Military Marriage and Our Life Before the Army

Military Marriage and Our Life Before the Army

When I first met my husband he was 25 years old and had been out of the Army for about 4 years. It was in his past, something he did for a couple of years after high school.  We dated, got engaged and got married. No plans to join the Army again. Fast forward to 2005 and here we were in the recruiter’s office in Lexington, KY getting all the paperwork together. We had been married a little over 3 years and it was a joint decision. He left for Germany on Nov 7th, 2005 and that was when we became a military family. The longer we are in, the fuzzier and more distant those pre-Army marriage years are.


You might have met your husband when he was already active duty, or maybe you got married right before he left for basic training.  But I also know there are many of us that made the decision to join the military together after having years as a non-military couple.

I wanted to blog about the differences.  Now I know that just like each couple might have a slightly different experience in the military, each couple probably had a difference experience before they joined the military.

As a non-military couple, my husband worked a regular job.  He was paid hourly.  He got extra pay on holidays and if he was sick he just called in.  If we wanted to take a vacation in say September, he just put in for it and usually got that time off.

Now, he works all kinds of hours.  Sometimes he is home at 4, other times not until 7 and that is when he is home, not deployed, in the field or doing CQ.  No extra pay for having to go in on a holiday or weekend.  If he is sick he has to go to sick call.  Vacation revolves around block leave and when the Army says they he can take it.n690290704_1608926_4309

Before the Army, my husband was always home.  After work and on weekends were our time.  We could plan whatever we wanted. He didn’t need to get a special pass to travel.  We could make plans 6 months in advance and know when he had to work and when he didn’t.  Now?  Forget that.  If we plan something for 6 months from now it probably isn’t going to happen in the end.  I have no idea if he will even be home for Christmas this year.

Before the Army we decided we would do the every other year thing with Christmas and Thanksgiving.  One year we do Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his and the next we would switch.  Well that went right out the window with Army life, deployments and living so far from California.  Now we just plan each year as we go.  I would love to spend Thanksgiving with my family again, but it’s been years and might be years before it will happen again.  Such is Army life.BG (6)

Before the Army we would talk everyday.  Since being in the Army we sometimes have to go days and even weeks without talking.  I think we did a full month once and a few 3 week periods where we didn’t talk at all.  The norm during the deployments seemed to be talking every 4-5 days.  But sometimes we did have to last longer.

One thing we did not have before my husband re-joined the Army was homecoming and R&Rs.;  These moments have been SO good for our marriage.  They make me feel like we were dating or newlywed’s again.  A military ball can be such a fun date too.

Military marriages have to go through a lot of stresses but it doesn’t have to break you.  And in the end it can make your marriage even stronger.  But man things sure are different than they use to be.

Did you are your husband have any time together pre-military?  Or was he already in when you met him?

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12 thoughts on “Military Marriage and Our Life Before the Army”

  1. We did have time pre-military. My husband signed up after 9/11. When we were married there were no plans for the military, even though both of our fathers were in the military. But after 9/11, the world changed.

  2. Loved your story. I married into the army…. I feel deployments have made us stronger as a couple. But u do have to have understanding extended family but U never know when U will see them,

  3. My husband and I dated through college. He was in ROTC so I knew he was going into the Army. We got married just after graduation. I think the hardest thing for me to comprehend for while was that while they earn leave days, they can only use it during specified weeks in the year. And the fact that leave has to include a weekend day too. I just didn't get why they couldn't take the leave they earned when they wanted. There is definitely a lot to get used to in the military.

  4. My husband and I met before he joined the Army. He was in for 4 years and when he joined the civilian world. It was a joint decision when he joined the Army again. I really enjoy our military life together (minus the deployments of:)!

  5. Thank you so much for this post! Sometimes I feel like none of the other military wives understand that we had a "before" life I'm still trying to leave behind, or that yes, in our family it's a joint decision, a joint discussion, for that reason. You may have read it when I posted our story a couple of months back, but same here, no plans for the Army. It just sort of happened. I'm very glad for it and I love that he is doing what he really wants to do (or, will be, once this crap class is over). But like I say, still adjusting.

  6. My husband and I were married for over 6.5 years before he enlisted. I think I have grown up and our married has matured more in these past 8 months in the Army then all those 6 years combined.

  7. OccDoc and I kind of dated before the Army really took over. OccDoc got an Army scholarship to go to medical school April '01. We started dating midway through his 3rd year, so we had 1 1/2 years before he started actually working in the Army. Our relationship was still so new then it's hard to compare it to now, especially since OccDoc is now an attending and no longer a little med student.

  8. Loved your story. I married into the army…. I feel deployments have made us stronger as a couple. But u do have to have understanding extended family but U never know when U will see them,

  9. I knew my husband for five years before we started dating and dated for about a year before he left for basic training. I'm still trying to figure out what our lives will be life with him being in the military to be perfectly honest. Sometimes being homesick clouds my judgement, but I'm definitely lucky to have the man that I do.

  10. I really never thought Aaron would be a military man. He had a steady full-time job that paid more than my teaching job and he was ready to go back to school on their tuition assistance. We dated for five years before getting married. He got that job shortly before we got married. We were married for only seven months when we got news he'd be laid off. He spent the next two months literally working his butt off to join. He didn't have a degree and we didn't have money to pay for school and we weren't going to take out loans as I had a ton.So, he joined and we became a military family. We don't regret it and I'm so thankful he made the sacrifice so we could have financial stability and he could get a degree for free.

  11. My husband and I were married in 2004, and he joined in 2006. We are both Army brats, so it was only a matter of time before he ended up joining too. We had 2 years of married civilian life prior to the Army. When he joined, it was a joint decision. Although Army life isn't easy, we have been blessed. It has been an overall good experience so far.

  12. loved this post…we too had time before military..and we decided together to become a military family.Hubby has been in almost 9 years and we are still learning and adjusting =)

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