An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Does Love Mean Never Having to Say Goodbye? (Ask Molly)

Dear Molly,

I'm 17 years old about to graduate. My boyfriend is also about to graduate and seriously thinking about the military.

I don't really approve of it. I think that if he loves me he should want to see me and be around me more than anything. He would sacrifice everything for me. Am I right? I know he wants to do this but he says I'm the most important thing. If that's so why would he want to go?

For the last two years, we see each other on weekends and that's it. And that's hard enough. I just want to be able to see him more. And I'm working on getting my hairstylist license. And we have talked about marriage also. He said I could go with him when he went. Is that possible? When would I get to see him?

Dear Reader,

You and your boyfriend still have a lot of life ahead of you. I'm going to tell you what I tell every young person in love who is contemplating major life changes or is uncertain about decisions: find your own fulfillment and do not rush into anything. If you are truly meant to be together, you will still want to get married in a year or two.

I do not agree that loving someone means giving up everything that is important to you. And it is certainly not forcing a person you love to make that sort of decision.

You don't say a lot about your relationship, but if you have a very solid relationship and believe you can handle the military lifestyle, it is worth it. If your relationship is not solid, then the military lifestyle may make those problems worse. I think you need some time--to find out who you are, to decide if this relationship is really right for you, and to consider the military lifestyle.

What about the military worries you? Take the time together to learn about this option he is considering and then think about whether or not this is a lifestyle you want to lead. Be honest with him, but no ultimatums or drama. Just tell him that you aren't sure you want to be a military wife.

And he needs to take time, without pressure, and make up his mind. Maybe he only wants to do it for a couple of years, or maybe he wants it to be a career, or maybe he just hasn't really thought it through, yet.

Assuming he enlists, while he is completing his basic and advanced training, continue to think about what is the right decision for you.

There are several different types of duties. First, he will train for a few months and you will not be able to see him during this initial training. Then, he will be assigned to a duty station. Most duty stations are in the United States or Europe, and you would be able to join him there. If you get married, you will be placed on his orders and you will be able to get on post housing or qualify for certain allowances, based on his pay grade. There are certain "unaccompanied" tours of duty, such as a one-year tour in Korea, but most stations will allow him to bring his spouse.

Times when you will not be able to see him: deployment (at this point in the Army, this is usually 12-15 months every couple of years, but this varies), field training (depends on the mission, but is usually a week or two every few months), some temporary assignments (such as for additional training).

Everyone's experience varies, depending on the individual MOS (job in the Army) and career path.

If you decide you want to be with him, even if he is a career soldier, then you will be able to change your certification as you move from state to state.

The truth is, life is unpredictable, even if you are not in the military. If you are compatible in your love and your values, then don't let this break you up.

Hope this helps--you may also want to read advice from me and my readers for a woman who also was not sure if she wanted to be a military spouse: Should I marry a soldier?

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