7 Things I Wish I’d Known About Military Marriage


Now that you are really married in the whole for-better-or-worse sense of the word, what do you wish you knew?  In a post about her forthcoming book 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Saying I Do, Dr. Laurie Weiss listed 7 things women wish they knew before they got married:

  1. I wish I had known what marriage is really like.
  2. I wish I had known more about myself
  3. I wish I hadn’t been in such a hurry so I could have taken the time I needed
  4. I wish I knew how much family patterns could influence us
  5. I wish I’d known bad behavior can get worse
  6. I wish I’d paid a whole lot more attention to money
  7. I wish I’d known what it really takes to make marriage work

The list seemed kinda sad to me.  In fact, the only thing on that list I would have said was that I wish I had paid a whole lot more attention to money.  That was enough to make me wonder if we military spouses had our own list of What I Wish I Knew Before I Married a Military Guy.  As a starter, I offer here my own list of seven things.  I can’t wait to see your version:

  1. I wish I paid a whole lot more attention to money.  I thought a paycheck every two weeks and a credit card with no balance meant we were rich.  I had no idea the city would make us pay for water.  Doesn’t water fall from the sky?
  2. I wish I knew that you can’t actually kiss someone 24 hours a day.  Somebody has to get up occasionally and do a couple of loads of laundry.
  3. I wish I knew how hard it was going to be to finish my degree.  I only had a semester left to finish in my Bachelors Degree on the day I got married.  I really did think any college would accept my credits or that my own school would accept credits from another school. My mother cried at my graduation—she didn’t think it would ever happen.  By that time, neither did I.
  4.  I wish I knew that loneliness is a physical sensation that you can carry for months at a time.  Now I know loneliness is a deployment accessory– like wearing a heavy coat in August.
  5. I wish I knew how to speak Japanese.  Why did I take French in school?  No one in the military is ever stationed in France.
  6. I wish I knew how important sex can be in a long relationship.  I would tell you more, but my mom reads this blog, so you are going to have to ask someone who seems really, really happy.  Like my mom.
  7. I wish I knew just how it would feel to be married to someone for 25 years.  I wish I knew then that we would actually get closer to each other, more knit together. I wish I knew how it would feel to wake up in the morning and have a full life–kids, jobs, dogs, houses– with one the person you love best in all the world.
Why Didn’t You Tell Me (YDU) is our weekly feature about all the hard-won lessons of military life.  Send your version of YDU to us through our Contact button.

Navy wife Jacey Eckhart is Editor of SpouseBuzz and author of I Married a Spartan??  The Care and Feeding of Your Military Marriage available on iTunes, Amazon, and on www.jaceyeckhart.com.

About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at JaceyEckhart.net.

65 Comments on "7 Things I Wish I’d Known About Military Marriage"

  1. FutureMrsAFVetSpouse | March 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

    I loved this blog post – I'm currently engaged to an AF veteran who is joining the AF Reserves. We've had MANY a discussion about the details and our upcoming wedding. But it's nice to hear that we were smart in taking our time and ignoring the pushes to get married faster.

  2. I wish I'd known that I'd essentially be a single mom for a good portion of the time. Would I change it? No, but it makes things lonely and hard sometimes. Also, I wish I'd realized at a younger age what a capable person I am. I wish I had the confidence in Germany that I have now. I would have explored more even though I was alone so much. I sometimes think I should have done more, whether my hubby was with me or not.

    • Eh hindsight, we can ALWAYS do more. It isn't too late, follow your dreams. Oh and, you weren't really a single mom, you still had his financial support and I am sure there were letters and occasional phone calls or skypes. I understand what you are saying; however, I think the true single moms and dads have it much harder than we do. They never get a break and have to bear the financial burden completely alone without the knowledge that their loved one can still come back home.

      • I respectfully disagree. I was a single Mom to my two daughters before I met my Army husband, who I now have another child with. I think being on my own with my husband gone is harder than being a single Mom because there is a level of disappointment that doesn't exist when you are a divorcee. Financially things are fine because we have two incomes; it's the emotional hardship that takes a much bigger toll on me personally.

