Here are some tips that can help you improve your communication skills and build a strong relationship:

  • Make time to talk. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day talking with each other. Put it on the calendar if you struggle to find the time.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings. Make an extra effort to share the things that matter to you most.
  • Be an active listener. Give each other your full attention, free of interruptions. Turn off the television, and let phone calls go to voicemail.
  • Show that you’re listening. Try repeating back what you heard through phrases such as, “So what you’re saying is …” or “If I understand you correctly, you feel …”
  • Offer frequent praise, support and encouragement. Studies show that couples who stay together make far more positive comments to each other than negative ones.
  • Strengthen your relationship through Love Every Day. Just one text a day for three weeks can open up your communication channels, build intimacy and rekindle the spark. 
  • Pay attention to your body language. Uncross your arms, offer a smile, and make eye contact with your partner. If you’re really feeling into it, you can even lean in a bit when you talk.

Keep at it. Establishing good communication can take a lot of patience and hard work. The important thing is to make a commitment to change the way you communicate and work toward this goal.

Talking about difficult subjects

Every couple will need to talk about a difficult or painful subject at some point. These tips can make the conversation easier:

  • Talk at a stress-free time. Avoid bringing up a sensitive issue when either of you is tired, hungry or pressed for time. Avoid talking about some issues when children might overhear.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Using humor can break tension and help you connect through times of stress and pressure.
  • Bring up one difficult subject at a time. Raising a lot of sensitive issues in the same conversation can leave the other person feeling confused and defensive.
  • Make “I” statements. Be specific about how you feel. Express your feelings with neutral comments such as “I feel …” “I’m concerned that …” or “I’m worried that …” instead of phrases that put people on the defensive, such as “You never …” “You always …” or “You’re so …”
  • Talk about the issue, not who’s right or wrong. Focus on finding a solution instead of assigning blame.
  • Acknowledge the other person’s point of view. Make an effort to show you’re listening and understand, even if you don’t agree.
  • Take a break if needed. Take 15 minutes to be alone and calm down if your conversation becomes heated or you’re on the verge of saying things you’ll regret. Taking time out can help defuse a situation, but it will not resolve them. Commit to revisiting the issue when your emotions are under control.

When your partner won’t open up

Here are some more steps you can take if your partner has a hard time opening up or seems to tune you out.

  • Avoid making assumptions. You may think your partner doesn’t want to talk because he or she is angry or upset with you. However, there may be something else — like an incident at work — that’s upsetting your partner.
  • Consider your spouse’s family background. Serious conversations can turn into major arguments quickly in some families. Your partner may worry that you’ll become angry or even walk out if he or she speaks honestly — especially if your partner’s parents often acted this way.
  • Remember that it can be hard to open up. Your partner may be worried about feeling rejected if he or she expresses views honestly.

Counseling resources

Check out an example of a call center experience.

 

MilSpouse Toolkit

From education on military culture to navigating resources, this track is beneficial for new spouses who may be experiencing a disconnect from their family and need to identify a support system in their new community. This track focuses resources to assist new and current military spouses with adjustment to the military lifestyle, developing coping skills and resources for resiliency.

Help is available if you have ongoing difficulty communicating with your partner. You can strengthen your relationships through Military OneSource’s free, education-focused Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultation. You can access free, confidential, non-medical counseling services through Military OneSource or through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program — contact the program through your installation’s Military and Family Support Center.