Supporting military families
April 12, 2021

We were delighted to team up with Recruit for Spouses, a social enterprise dedicated to supporting the partners of those working in the Armed Forces to find employment.

Recruit for Spouses approached OnePlusOne to discuss ways we could help them support military families with some of the unique challenges that can affect their relationships as well as career prospects and opportunities.

Appearing on the most recent Recruit for Spouses podcast, our co-director Penny Mansfield talks about the art of having difficult but constructive conversations. Aimed at helping military spouses discuss their own career ambitions with a partner or employer, she shares six key ingredients for ‘talking it out without falling out.’  

Penny said: 

“It was a pleasure to be able to share our top tips with military families through Recruit for Spouses’ platform. It’s natural for arguments to happen in any family. Knowing how to talk through issues in a calm, constructive way is the answer to maintaining a happy family life. It is good for the couple, and it’s important for children to learn this skill from their parents too.

Military families face unique challenges affecting their personal and professional lives. Frequent relocation and having a partner away on risky deployments can have an impact on the partner left behind, often juggling home commitments with their own employment while feeling isolated from support networks. Similarly, the serving partner could find it hard to be separated from their family for long periods.

Tensions are bound to happen from time to time, and when they do, knowing how to talk them out without falling out can make all the difference. For our serving families, ensuring the right support is available when it is needed is essential.”  

Six key steps to having a difficult conversation at home or work:

  1. Stay calm. Try not to get anxious. Breathe and relax your shoulders to help you stay in control. This also helps to convey the importance of what you have to say.
  1. Listen with your ears and read with your eyes. A successful conversation is a two-way process. Listen to what the other person is saying and look out for their physical reaction.
  1. Speak for yourself. Use sentences such as, ‘I think….’ and ‘I feel…’ Talk about your emotions and resist the urge to tell your partner or colleague what you think they are thinking!
  1. Be clear. Don’t expect the other person to know what you mean straightaway. Aim to build empathy, not be on the attack, and be clear with what you communicate.
  1. Aim for good conflict management. Whether your conversation is with your partner or a work colleague, remember that it is a negotiation. It can be beneficial to be almost business-like in your approach. Be prepared to put forward solutions and talk about the advantages these changes would have for your family or work life.
  1. Collaborate. Relationships are about working together to find solutions to problems. If you’re not comfortable with something, be prepared to change it.

Heledd Kendrick, CEO and Founder of Recruit for Spouses said:

“At RFS we recognise that strong healthy interpersonal relationships are necessary for a spouse to work and this sustains a stable military life and in turn a stronger family life, it’s so important to be understood.”

To learn more about our work and the support we offer families, take a look at the resources section of our website.