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Eight ways to boost resilience between military couples

SAN DIEGO -- Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Markel Ancrumm, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), kisses his wife and child after pulling into port following the completion of the ship's final deployment to the western Pacific region. 

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Liam Kennedy

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) facilitates research and develops evidence-based programs that provide Sailors and Marines with important tools to build and maintain resilience.

As service members build resilience, military couples can also take steps to boost their resilience as well.

Military spouses and significant others play an important part in offering encouragement and support to today's service members.

With a military career that often includes deployments and extended separations, military couples must work harder at being able to withstand, recover, and grow together in the face of stressors, adversity, and changing demands.

Below are 8 ways military couples can improve their resilience.

1. Maintain Your Connection. Being apart can be tough. By figuring out a system of regular contact, couples can build a strong foundation of open communication. It's best to time conversations about upsetting issues as to not overwhelm your partner. Open conversations should still consist of an overall positive and supportive tone.

2. Reshape Interpretation. Some highly stressful life events are inevitable in military life. One cannot change when or how these events happen, but couples can certainly shape their attitudes to best react and respond. Use flexible thinking to place some perspective on the situation.

3. Remain Optimistic. Maintaining optimism in the face of stressors is a couple's best chance to move forward during stressful times. Try to envision what you both want instead of worrying about what you're both scared of.

4. Trust. Discuss in detail your expectations of one another on the homefront and while you are apart. Work together to find ways to maintain trust. Talk about concerns but don't dwell on them. Focus on how to work past them.

5. Take Care of Yourself... and Each Other. Set aside a couple of minutes a day to decompress. Meditation is a great tool to alleviate stress. Make sure that your partner is doing the same or offer ways to help one another. Taking care of yourselves helps keep your minds ready to deal with situations that require resilience.

6. Understanding. If you and your partner are in the middle of a conflict, focus on what is upsetting you and vice versa. Try to disregard what caused the fight. Concentrate and work together to find the solution. This type of behavior control will be much more effective.

7. Create and Work Towards Goals Together. Couples who have common goals are often more successful in their relationship. Develop realistic goals with deadlines. Even completing small accomplishments can help improve your relationship.

8. Professional Help. It's important to recognize that unresolved relationship problems have the potential to impact a service member's well-being and focus on the job. If the stress of military life becomes overwhelming for either party, don't hesitate to seek help from a support group, counselor, clinician, or chaplain. Reaching out for support can help you manage any reaction and boost your resilience.

Resilience is very effective in helping our active duty population manage operational and combat stress, both in their work life and their home life.

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