At face value, getting married is getting married— there shouldn’t be any special caveats to mention. However, for those couples that work in the military, things actually are quite different. Military marriages can be just as fulfilling and rewarding as civilian marriages, but they also bring their own unique set of differences. Let’s take a look at a few things to expect when you get married.
It helps to have a strong individual identity.
In a military marriage, there is always a focus on duty over everything else, and for the unprepared spouse, this can be quite hurtful. A husband or wife that is forced to make decisions with duty coming first can cause stress within a military relationship. For the non active duty spouse, it can seem like their partner puts everything into their service. This can cause a spouse to suffer from depression and a loss of individuality, as they seek to fulfill themselves through their spouse’s career.
According to military marriage statistics, many spouses decide to pour their lives into the career of their soldier significant other. While it is necessary to be supportive and understanding of your spouse’s career, you must also not lose sight of your identity. You are still your own person and you have a life to live.
Expect logistical instability.
Somewhere along the way in the military marriage, you will realize that your life, and that of your family’s, is completely beholden to service. This means that you work on the schedule of the military and you abide by the free time that is offered to you. This could make planning vacations, birthdays, and retreats very challenging.
For the unprepared married couple, this could pose serious marriage problems. Not being able to celebrate a son’s first birthday can be devastating. So make sure to schedule your ‘leave days’ well in advance. Most military schedules are made a month out and they typically cannot be changed. So forget that last minute getaway.
Knowing that your schedule is no longer your own can be liberating for those that like to have a solid course of action, but it can also feel terribly restrictive to those that still long for spontaneity. No matter which camp you fall into, make sure that you go into your marriage with the understanding that some big events will be missed due to duty.
Be prepared to make it work.
Despite all the challenges, military marriages can be as stable and enduring as any other relationship around provided that all parties involved are committed to making it work. Military marriage counseling can guide you through the various events that you will likely run into during your marriage. These counselors will guide and provide you with the appropriate information to make sure that you and your spouse are committed to making your marriage work. And of course, counselors can also help ensure that you are getting the proper benefits that you are entitled to.