    • That's why I refuse to have kids while my husband is in the army. Then again, we've only been married a year, I'm only 22, and due to him constantly being taken away for training, our marriage isn't anywhere near stable enough to bring a child into the mix. I can see how having children would make things ten times worse- especially if they are babies. I'd resent him for going off and seeing the world the same way I do now sometimes, and it would come to the surface much easier with lack of sleep and constant work (kids are a full time job in themselves.) I don't know how some women do it, they're definitely heroes!! I could never do it though, and I really think the military needs to require classes explaining how hard having children in the military is. A lot of people would rethink it if they knew what to expect.

  3. I wish I had known that "join the Navy and see the world" was not an offer from NCL for an all expense cruise for two around the world. I wish I had known that the family had its own set of "cruise rules" and really didn't need my rules between deployments. I really wish I had known that the military demands of sea duty and shore duty are pretty much the same, it's just that the food is better on shore duty. I wish I had known that rank only matters at the hangar. I wish that I had seen "Sex and the Naval Aviator" much sooner – might have saved on legal fees.

  4. I wish I's knew how uncomfortable moving every 2 or 3 years is!! I also wish I'd knew how hard it is to create a new daily routine every time we move. It is kinda of insane that by the time you think you have finally settled, your time is up. You have to pack your things and do it all over again!! The thing that also really gets me is the part of making friends and then having to say "see you later!" Making good friends is hard, finding good people to trust even harder… and when you finally have found that group of people you have, to leave them behind. I mean in the end you have a whole bunch of friends everywhere, but still… it kinda blows!

  5. I honestly think that prior to military members getting married there should be counseling, from my own mistakes I was waaaaaay too young in my first go round. I had heard of getting your CO's permissiion back in the day, I wish this had been my case. There are too many predators out there who feast on young vulnerible (SP?) military members.

  6. Thank you for the nice article. My husband and I have been married for one year today and it is a whole new ball game with different problems. I think the hardest thing I have dealt with is finding a job and getting into the swing of things when the threat of being moved across the country looms in the future.

    • i always wanted to be a military wife to have a husband to be proud of alot of my family was in the military and so have my sibling but me i neverhave got marrie but im still hoping i will marry one one day i would be a awsome wife

  7. Carmen James | March 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

    I wish I would have known it would be harder to make a blended families bond stronger when your spouse is always gone 3 quarters of the time.

  8. #3 rings SO true for me! My coastie and I got married when I had only one semester left as well. That was nearly two years ago and this summer I should finally earn my Bachelor's!

    • Congrats on the two years. But wait for it. I thought we had it all together st two years. Low and behold. Just prepare.

  9. Item 6 I wish I knew how important sex can be in a long relationship. My husband works hard in a military with working ,PT etc. He is usually too tired to have sex. I feel sorry for him but sex is also important in life too and I want it. Am I being selfish?

    • No, not selfish, it is perfectly natural and understandable.
      Before my husband joined as an active duty member, I worked 40-60 hour weeks with an unpredictable schedule so I was always the one who was too tired for sex. Now he is the one working all the time and I'm unemployed so my stress level is almost nil and my sex drive is high! It is just cruel how things seem to work out sometimes!

    • No, you are not being selfish. My husband was "too tired" for sex too. I tried not to be selfish. I kept asking and waiting. I found out he was really too tired because he was acting out at work with other women. I'm not saying this is your situation. But it was mine. He was courtmarshalled and I divorced his butt.

    • I know exactly what you mean! I've noticed that as well and it's not like you can say "stop being in the military for a day so that you have enough energy for me" lol it's not selfish, it's totally understandable, but you should talk to him about it. I talked to him about it and he wasn't even aware that things were "slowing down" and we "fixed it" lol

  10. My husband and I have been married 7 years. He's been in the military 10, we've been together that whole time. I'll add to the list that I wish I knew being a dependent would be a such a career killer. I'll reiterate the hardship of having close friends. The yearning for stability and knowing that it's another 10 years away still. The difficulties in moving and yet feeling restless after you've been in one place after a year. Wondering if the government is going to take your husband's paycheck away. Accepting that your family is several states away.

