Seven Questions to Help You Evaluate Before "Marrying the Military"
Before any milspo becomes a milspo – that's military spouse – they were right where you are today, dating a service member, considering the marriage talk, and wondering exactly what it means to be "married to the military."
Sure you've heard horror stories. You've heard about people who married in and loved in; you've heard about those who didn't. And you're wondering what's true? Which outcome will hold true for you? How do you best determine the future status of your relationship?
While considering marriage to a military member, dive into the milspo community and ask these very important questions. Discuss them with your betrothed too. By laying all of your cards on the table and obtaining as much info as possible, you can have a better idea of what to expect after marrying your service member, or in deciding if military life is a good fit for your future.
1. What's it Really Like?
Sure, everyone's answer will be different, but that's why you ask as many folks as possible. Roll all of their scenarios into a general opinion, knowing you might live a little of X, a lot of Y, and so on. The more situations you learn about, the better, more well-rounded scenarios you can hold on to and reference when it’s time to decide.
2. When Will They Be Gone?
Of course, the answer to this question depends on their job/career path, location, and branch, but it's a good question nonetheless. Ask your service member how likely it is for him/her to deploy or to travel for additional job training. Ask them where they've been in the past and for how long.
3. What's the Pay?
Money isn't everything, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't know what you're getting yourself into. In the same way you'd have an idea how much your civilian fiancé earns with any career, you need the same knowledge with a military spouse. It’s important to know how your bank will be affected.
4. What Resources are Available?
There's a heavy learning curve in becoming a military spouse. Most learn over time, but understanding what can be talked about, what the acronyms mean, acceptable protocols, where to find answers for your insurance needs or obtaining potential career trainings are all valid and necessary questions that will come up. There are classes and literature available to help that process along. You want to learn as much as possible as a future (or new) milspo. Your base will have a newcomer's class you can attend. They will also have websites or social media groups you can join that list local amenities, such as on-post daycare, career trainings, or where to apply for scholarships for example.
5. How Will Your Logistics be Affected?
What state will you pay taxes in? How will you get a new vehicle tag when moving? STate’s vary, but insurance switches are as simple as a phone call to your provider.
How do you navigate finding a new school for your children? What Mommy and Me classes are available where you are stationed? Will your career easily transition? Will you drive or is there public transportation? What activities are available for older children? What services, groups, clubs are available for you as a new military spouse in a new place?
6. What's the Worst Part?
Let's face it; it's not all roses, but this is true of any relationship. Talk to other spouses. Get their take on military marriages. You're likely to get a range of responses. Three huge factors that come to mind immediately, deployments, bouts without communication, and moves with little notice.
7. Was it Worth it?
Through all the ups and downs, the good and the bad, all the stressors, does the good outweigh the pitfalls? I believe so. Ask current milspos this important question. I believe if you are willing to put in the time and effort with your spouse, it will all be worthwhile in the end. Every relationship has its challenges, but through all the training schedules and the missed holidays with families, if you’ve met the right person, all the sacrifices would be worth it if you’re spending your life with your one, true love.