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Holidays can be difficult for military couples

Far too often we fall prey to ideas that have been repeatedly foisted upon us throughout our lives. One of these ideas is that the holidays are by definition a time of togetherness and celebration. And while this can be true in some instances, it is hardly a rule. In fact, the unrelenting pressure to make holidays cheerful often produces the opposite effect in many people.

If you are a deployed service member or the spouse of a deployed servicemember, it can be very easy to feel lonely. In fact, you may even wish for the holidays to pass quickly so you don't have to feel obligated to put on a cheery facade when you're just not feeling it this year.

Perhaps the best advice that can be offered for making the holidays easier to cope with is to avoid acts of overcompensation. For example, while the holidays may be a time where people indulge in a bit of extra eating and drinking, you may want to take a more moderate approach. Both eating and drinking to excess offer very short-term distractions from the duress or sadness you may be feeling. But both could cause you to experience depression later on.

It can also be a temptation to throw yourself into the holiday spirit by spending lots of money on presents or trying to please everyone by being a perfect host or parent. Such attempts to make others happy can be stressful, exhausting and even futile, leaving you worn out with a depleted bank account.

Hopefully, you and your spouse will find effective ways of coping with, and even enjoying, the holidays. But above all, take care of yourself and try not to force things too much. This season can put a tremendous strain on a relationship. And sometimes married military couples come to realize that their bond has long been broken and it is time to take things in another direction. If you are part of military marriage that is heading toward a separation or divorce, you may wish to discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney.

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