  11. Msgt Barbee | March 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

    During my career I have had the opportunity to counsel on this subject. I do think that there should be rules of engagement.1-During your first enlistment not allowed to marry. During your first enlistment your
    still trying find your self. It"s a journey to allow you to grow into this Mlitary life hopefully in these first years. The problem comes up when one thinks Gee I am now on my own I can do anything.Then comes along someone that makes you feel you can do anything. One must always remember the Military side-can you support your marriage in so many cases the anwser is no. Then your a young coupe-then there is overseas orders. Most important !! Before Marriage both should ask about finances,children were will the spouse live if Military spouse departs.Being a Military wife is not a easy job- She will play a very big
    part in anyones career.

    • Yes let's just impose more control on people who are risking their lives for us. *rolls eyes* Ridiculous. Especially for people like my husband who signed up for a very long enlistment and had years to grow and find themselves before getting married, and had a long engagement to figure all that stuff out.

  12. deepseeded | March 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

    I would like to add:

    I wish I knew that being a military husband, I would have less support (most spousal clubs are geared towards wives)and more confusion ("oh, are you the soldier" , *to wife* "well when you wash your husband's uniforms" … etc.)

    I wish I knew how hard it would be to find a job/career and that getting overly educated wasn't the best idea

    • My hubby is in the same boat as you(I'm the AD AF wife). When he got out, he had a Bachelor's in Business under his belt. With us beng stationed in MT, well, let's say the jobs weren't forthcoming…he was unemployed for a year right up until I got orders for Japan. There, it took him four months to get a job. His main concern are the gaps that occur due to my getting orders. When we got here in VA, it took him 10 months, and by this time, he'd gotten his Master's. As soon as some places saw that on his resume, they ran away. He was one of many whose federal unemployment stopped back in May couple of years back thanks to congress sitting on their duff, and skipping town for vacay. But you're right: there isn't much support, and though child care is expensive, some were looking at him to be the stay-at-home dad, when that's not happening since he's been taught since a boy that the man provides for the house. At times, being highly educated is good, but in places like MT, and here in VA where engineering is king, not business, not so much. Good luck!

  13. I think I am opposite of most people here. I have a career that I have no trouble keeping. I don't mind being away from my family or moving. It's the day-to-day stuff I struggle with. The husband who gets up so early he is half asleep by the time he gets home. The husband who can't be available to take kids to the doctor or help with other non-routine tasks. The struggle to be a dutiful, supportive military wife who can take care of the home all the time, while also being a goal-oriented "career woman." I wish someone had told me about that!

    • What do you do, if you don't mind me asking? I'm trying to find a career that can travel with us and that I can enjoy. I have 2 degrees, but I'm not sure how to work my way into a highly mobile job situation. I want to do any additional education soon so that I'm prepared to work full-time once my youngest goes to school.

      • I am a nurse. It has been a wonderful career that I love. I have been married for 35+ years with many moves in and mostly out of the military. My job even if part time, let me quickly feel settled in our new location. Nursing is a very rewarding career and with the flexible hours it worked with the kids.

    • Katie,
      You and I are very similar! I also managed to keep my career, but luckily my career can travel. I like it to, I get to learn the new laws in the new states and I never get that "stuck behind the desk" feeling because I know I'll be moving on to the next company. I also have the trouble with the "balance", I feel like I'm supposed to do it all and I'll admit I'm not always good at it.

  14. i wish i would have known how the stress of the army was going to change my husband. i wish i had had the courage to get out sooner than i did. my husband became an abusive drug addict and made life so much harder than it had to be. i stood by him through everything, and i wish he had done the same for me

    • How did he become a drug addict in the army??? I'm guessing it had to have been after he ETSed cause they do LOTS of drug tests.

