Falling in love with someone who has dedicated their life, or at least a certain number of years, to the armed forces might be easy. Taking the next step into marriage will seem like you yourself are joining one of our prestigious branches of the military… at least it should feel like that. You might not be going to basic training, but you are dedicating your life to someone who has. The oath they took to serve the constitution is just as serious as they one they will take when they say “I do,” and sometimes, takes precedence.
This may seem intimidating or not fair. The constant moving, your husband gone for months at a time, and odd working hours can feel like you come second in their life. In most scenarios that is not the case, and trust that your husband would much rather be at home with you than anywhere else in the world. However, it is the more negative part that you sign up for when deciding to become a military spouse, and one you should make sure you are definitely comfortable with.
Now, with that being said, there are so many amazing opportunities and experiences to be had when you have the privilege of marrying a service member. Your life changes the moment you make it official. Here are 6 things you’ll learn when you become a military wife.
We were all girlfriends at one point. Some of us longer than others, but we all experience life as a military girlfriend first. In hindsight, we don’t have many rights when it comes to our relationship. We deal with the deployments, not really knowing what is going on. We wait for them to bring us on base because we don’t have clearance to come on by ourselves. Their friends are weary of us, or don’t take us seriously. It can be a confusing time.
Once you get married though, all of that changes. The support you will feel from so many different places is unreal. Obviously, the financial aspect is great. There is so much financial security and avenues to get you on the right track in case you do end up in a situation. Health care is no longer a question or issue, especially as most of you will live on or near base to access the hospitals there. When they leave for deployments or are asked to move, your needs are thought of and considered. At the very least, they keep you in the know while your husband is away.
As for those friends that you have known for a while, there will be a shift in their attitudes towards you. You are no longer “some girl,” but their buddy’s wife and family. Whatever they would do for him they will now do for you because you are an extension of him. It’s a great honor and feeling to be inducted into their family. You will learn your husband has brothers and sisters all over the country and the world. It’s very cool that just as a wife you become one too. Embrace the support and understand what a privilege it is to have.
Your Outlook is EVERYTHING
The weight of your marriage will sometimes fall on you. With so many things going on with the world, sometimes your husband won’t have the time to think about you the way you want him to. Having an open outlook on what is going on with his job will make the world of a difference if he is coming home stressed, is placed on a special duty assignment he didn’t want, or has to move. You can be upset and stressed as well, but how you approach the situation and how you communicate with your partner will make a lot of difference when they have to tell you they will be gone for six months or switch to the night shift. Remembering that we are along for this ride and trying to look at the silver lining in each situation will make things a lot easier. Having an open and understanding outlook allows you more freedom as you can see further and focus on the positives rather than be stuck in a hole of bad thoughts and experiences.
Be Prepared to Move, A Lot
With an open mind, take the time you have as a military spouse to embrace the places you will go with your husband. You are going to see new things and meet new people by having the opportunity to travel. It’s not guaranteed you’ll move in your first year of marriage, but start warming up to the idea. It’s very likely you could move every three years, so embrace it and if you hate a place you won’t have to stay there long.
New Sense of National Pride
In your first year of marriage, you are going to learn so many new things about the military and our country. Your husband will share more of his job duties, why they do it, and how it impacts the world. You may not have realized before how much our military does. Sometimes the military presence in the world in downplayed, but when you are around it 24/7 you will begin to feel the weight your husband feels. It’s so important what our men and women in service do and it will uplift you in a new way.
How to be Alone
This will depend on the individual, but you are going to have time to yourself, assuming you don’t have children. At least you will have to get used to not being with your husband for long periods of time. However this plays out in your life, keep yourself busy and try not to focus on him not being there, but rather what you might do when he gets back. It’s also a great time to think about what you want to do. When you don’t have his schedule to work around you can work towards your goals and dreams. Whatever the alone time looks like, embrace it and take the time for yourself.
Everyone has Opinions…take it with a grain of salt.
Advice is really great as long as it’s good advice. Everyone’s experience as a military wife is going to be different. There are so many factors that are going to affect how your time goes. It’s great to hear from other wives, but don’t let what they tell you be your rule. You will have to figure all of this out for yourself. What you decide to make of all of this will decide how your experiences go. So, do what you have to do to make the most of it and have a great time if you can. You should be so proud to be married to someone who has taken on the challenge of serving our country. Don’t let anything negative get in the way of how you see that.
It’s not always easy being a military wife. If you keep an open mind and approach this time in your marriage as a privilege, you will see each situation thrown your way with zest and enthusiasm. It’s much more fun and exciting to look forward to the unknown rather than fear it. Remember that you are going into this with the best support system around and if you trust it, it won’t let you down.
Feature photo courtesy of Sgt. José Ahiram Díaz, PRNG-113th MPAD, National Guard