The life as a military spouse isn’t an easy life. Many people don’t know how difficult being a military spouse can be or the challenges they face every day. We often focus on the hardships of veterans and service members which is understandable. But today we want to give ideas on how you can support a military spouse. They deserve our help as well.

The challenges of being a military spouse.

If you think the national unemployment rate is too high, the military spouse unemployment rate is FOUR times higher. Thought you moved a lot? According to the Department of Defense, military families move three times more frequently than non-military families. And if you wished your significant other was home more, well, here’s some perspective: The average military soldier deploys for 7.7 months at a time, and many — specifically in the Army and Marine Corp — experience year-long deployments. That’s a lot of time away from home.

As you can see, military spouses have a tough time in many ways. Though these spouses show resilience in the face of such adversity, getting by with a little help from people inside and outside the military community certainly doesn’t hurt.

Here are five ways to support a military spouse and their family.

Invite Them Out.

Between long training exercises and even longer deployments, military spouses know loneliness like the back of their hand. If you know of a milspouse in your community — at church, work, mom group, etc. — invite them out for coffee, to lunch, or on your next girls night. Camaraderie in and outside the military community is so important to making military families feel included in society.

Offer to baby sit.

Does your milspouse friend have kids? Nearly half of all active-duty servicemembers have children, meaning a military spouse is likely to need a babysitter if they’re to get any kind of “me-time” while their spouse is away. That’s where you can help! Offer to babysit while they spend a few hours reaping the many benefits of self-care.

Give a job referral.

As previously mentioned, the unemployment rate for military spouses is high. (Moving frequently has a way of doing that!) Finding a job despite the constant address change doesn’t have to be impossible. Since most jobs are found through networking, referring a newly-arrived military spouse could be the bridge they need to succeed. If you’re plugged into your community or know of a job opening at your place of work, help to connect your military spouse friend with the right people. Nothing may come of it, but then again, something might.

Celebrate with them.

Living a military lifestyle is unpredictable and often includes special occasions spent without a spouse. For those with children, having mom or dad deployed for birthdays and holidays is especially tough. Be that friend who takes them out for birthday brunch or invites them over for Thanksgiving dinner with your family. If it’s Valentine’s Day, send them flowers. Christmas? Bring over a gift and a sweet treat. Whatever you’re celebrating, do it with them.

See a need, fill a need.

Even if you don’t know one personally, there are other ways to support a military spouse. By donating to organizations like Operation Homefront, you can provide financial assistance to military families in need to help them pay for things like groceries, rent/mortgage, utilities, or even school supplies.

Support a military spouse and smile.

There are so many ways to support the military spouse in your life. And in case you need more reasons on why you should befriend a milspouse, here’s some extra reading on “Why Military Spouses Make Great Friends.”

You have an opportunity to do some good in a community that needs it and doing so will make you smile.