  15. I wish I would have known about the UPS and DOWNS of Navy Submariners upon either their
    leaving for deployments or arriving home. Their ANGRY in the fact that you live in a home
    and they live on a sub…the resentment of being told what to do and control by their Commanders..

    If I would have realized he resented just about all 23 years he spent in Subs, I could have saved
    alot of stress and my years of living alone for important ocassions; birthdays, anniversaries
    and holidays…because now the legal fees for the divorce he filed are unreal. He took a
    job in Afghanistan and filed for divorce when he came home on a 3 week vacation, I thought.
    So all those years of "waiting" and doing the right thing, namely, all the work involved in
    maintaining a home, cars and family, while he was GONE…were for nothing. He is violent
    angry and trying to regain his youth.

  16. I wish I would have been prepared better for what he was going to be like after coming home from deployment. I was told he was going to be changed but it was a complete 180 and it almost ended our otherwise perfect relationship. It was so bad that he barely slept or ate and was "on alert" all the time. He wouldn't leave the house for days and grew increasingly more paranoid. I finally convinced him to get help or I was leaving. From then on he has slowly transformed back to the man I fell in love with 3 years ago.

  17. All of this is scaring me half to death! My fiance and I have been together almost 2 years and he is currently deployed. So, now I am flipping out about marrying him because I have fears about how he will be when he returns and my life in the future. He will be home for R&R in a couple days and would really like to get married over leave. I love him to death, but I don't know what to do! :-(

    • Jess,
      Please do not freak out!! My husband and I have been together for 12 years married for 4 and he has been a Marine for almost 5 years. He has been on 3 deployments. Yes like everyone says he will be different when he comes home but, how different depends on the person, where he is, what he is doing and what he has seen while deployed. Every deployment will change him a little more but, you will change over every deployment too. You have to work together to get through the changes and grow together. If you go into it thinking it is not going to work then it won't work. Support from other military spouses is important they are the ones that will understand just what you are going through and most are willing to help and share their stories. We have ALL been there at one time or another. I would not change my life for anything.

  18. To those who are wondering about the "up" side of this military marriage thing here is a list for you:
    What I wish I had known when my husband decided to go back into the military after we were already married:
    1. What an adventure we had in store. We have been places I would never have dreamed of, seen large parts of the world, done things that we never would have if he had stayed civilian.
    2. What incredible friends I would meet. Yes, most of them are also either Soldiers or military spouses. We meet, we make friends, we move, and 'surprise' we meet each other again at some point.
    3. How we would both grow, together while he is in garrison, and separately while he is deployed (he is currently on his 4th). I did not know how competent I was until I had to deal with some things around the house while he was deployed. Please understand, I DO NOT like deployments, but we have learned to cope, as military families must.
    4. How much I would still love this man I married, is spite of all the challenges, after many years as an Army spouse.
    (to be continued)

    • Thank you thank you for a positive comment, I am young army girlfriend and was becoming a bit weary just over the last few minutes reading some of these comment!

  19. I wish I knew what to say when my husband has bad days during deployment and he tells me I have no idea what he’s going through. I also wish I was better prepared for the military life. It’s hard letting others control my life. I wish someone would have also told me about how hard finding a well paying job is even when you are educated. Last but not least someone should told me about #6 lol.

  20. I wish I had known how important pre-marriage counseling would be for me and having a blended family in the military. Soldiers should be counseled to get pre-marriage counseling weeks or even months before getting married.

  21. My husband and I were married for three years before he joined the Air Force and our life took an upswing once he did. He was working at Tyson, and now he has a great job in Intelligence with excellent pay and benefits. We learned to pinch pennies hard when he was working in a factory, now with his pay it's an amazing amount of money to us. We are happy to have way more than eighty bucks a week to spend on groceries. He is able to afford an education now, and he has confidence because he has really excelled at his job so far. We never dreamed we would move from our town and now we live halfway across the country and we are enjoying it alot!

