It’s almost time for your spouse to re-enlist, decisions have to be made, and you feel like it is time to walk away from military life. However, your spouse does not agree and would love to do 20+ years in the military.
What should you do?
What can you do?
Is it even fair to them to say you don’t want them to re-enlist?
First of all, take a breath. This is a big decision and not a simple one, and while this is your spouse’s career, you both need to be involved in planning your joint future. What you decide will affect you the spouse, and your children or any future children you might have. The decision to re-enlist in the military shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Ask yourself why
Ask yourself why you don’t want them to re-enlist. Break it down. Is it the solo parenting? Is it the up and downs of military life? Is it because you want to focus on your career and that is hard to do so with a spouse in the military?
Figuring out why you don’t want them to re-enlist is important. Make sure to talk this all over with your spouse. Let them know what you are afraid of. Let them know why you want to walk away.
Can you compromise?
Can they re-enlist for three more years with the plan to re-evaluate at that time? No one signs up for 20 years at a time. Can you make a plan that he will serve for a certain amount of time, and then you will go back to school? Can you agree to try to be stationed close to home if possible?
Sometimes you have to suck it up
At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to suck it up. What people in this type of situation do is going to be different for each couple, for each person. There are different reasons why people want to walk away from military life, and only the couple can decide if they are worth giving up a military dream.
For some couples, this means the spouse will have to work out how they will handle more years of military life. For others, it means the service member will need to find another way to pursue their career goals. There isn’t one hard and fast rule for every couple.
If you find that you and your spouse are arguing about this and can’t seem to come to a good conclusion, it can be a good idea to seek extra help. Any marriage is going to have times when a decision has to be made about the future, and the couple isn’t always going to agree right away. Communication is so very important here, as well as keeping everyone’s feelings and desires in mind.
There are situations when a couple can not agree on this, and sometimes a marriage will end over it. Other times, there will be a lot of hurt and frustration on both sides. A service member who doesn’t feel supported by their spouse, a military spouse that doesn’t feel like their spouse understands why they can’t do this anymore. Those situations can be so difficult and are never easy to navigate.
While I can’t tell you what to do in your own marriage, I can help with dealing with the frustrations of military life. Life as a military spouse isn’t easy, and you have to work hard to figure out ways to make it through.
This doesn’t make you weak but allows you to be strong.