My husband and I met in May of 2010, while he was deployed in Afghanistan and I was still in Canada. We were essential inter pals (modern version of pen pals) for 5 months.
When he came back from deployment, we met in New York and that’s when the adventure started. I became a sailor’s girlfriend. We dated for almost 5 years before we tied the knot in August 2015. I had a good idea of what it was already like to have the military as a centre of our relationship, so it came to no surprise that we had to work hard together to keep this going. It’s not for nothing that people call it a military lifestyle. Here’s why:
The military will always come first – even before your marriage
As soon as your military spouse signs that contract, the government owns them. This is a fact.
My husband loves me – I know it – but the reality is duty will always have to be his first priority. Trust me – your spouse is not happy too that he is missing birthdays, college graduations and anniversaries (yup, it’s happened to me). The reality is you need to be prepare for all of this.
Marriage requires sacrifice and this cannot be more true in military marriages than in civilian ones.
Unpredictable schedules, long hours, frequent moves
If I had to sum up the military lifestyle in one word it would be unpredictable. If you are planning an event months ahead, DON’T. This can be a bit tricky, especially for a huge planner/organizer like me.
What I have learned in the past weeks – my husband works long hours and wakes up really early. WE have the bags under our eyes to prove it. YES – I wake up early every morning with him (it’s a choice). I have learned to become a morning person and drink my coffee black! The good side of it: I start my day early, which means I get most chores/errands done in the morning.
My husband often gets off work late or even has duty on weekends (sometimes 2 duties in the same week!).
We have been married for almost two weeks now; I have been in the U.S. for almost 3 months and we are already moving after the holidays. I love stability so this is a huge blow. The military is anything but stable! The good side of it: We get to live in a new place, meet new people. Basically, starting fresh!
Taking on more responsibilities at home
Because my husband is busy with his work, I have learned to do a lot of things by myself such as paying our bills, doing household chores, making decisions for the both of us. I remind him everyday of important things we need to do.
This will probably be the case when we have kids. When he will be deployed for long periods, I know I will have to raise our kids on my own. I have no family where we live, but I am sure I will meet other military wives that could give me a hand and keep me company.
This is my experience and my opinion alone. Not every military relationship is the same, but I do know that it takes a special kind of person to love and commit to someone whose career is in the military. It requires huge sacrifices on your part (and your spouse) and being constantly understanding.
This is what I have learned so far – being a newlywed military wife.