  22. Our in-laws were always up in our relationship, full of toxic comments, and always took our time on the weekends. I am glad my son got to live near them for the first two and a half years of his life, but they had bad habits and passive agressive tendencies I did not want rubbing off on him. Now when we see family its a celebration, and anything said in passing that is negative is easily forgot, because we get to leave. We are more a unit than we were before, truly having to rely on each other. This is only two years in but it's all been positive. I know life before we were a military family and I know we've made an excellent choice. :) I love being a military spouse!

  23. Mrs. Williams | March 29, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    I Wish I had known that No matter How Strong your relationship is, how long you've known your Sp, or how much you are totaly and completely in Love with Eachother… THE FIRST DEPLOYEMENT WILL CHANGE THINGS (Specialy if he's in the Infantry)… My Husband n I have known eachother for over 10 years… Been Toghether Over 6 and Been Married 4… We have a Strong relationship and have been through alot but boy let me tell you that first deployment can do a toll… Not all Soldiers see the same thing Infantry Men (Specialy Snipers) have to deal with on a daily while in the War Zone… Most Important thing is NOT to pressure him to talk… He'll talk when he's ready and he just wants you to listen… Just knowing he has someone there to support him is all he's asking for.. Army Life has it's Ups and Downs… You Just have to CHERISH the Good times… Good Luck Ladies and Gents

  24. 1) I wish he had known what marriage was really like, ie – adultery is wrong and when faced with proof, be honest, abuse (verbal, mental, physical is not acceptable) marriage takes work and commitment
    2) I wish I knew why I couldn't kiss him any hour of the day
    3) Already had a BS – astrophysics/astronomy/space science
    4) I wish I knew being lonely was inevitable even though he was never deployed
    5) I wish I could speak his language
    6) yes, I did.
    7) I wish I had the opportunity

    I would have added, I wish I knew how my spouse would change
    I wish I knew what he was doing, anything
    I wish I knew the divorce rate
    I wish I knew abuse was so prevalent
    I wish I knew what to have done or what resources were available when was trapped, isolated, abused, and no financials

  25. maryannnpassmore | April 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    The best years of my life were as a military wife–in1960, we needed the CO's permission to get married-I was told," if the Air Force wannted him to have a wife they would of issued him one".That the Air Force came first and I would be 2nd, I took these words seriouly–when he was on alert he was on alert–when PCS orders came for overseas he went first annd I went back to my family until there was housing and then I joined him–friends came and went and that was just the way it was–gave birth to 3 babies alone–because of his duty–to me these were not big things as I remembered what the CO said–I was 2nd–I got to see alot of the world, learned a couple of languages,my medical was always taken care of annnnnd I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that there was a pay check every two weeks annd that in 3 years there would be orders for some where else–was hard leaving frends but sooner or later you got up with them if they were career people–loved the life and thank-you USAF for helping me be an independant person–would Ido it again? In a heart beat

  26. I wish I had known how hard and lonely it would be to have a baby smack dab in the middle of CPO induction season! I wish I would have known how hard it was to say "good bye" and "hello" a dozen times a year while my hubby left and returned from FTX(field training exercises) while in a training command, and all the emotions that went along with it. It felt like I was running a B & B right out of our own home and he was the only guest!

