December 03, 2008
Part I: Eyes Wide Open
This is the first part of a three-part series that will examine military marriages.
By Janet Farley
You can tell by the way he smiles at you when you do something quirky. Perhaps it is the way the sun shines through his silky crew cut. Maybe he just has a great butt and looks good in uniform.
Whatever nugget of knowledge propels you to it, you know the higher truth. It’s true love and you have been caught, hook, line and sinker. There may be no valid explanation for it and you are about to be reeled in for the ride of your life.
Before you commit to a marriage, ala Department of Defense, make sure you at least go into the situation with your eyes wide open.
Everything may seem positively perfect at this particular moment in time; rest assured, time doesn’t stand still. Reality has a nasty way of pushing its way back into your life especially when deployments, ID cards and PCS moves are involved.
The truth is simple. Being married to someone in the military is not a job for the faint of heart. In fact, being married at all is a monumental challenge. Meeting that challenge will be easier with a sense of vision and open lines of clear communication.
Horribly unromantic but nevertheless useful issues to discuss ahead of time include the following:
Are you financially compatible? At this point, that may not seem like a big deal but that may eventually change. Do you know your loved one’s credit score? Have you both been fiscally responsible or are you about to enter into a disastrous twilight zone of no returns for a very long time? Do have a basic financial plan or can you put one together before you become the blind leading the blind? Do either of you have outstanding debts or obligations that still need to be met? Where do you both see yourself, financially, one year from now? Five years? Ten? Who is going to pay the monthly bills? Are you going to have a budget? Are you going to combine your funds or keep separate accounts?
It may be all about the passion now, baby, but it won’t always be and what will you do then? Are you able to talk with each other comfortably about sex? What do you expect in your relationship from each other? What about past relationships? You may only have eyes for each other now, but come clean about past liaisons that may medically influence your current relationship.
One? Two? Three? A dozen? When it comes to thoughts of starting of family, it helps to know how the other guy feels even if immediate plans don’t include them. In a perfect world, when you would you consider starting a family? What do you imagine your parenting style might be? Do you envision both of you working as you’re also raising your family? If you don’t want to start a family right away, how are you going to prevent that? Are there any personal or professional benchmarks you want to meet beforehand?
Chances are pretty strong that you won’t live in one place for a very long time. If you’re used to having a supportive family and circle of friends nearby, that may change dramatically. How do you feel about that? Are you able to adjust easily or at least willing to give it an honest try? Are you able to reach out and build new supportive relationships, over and over again? Are you able to pack up everything you own, sans spouse because he or she will probably already be working in the new job and waiting for you to join.
If you have one already, will it be compatible with a potential mobile military lifestyle? If you don’t have one and want one, how are you going to achieve it? Will you give each other the necessary support to help you both build and manage the careers you want?
The Ups and Downs
Marriages are filled with ups and downs…military marriages even more so. Before you decide to live with someone who wears a uniform for the rest of your life, have a clue regarding how you each handle the tough times. As a military spouse, you may spend a lot of your time alone. You may think that your husband or your wife will always be able to put you first, but that just doesn’t happen when you’re married to a U.S. service member. Like it or not, that’s the way it is.
As you discuss these areas, you may find that you have little or no differences at all. On the other hand, you may be worlds apart from each other. Relax. There are no right or wrong answers. There is only clarity or a lack of it. Having it, however, will help you enter into a state of holy matrimony with the odds for survival more in your favor.
Janet Farley, Ed.M Freelance writer specializing in Careers & Workplace Issues Author, The Military Spouse's Complete Guide to Career Success (Impact Publications, Jan 2008) and The Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide (Jist Inc). Visit my website at www.janetfarley.com
Wednesday, December 03, 2008 4:06 PM
My husband and I got married right after he came home from AIT. So we didn't really have the time to discuss anything that would come up later on. We're both young, and I had a career back home. I up and left it for him. Which in the end I don't particularly mind...but it could have helped a lot more if we would have come up with some kind of budget. We lost a lot of money somewhere along the way, and we're not really sure what to. Probably eating out and buying things that aren't necessary. We now realize we have to really work at this to make it work out.
