What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Join The Military

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.

What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Join The Military


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.

Milspouse Life

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.

What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Join The Military

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.

Military spouse

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.

Did your spouse join the Military after you were married?

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17 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Join The Military”

  1. Great post! My husband had already in the Marine Corps for three years when we got married in 2013, but we were faced with similar challenges when he decided to reenlist last fall. I figured I only had to deal with it for a couple years and then we could go on to live a normal life without all the stress that goes along with military life. Well a year later, he brought up the idea of reenlisting. After a lot of discussion, we decided it was best for us if he went through with the reenlistment. So he signed the paperwork and took on four more years this past fall. It’s a big commitment and it’s something you both have to be on the same page about. It’s not the easiest life, but so far, I couldn’t picture our life any other way. 🙂

      • My boyfriend wants to join so we could be more financially stable and a secured future… At first I REALLY didn’t want him to go… I guess it was because of fear of something happening to him.. But than he gave me a wake up call to that death comes for everyone… It hit me hard..I cried about it.. Since I guess I was so oblivious about it… So I asked him to let me think about me getting into that future..{since at the time, we were just getting together} and after trying to come to terms…he Told me.. If I truly didn’t want him to go, he wouldn’t since he loves me very much and… wanted to put me first.. after awhile him trying to think about a place to work at.. His mother and her mother suggested and agreed that he should go sign up for the military… Since his body and stamina was “built” to be a soldier… So here I am again… Feeling that sadness in my heart… Thankfully he actually STILL allowed me to choose.. I’m thinking about it…I guess the only reason I’m being hesitant is because I feel as though he truly he truly the øne for me.. However, even if he didn’t go… something could happen to him while doing a job
        …. Sigh~ idk.. It’s so hard… since this is the first time I dealt with something like this…

        Since I’m unaware…what are the benefits for someone enlisting for basic training etc.?

        Thank you for your time…

  2. I always knew Tom was going to join. We met in high school and he was like, “I’m joining the Air Force.” I went, “Cool.” My Mom was in the Air Force so I knew how it went.

  3. Mine joined before, but we were living together at the time and had been for a few years (and together even longer). He made the decision. I was not involved in it. I got screwed over by it. It bothers me to this day, 8 years later.

    Talk to your s/o about it, especially if you are living with them. Make them part of the decision, it impacts them just as much as it does you.

  4. My husband signed up the week we started dating, I didn’t even know he had done it- it was something he had wanted to do since he was little. It’s definitely hard, but I’m proud of him and try to think of it as an adventure.

  5. My husband joined this past summer , we have been married for 15 years with two teenaged children ! This is something he has always wanted to do but having a career and children he never signed up . So 6 months before his 35th birthday which was the cutoff he gave it a shot and now he is currently in AIT . I don’t think anything could had prepared us for this , it’s a scary bumpy road of the unknown ! And never being apart for more then a couple day in almost 17 years was the hardest part . A part of me did not want him to go but knew I would always feel like I held him back from a dream ,so I went along with it . I have never been more proud of him then I am now ! I wish I would had done more research prior to him leaving because finding out along the way about things is not easy !!

    • Hi Shannon I thought I was the only person in your situation. My husband and I have married for 14yrs. We have two kids 13 & 9. He just signed up for the Air Force and will be leaving for BUT soon. This is something that part of me didn’t want but it’s his dream. I’m happy for him, but I know it’s going to be a big adjustment for us as a family

  6. My boyfriend of seven years is in the process of enlisting. He brought it up while we were still in high school and I shot it down being immature and not understanding that in relationships you have to support each other. It’s just not something I wanted in life. He kept bringing it up and my dad told me that telling him no on his dreams is not how relationships work. My dad is right and I do support all of my boyfriends dreams, and I am very proud of him for working so hard and going after this. However, I have never lived more than 20 minutes from my family and have lived in the same small town my entire life. Also, I am a major planner (hence all the online reading) so I am super nervous about all this. Again, I will make this work and I am 100% that this is what I want. Just nervous. I’m not sure what exactly to expect. Any tips?

  7. Hello Julie, I’m thinking about joining the Air Force Reserves or National guard myself. I’m 32, married for close to 10yrs with 4 boys, after range from 4 – 16yo… Wide wasn’t to pleased when I brought the idea up a few days ago. What advise can you order or knowledge with this whole process? I mainly want to do this, first I always wanted to join the Air force in particular, but primarily want to provide something for my family’s future and earn some valuable skills. Great article, let me know what steps besides speaking with a recruiter (which e will do eventually) prepare for in this journey.

  8. Hi all my husband just turned 26 and has been thinking of joining the army but keeps saying he wants me and our 2 kids to stay here after basic training. He doesn’t want us to go with him when he receives his first order and get based. I don’t agree with this at all and don’t know what to do?

  9. Thank you for this! My husband of three months has prior service and has struggled since being out with finding a meaningful job with the structure and feeling of purpose he needs. We began talking about his going into the reserves and after several long talks and lost of question asking have begun the process for him to enlist as active duty again. I support him 100% , but I also have a 15 and 9 yr old from a previous relationship. I struggle with how this will effect my oldest as he is in high school. My youngest is on board just scared something will happen to her “daddy”. I appreciate reading about other’s experiences and finding resources to help make this transition easier.

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