  27. I wish I had gotten to know my husband better before we married. We married 1.5 years after meeting. I guess you could have called that the honey moon period. We have struggled now since the day we got married…it's now been 2 years of marriage. When I met him, he was always the clown of the crowd, made me laugh until my sides hurt. We would go out together ALL the time, do all these fun things, I have never met such an adventurous guy, he swooped me off my feet and would tell me every day how he was going to marry me no matter what as I was the love of his life… but then we got married and I saw another side to him, that was self serving, angry, bitter, and not to forget to mention I found out he was addicted to porn (5 hours lock in the bathroom!). We stopped socializing, doing things, and he would blame me for everything that went wrong. I feel like I was tricked into marriage, and he only married me because he "needs" me, but doesn't "want" me. We went through counseling and things got better. He left for an 8 month deployement, and we used this time to work on communication. When we were reunited things were AMAZING for the first 3 months, we socialized with other people and did lots of fun things, but things have just got worse again…it's like he can't stand to be around me!? He makes fun of me to make himself laugh. He nitpicks everything I do, has to comment on every mistake I make, points out all my flaws…he says he's joking and that I shouldn't be so serious, even though I tell him I don't find it funny and that it hurts. Hearing these so called "jokes" every day is slowly killing my love for him, it makes me feel like i'm rejected, not good enough, self conscious… We recently PCS'd from to CA, and I hate it. Freeways and desserts everywhere. I'm stuck in this house 24/7 with no car because he takes the car to work. He won't even let me take him to work, he says he needs the car, and if I want a car then I need to get a job – that in itself makes me feel worthless and controlled. Nothing is in walking distance except the local mini mart. I've taken steps to take care of myself though, to keep me sane – i'm a big believer in happiness starts with focusing on 'me' – I walk the dog everyday, workout at home, study so I can get my personal trainer certification, and i'm now doing some work from home to earn some extra money. BUT when my husbands comes home it's like i'm invisible or i'm just a nuisance to him. I feel more lonely when he's around and some days I wish he stays at work late! I never treat him badly in return, in fact I do quite the opposite in hopes to set an example, so he will reciprocate. I get up every morning with him and make his lunch, I kiss him goodbye telling him how much I love him but sometimes he can't even look me in the eye and all he says is 'yep k, see ya later'. I txt him at work with loving messages, and questions but receive no reply. He comes home and it is worse! He says he needs 30 minutes for himself because he's so tired and has been working so hard (and I respect that), so I give him this, but he still treats me with no respect after this 30 minute period. I can't remember the last time we actually had a conversation!? I try and talk to him, ask him questions about his day, but it's like drawing blood from a stone, he'll mutter, not reply, ask me to repeat myself like 3 times. We have no sex life, I can't even remember the last time we made love in recent months, and even if we are sexual then it's just a "quickie" so he can satisfy himself. I feel like i'm better off being alone because I am so much more productive and feel better myself when he's not around. I feel like the world revolves around him as soon as he walks through the door. I can't even imagine having kids with him, because if this is how he treats me then how can I expect him to be a nurturing father… I love him to death, at-least I think I still do, but I feel like i'm running out of hope because when I try to talk and tell him how I feel, he just defends himself and blames me. How can help our relationship when he won't take responsibility for the well being of our relationship and most importantly our future! He's 29 years old, and he's always banging on about how he's more mature than me, but honestly he acts like my first teenage boyfriend!!!

  28. i am going to wish haha ,

    im about to be new to the army life .
    my boyfriend and i are tieing the knot come april of 2013 then hes leaveing the summer of 2013 then after that year come april agian im going to move to base with him. i have no clue what to think of all of this how stuff is going to feel ? how my lifes going to change ? whats good about it ?

    any advice guys :) thanks for your help

    love, scared soon to be army wife :)

  29. I'm glad I found this! – He definitely warned me before we got married that I would come second in his life for a time. We've been married around 3 months at this point, and after moving in with him I have found this to be accurate.

    I left my home state, drove 4 days to the other side of the country – left all my family and friends behind. I honestly feel lonely even when he is home, because he has so much work to do.

    Our sex life has started to suffer from it, and I am working to create a career and volunteering as much as possible to pass the time, but I have no real friends aside from ones I had previously who I keep in touch with via Email and phone calls.

    I know he loves me dearly, and he tells me often, as I love him – but this is definitely not the life I imagined (and he hasn't even been deployed yet!). This is much harder than I would have ever thought, and I pride myself on being self-sufficient.

    My only advice is – that marriage, as a whole, should not be taken lightly. And marrying into the military, as long as your are part of that institution – you will be second. That is not a life for every spouse, but I would not enter into it lightly, and I wish in retrospect that I had been less proud and given it more thought before leaping from an engagement to a marriage in 3 months time.

