Thanks to Bethaney from the Social Robot for her guest post today!
When getting into a relationship with a military member, you may or may not have been giving a crash course of what’s to come. Perhaps you were even given an earful from friends and family.
I’ve heard of newbies attending classes and really immersing themselves in the culture… before they ever say “I do.” And then there are those who say their nuptials and learn in the moment (or were already married when their member joined). Of course there’s no right or wrong way to get married, but understanding a little on the front end and/or at the beginning of your marriage certainly makes things easier.
Any relationship is hard, and it’s not to say that being married to the military is harder or any worse; it’s simply to say that your challenges are different. You will face events that most don’t understand: deployments, training dates, long distance moves, uncertainty about locations or time spans. The more you know going in – or as it’s happening, the easier it is to adjust.
So … what are you giving up?
You’re giving up the ability to plan and/or schedule
Want to plan that family trip? Be prepared to go when Uncle Sam says you can go. Even if your spouse has the vacation days, doesn’t mean you can use them when you want to.
Or at all.
Be ready to mark your calendar with a pencil at all times because things will change fast and hard.
Do your best not to take it personally. It’s not about you or your service member, it’s about an entire line of red tape and/or logistics and days off are just the trickle-down. Keep your days as open as possible and enjoy the family time away as it comes along.
You’re giving up choosing where you want to live
Get ready for an adventure, because it’s likely that you will move from state to state over the next several years. Of if your spouse plans on being a lifer, you might even get to see the world!
It’s hard to get attached to people and places and to be uprooted without much say in it. Really hard.
Do your best to make good use out of the time you are there. (You’re not doing yourself any justice with the “We are just leaving soon” attitude.) Experience new cultures, new places, new landmarks… The more positive you are about each location, the better off you’ll be. Enjoy it as you can, and yes, it gets easier.
You’re giving up a “normal” schedule
This affects your spouse more so than it does you, but it still leaves you behind to deal with the house, kids, pets, or whatever responsibilities you might have.
Sometimes they’re gone for months. Other times, it’s for a few days and you have regular contact. You’ll find a groove. Just be prepped to run things whenever they might be gone.
Of course, there are MANY positives to being married to the military. First and foremost being that you get to be with the one you love. Challenges will come and go, but you’ll learn together, see and experience new things, and most of all, you’ll have a relationship and a service member to be proud of.
Bethaney Wallace is a military spouse and professional content marketer. Find her at TheSocialRobot.com.