What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Join The Military
Sometimes life doesn’t go the way you think it might and before you know it your spouse is talking to you about wanting to join the military. If you are like me, this wasn’t apart of the plan when you married your husband. Joining the military wasn’t something in your five-year plan.
However, life is funny sometimes and you can end up doing things you never thought you would. You can end up doing things you never even dreamed of doing. You can end up in places you could never have imagined going to.
My husband and I had been married for 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. When we got married, I didn’t think that the Army would be in our future. The Army was in his past, and that is where the military was going to stay.
We made a few decisions, and after a few years, we found ourselves questioning if he should go back in. At first, we thought about the Army Reserves. 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 joining the Reserves 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 goes into Active Duty would mean.
We met with a different recruiter, and everything just felt right. I wanted him to wait until November since a friend was getting married and I wanted to go to the wedding. We should have waited until AFTER the holiday season. 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 joined before I was ready, our marriage would have suffered. Talk the decision over. Even if your first thought is “No way!” Talk it over and see what you both think. There are also a lot of options when it comes to joining the military. They can go active duty, National Guard, or Reserves.
- 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 this life will be like. We Milspouse bloggers like to talk about it 🙂 Feel free to ask us or any friends who are military spouses questions. There is a lot to be worried about before joining the military and hearing about what others do to get through the difficulties of military life is a good idea.
- Know it will be difficult. You can’t have your spouse join the military thinking you will somehow get a smooth Military ride. Plan for how hard this life is going to be. Realize you will be without them sometimes. Solo parenting will become apart of your life. Understand that many spouses do this and you can too if the Military is something your spouse 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 military life doesn’t work out, go and do something else. Especially if you are young. There is a lot you can do with your life. Take it one enlistment at a time if you have to. Signing up for 20 years at a time isn’t apart of the requirements to join the military.
- 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 scary choice for them. Give them time and explain why you two are making this decision. Most people will get that and if they don’t, you might have to keep your distance for a while.
The decision on if your spouse should join the Military or not is a complicated one. Don’t take this decision lightly and think about what joining means before anyone signs any papers. Make sure you are on the same page about the decision and look for resources to help Military spouses. They are out there. Try not to be afraid. Ask questions.
If your spouse does decide to join the military, know that your life will change. This can be a scary thought but the change can be a good one. You will be able to meet people you would never have, you will be able to do things you never thought you would, and through everything, you will become a stronger person as you stand by and support your spouse on their next adventure.