  30. I wish I'd listened to the warnings from friends, I wish I'd looked beyond how in love we were to the facts, I wish someone had told me how crazy they actually really were; it is not normal to want to go and shoot human beings at any cost. Military is code for mental health problems that wives and girlfriends keep silent about to 'protect' their careers. I'm still being dragged through the court after him having a complete double life with two women, a girlfriend, abused, screamed at, blamed for everything, told I was crazy by the military social worker who is also protecting him, he took all the money and used it against me. And the worst part is; women who date these men think it's normal – it's not. It's called domestic abuse. These men self chose to kill, not to find a girl and be there for her and support her. Those who you think are loving and nice; mine was loving and nice if I didn't investigate the lies I was told. They are cheating on you. They are the best in the business and you will never find out. You may think I am a bitter person, but I too shunned the woman who tried to warn me against military men.

  31. My husband and I have been married for just under 9 months (so maybe I'm not an expert yet, but I have some thoughts about the subject). Of those nine months, he's been gone for almost three, cumulatively. We are now pregnant, expecting on September, and he expects to deploy for 8 months in October. Nursing is my field, so I haven't had much trouble finding work as I have switched jobs twice (!) already since we've been married. And I'm also hoping to begin my Master's degree this fall. There is a lot on our plate, and marriage is always a challenge even without the other factors.

    Wisely taking into consideration what people have told you about marriage, and military marriage, if the love of your life is in the military (and you have to decide this is okay with you BEFORE the wedding – it's not fair to ask him to leave his career when you go in knowing what he does), and you (and he!) are willing to MAKE it work in a loving way, I absolutely believe it can be done. There are going to be things that you will have to compromise (and you won't want to, believe me), but he should also be supportive of you. As hard as it is for them, being away from their families, they know how hard it is for us. And if you DO have a career, it's true that it's hard to come home and keep a perfect house at the end of the day (my house is never perfect). But life is an adventure, and we must grab hold or we'll be left behind!

    The only time I ever have doubts are when my pregnancy emotions get the better of me. I have no regrets. I dread my husband's deployment, but the time that I have with him now (and God-willing in the future!) is well worth it. He's the love of my life. Sure, we argue. Our marriage isn't flawless, but we both try to always bring joy and laughter into each other's day. Remind yourself of all the things that make you love him. And a non-retaliation mentality! When you are hurt by the other person, you must both remember that those hurts are not intentional (and if they are, you shouldn't be there in the first place). I believe this is of particular importance when leading a transient lifestyle, with long-distance relationship aspects (and it sounds like you already have experience of what it's going to be like at times!)

    And although it's awful leaving friends behind, stay in touch with those you are close to! Make the effort. Keep that support, and reach out when you get somewhere new. This is what I'm trying to do. I'm certainly not an authority, but I'm hopeful! And happy.

    Chin up! It's a beautiful life. We have to make it that way, together.

  32. I have been a USAF wife and mother for 25 years and I will not lie and say that it has all been a cake walk but it has been a life experience that I wouldn't trade for a million dollars. Sure it is easy to live a life of self pity but you have to think of the military member and how much they sacrifice for us to complain about our daily strugglesand our freedom. The up side of living in a military life is that there is not layoffs, my whole extended family has had to deal with financial uncertainty all their lives but the almost 30 years that my husband has been excelling in the military we have been financially stable and we have gotten to see England, Terciera, and many other lifestyles. American is what we are and we love and take pride in being that anywhere we have been sent with the USAF. But it is a good thing that you have gone into this life with your eyes wide open.

  33. My husband is active duty, and we've been married 2 years now. Yes it's hard, yes it's lonely, yes it's frustrating, BUT it's worth every heartache, every night spent alone, and every tear IF you truly love each other. My husband deploys in about 2 weeks and while I am dreading it and do NOT want him to go, every time I feel myself get sad I just remind myself how proud I am of him, for everything that he does. Nights that he works until midnight and then leaves again at 0500 you will be frustrated and you won't understand why he can't just stay home. I can't count the number of times that I have wanted to just quit, and then I hear our daughter say "My daddy is my hero because he fights the bad guys to keep us safe" I know that we're going to make it through it all of the hard times.

