Marrying into a big family is a challenge. Marrying into one with over 1 million other ‘family members,’ might have you feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed. Why didn’t anyone tell me about the ‘family drama’ before I took the plunge?
One of my favorite things about being a military spouse is meeting people who are dating service members. It reminds me of the time in my life where I didn’t know what TDY, Haz Pay, or PCS meant. I find inspiration in the gleaming eyes of those newly ‘dating the military’ and just for a moment, I remember why I loved dating (and marrying) a man in uniform.
But I really wish someone would have told me about the family drama.
Maybe if they had, I could have prepared myself. So, let me do you a favor; here are 10 things I wish I knew before becoming a military spouse:
- There’s no room for Type-A personalities. The military is the only Type-A allowed. Everyone else should just get used to a ‘go with the flow, hurry up and wait, organized chaos’ approach.
- The health care might be free, but it’s not always the best. I’m glad to have TRICARE, and I’m thankful for this form of compensation. But other days, I think I’m better off chewing on a piece of bark and popping some Advil.
- You’ll never understand why/how the military works. And for those of us who are Type-A, you’ll have to get over the idea of procedures and office policy making sense. It just doesn’t.
- Civilian job environments don’t translate to military ones. On those days when my husband vents about work, my natural inclination is to use a civilian workplace remedy. But it just isn’t as simple as ‘talk to his boss,’ or ‘why don’t you just let someone else do it?’
- The military doesn’t care about Christmas, anniversaries, or holidays. All the perks of a big happy family…with no presents.
- Some duty assignments are worth it all. Spending three to four years at a terrible duty station totally seems worth it when your next assignment is somewhere amazing.
- You’ll toy with the idea of staying in or getting out on a monthly basis. Because man, the grass seems so much greener on the other side. So scary and unpredictable, but probably greener. Right?
- Your spouse will give everything, and sometimes, they leave with nothing. Whether it’s proper care after being medically discharged, or separating from the military after serving 10 years, only to spend months searching for a job. Our service members deserve better.
- Therapy will help. Because PTSD, depression, anxiety, and anger aren’t just things service members deal with. Don’t be scared to get the help you need.
- Making friends can be tough, but no one will know what you’re going through like another military spouse. Embrace the chaos and keep on truckin’.
When it comes down to it, I married the person, not the job. So some days, it’s hard not to be resentful of the ‘family’ behind the job. Being a military spouse has given me more than I’ve given it, and I guess that makes the family drama a bit more bearable.
What do you wish you knew before becoming a military spouse? Is the ‘family drama’ worth it?
Posted by Shannon Prentice, Content Development Manager