Friday, December 19, 2008 10:47 PM
My husband I married by the judge couple of months before he left to Basic Training in 20005 and right after basic and AIT we moved to our first duty station Fort Hood, TX and three months later, he deployed for 15 months. I spent those 15 months as a newlywed all alone without him and then he finally came home right before New Years in 2007. He decided to give me a church wedding that I always wanted and this past summer in July 08 we married by the church with a glamorous dream come true wedding! Now we wait for his next deployment, just want you to know military life can be strenuous spending precious time away from your loved one but as long as you both support each other and understand the situation your soldier is in then things should work out for the best. I love my husband with all my heart and seem we draw closer to one another each time we spend time apart from each other. The best thing you can give your soldier throughout his military career is your FULL SUPPORT! Without that, things are impossible in the military lifestyle. Things do not always go your way with family vacations and leave but if you identify yourself with the military’s call of duty then things will not be so bad on your soldier. Keep your soldier’s head up and give your soldier all the SUPPORT he/she needs especially from loved ones! I kept myself in school trying to pursue a degree in the nursing field to help cope with being away from my husband, which helped time fly by fast.
God Bless, Proud Army Wife
Friday, May 08, 2009 8:10 AM
My fiancee is in Afaganistan and are getting married when he gets home in 3 months. We aren't compatible. We're almost as opposite as you can be, but months ago we knew that we have differences and started working together to build a better future. We took care of financial problems. We talk about goals, a family, continuing our education. We talk about what to do in the next 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years. Not all of it way happen exactly as planned, but at least we're on the same page. It's all about knowing that he will sacrifice for you just as much as you are willing to sacrifice for him. Making a future is up to us and how we want to make it. Communication with servicemember is more than half the battle. Keep communication flowing, remember that you're in this together. You'll have each other to rely on. Also, there is so much support out there for you if you need someone to talk to. support groups and spouse clubs, someone who's been in your shoes and knows how to handle a situation. All you have to do is ask =)
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 11:40 AM
My fiancee is currently in Fort Benning, GA for basic and AIT, and we're planning on getting married after I get done with BCT. His uncle is going to marry us, so getting married in a courthouse is definitely out of the question thankfully enough. Anyways, I am not sure how everything works as far as paperwork goes and how long it really is until we will get stationed together. HE said his choices are Ft Bliss, TX or Ft Stewart, GA and I am fine with either one of those. If anyone has any advice as to timing and how things work I would really appreciate the input :) Thanks a lot
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 3:15 PM
my boyfriend leaves for USMC boot camp in 2 weeks and i'm freaking out. We plan to get married sometime after boot camp, but I'm leaving it up to him as far as when he officially proposes and everything. It was so encouraging to read this and see that me and him have already talked about most of these things and we're not even engaged yet. Just another thing to show me that this is going to work even if it feels like i'm giving my life to the military.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 6:52 PM
I have been in a relationship with my soldier for over a year. He has wanted to get married for some time but has never discussed how we get to that point. As I am sure some of you can relate, men, especially military men, aren't the best communicators. Finally, while we were having the "marriage talk". . .again, I said you keep talking marriage but have never laid out the plans/discussion to do that. He said well, why don't you. LOL I said because you are supposed to lead our family. You are the head of our home. Eureka he finally got it! My next trip up we will be having these very discussions.
Monday, April 19, 2010 8:50 PM
My husband and I are almost exactly the same!! and in some ways that can really be bad. We have talked about our future of re-enlisting and have children and ll sorts of plans. And trust me it hasn't been all fun and games. It gets complicated some times when we know what we want but we cant decided when or how it shoud happen. I love him with all my heart but some times I just wanna slap him! We have only been married for 2 weeks but it feels like I have known him my whole life....
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