  34. Ssggarciaswife | March 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

    I agree, my fiance and I are getting married in less than two months and this whole topic and thread is just really depressing, especially because I am still trying to finish college and he will be deployed in october. Surely there are some perks!

  35. 20+ years in, and in the end it's what you make of it. My husband has been gone over half our marriage. We've raised two children. It is easier to stay in touch during deployments than it used to be, so that is a plus! We've had amazing adventures in Europe and Asia, as well as state-side. Our children have a global understanding and are more well-rounded, and they have some amazing foreign language skills. We homeschooled our children, which made everything easier. When my husband returned from deployment during the school year, we could take leave and head on vacation! The world was their classroom. We did a lot of Space A travel, both with and without my husband. But this kind of life takes total commitment from both people. As a spouse, there are lots of opportunities for you to learn and grow and be an important part of the military community. And I've made lifelong friendships. Good luck to you!

  36. Don't be sad, this is such an exciting time in your life! You get to start a new adventure with the one you love. I have been with my husband for 5 years now and he has been an active duty Marine for 7 years. I can't tell you enough how proud I am of him. I have met so many great people and have been able to live in places that I normally never would be able to. Yes, there are downsides to moving and starting over, but then again you get a clean slate. You get to try things that non-military families aren't normally able to do! You also have that sense of pride that can never be taken. There is no reason you should be lonely, get out there and keep yourself busy. Trust me, it's not easy being without your loved one, but you have to make the best of it. I keep myself busy by surrounding myself with positive people, volunteering or partaking in hobbies.

  37. I know so many families that would love the insight of an interior designer. You just have to take your degree and work with it. I am a Finance major, my dream was to be a financial advisor, that's not going to happen with us moving around so much, I would need to generate a clientele base, but I have been able to work with what I want to do with it and made it work for me and my family. The key is staying busy, finding out what there is do in the area and on base. I love the military lifestyle, but you get what you put forth. Enjoy this time, it goes by quickly!

  38. No marriage is easy and if you neglect it it will disappear just like anything else in life. If you truly love you fiance then it will all work out with alot of love and understanding and attention to you spouses needs and vice versa. Marriage is not a fairy tale and it is not a romance novel but it is so worth it! Take care of you and stay focused on your love for eachother!

  39. Most bases have classes that will get you a bit of basic German, and most Germans speak at least a little English. Most Germans are also pleased when you make the attempt, and will try their best to help you. It is worth making the effort, such a terrific place to be stationed, I still got out and did things while my husband was deployed when we were stationed in Germany, and it made the time go faster.

  40. A big problem for many military wives though is that they are willing to work at the marriage but their husband is not.

  41. It will be interesting to see how you feel in 18 more years. Best of luck to you.

  42. Mrs. Williams | March 29, 2012 at 10:45 am |

    Absolutly correct… Have to take the Good with the bad and Cherish the good!! The Military Marriage is a Life style not just a Marriage and I think that's what alot of ppl don't understand when getting Married..

  43. KKgirl, you are so right about that. They forget that they are not single and have a family to come home to when the job is done or the ship is in port. But we also have to remember, that they need time to adjust to us as much as we have to adjust to them. I was a Navy spouse for 16 years and it was hard. One mistake him and I made was we would go to our room and rejoice, but we wouldn't take time to get to know each other again. Communication in any marriage is key, but it is vitale in a military marriage. (Continued in next box)

  44. (Continued from thread above) You need to vocally talk when the service memeber returns before the physical talking starts. Re-connect, go on a date, take time to romance one another again. I know it is hard to do when there are children involved, but in order to keep the marriage alive it is a must. Also, if he is the type of person who keeps secrets and doesn't talk much be careful. Those are the ones that will run away from the marriage and look for things somewhere else. Yes, it happened to me and I have met many others that say it has happened to them. The next thing you know he doesn't want to be married any more. I am not saying all men who are quiet are like this, I am saying it seems to be those types that the marriage doesn't work as well.

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