My husband and I had been married over three years when he joined the Army at age 30. He had been in before when he was a lot younger, before I met him. He was already done with his 8 years. When we got married, I didn’t think that the Army would be in our future. It was in his past and that is where it was going to stay.
We made a few decisions and after a few years we found ourself questioning if he should go back in. At first we thought going the Army Reserve route. We met with a recruiter and found out that for his MOS, he would have to travel about three hours to get to drill each month. That was in May of 2005 and I came home from that feeling like it wasn’t the right thing to do.
Then my husband started getting health benefits from his current job and they were horrible. It just wasn’t working. By August we had decided to look into what going into Active Duty would mean. We met with a different recruiter and it just felt right. I wanted him to wait until November since a friend was getting married and I really wanted to go to the wedding. We should have waited until AFTER the holiday season. Seriously, if you are thinking of joining the Military in the fall, wait until after New Years. The Military will make being together for holidays hard enough, give yourself one more holiday season before that can happen. I wish we would have known that going in.
My husband didn’t have to go through Basic again which we didn’t know at first. I dropped him off one day in November and he was in Germany two weeks later. It took us almost five months to join him which was a big wake up call about how the Military can work sometimes.
If you are married and your spouse expresses interest in joining the Military, there are a few things you should do:
- Make sure you are on the same page. My husband didn’t join until I was ready. If he had done if before I was okay with it, it could have ruined our marriage. Talk it over. Even if your first thought is “No way!” Talk it over and see what you both really think about it.
- Ask questions. There is a lot of information out there about Military life these days. There is no reason why you can’t get online and get a sense of what it will be like. We Milspouse bloggers like to talk about it 🙂
- Know it will be difficult. You can’t have your spouse join thinking you will somehow get an easy Military ride. Plan for how hard it is going to be. Realize you will be without them sometimes. Understand that many spouses do it and you can to if the Military is something your husband really wants to do.
- Know it doesn’t have to be forever. You only sign up for 3-4 years of Active duty at a time. You can get out after that. If it doesn’t work out, get out and do something else. Especially if you are very young. There is a lot you can do with your life. Take it one enlistment at a time if you have to.
- Know there is support. Us spouses have to stick together because Military life is hard. You will not be alone. There are resources out there for you and your family. You can connect with others. You won’t be the only one going through whatever it is Military life will bring you through.
- Not everyone will agree with the decision. You might have people who care about you who don’t agree. You have to understand that joining the Military can be a very scary choice for them. Give them time and explain why you two are making this decision.
The decision on if you should join the Military or not is a hard one. Don’t take it lightly and really think about it before anyone signs any papers. Make sure you are on the same page about it and look for resources to help Military spouses. They are out there. Try not to be afraid. Ask questions.