Is it possible to “prepare” to stay married to a military member? Or do more military spouses need to prepare to be divorced? What if there was a quiz like this to sort you out:
Does your whole family look forward to deployment as a time of joy and peace?
Has your servicemember figured out how to have more than one wife on his DEERS form?
Do you just so happen to spit every time you say the name of your servicemember?
Did your servicemember deploy without telling you?
Did you fail to notice he or she was gone?
Is the last time you had sex … Geez, when was the last time you had sex?
If you haven’t guessed by now, this particular quiz isn’t one of those highly researched, reliable testing instruments. If you and your servicemember are living separate lives, never solve problems, never have sex and exhibit huge contempt for each other, you already know that you have problems without any stupid quiz.
So should you prepare for military divorce? Or is that just cold?
I read about divorce prep all the time. This week in USA Today, Hadley Malcom indicated divorce is the kind of thing you must plan rationally. Instead of hiring an attorney first, the article suggested that your first step toward divorce ought to be hiring a financial adviser. One of the women featured in the article had squirreled away $2,000 in a tampon box so she could pay her attorney’s retainer.
Other financial advisers concur. In a recent article, USAA certified financial planner June Walberg advised working out the finances of divorce before separation.
“When going through a divorce you need to know how the numbers shake out, so know what you can afford and what you can’t,” she says. “The numbers don’t lie.”
This bothers me a little. On one hand, preparing for military divorce sounds like really good advice. If your military marriage is ending, you have to be strong enough to take care of business. No use letting yourself hope that everything will get better magically. No need to go gentle into that bad night.
On the other hand, maybe preparing for divorce is just cold. Maybe it means that you aren’t spending your energy fixing the relationship.
Maybe I am too much of a hoper and a dreamer. I do see the logic of preparing for divorce when the writing is on the wall. Yet I rarely see marriages that have huge, dramatic indicators that a divorce is definitely in order. (If a marriage problem is that dramatic, we tend to write about it on SpouseBuzz.) Prepare now!
Instead, I have this feeling that military marriage is a lot like going up a slide backward. Sometimes no matter how hard you cling to the top, you keep sliding toward the bottom. Then again, sometimes when you think you are sliding to the bottom you can get a little toehold that sends you back to the top. It could go either way.
So I’m asking: Is it really possible to prepare to stay married? Or do military spouses really need one of these divorce plans and a box full of cash?