By: Amy McDonald
So, you fell in love with someone in the military, huh? Never did I ever think I would call a Marine my other half, but here I am over two years later going to Marine Corps birthday balls and homecoming ceremonies when I should be studying for that Physiology test the next day.
I always thought that the military spouses I met or read about had it all figured out and that I too needed to know all the things. Like how to correctly roll his sleeves when he was too tired to do it the night before a ruck run, or how to identify the ranks when his team is in uniform. It is a big lifestyle change for you as the spouse so do not be discouraged when you feel overwhelmed, because I did at the beginning.
Let’s be honest, I still don’t always know how to handle being a milspo especially coming from a town that doesn’t have a large population of military. But trust me, you figure it out. Here are a few things that I have realized in the past few years of loving a Marine.
Everyone has a different timeline.
Let me say that again, everyone has a different timeline. This was the biggest thing for me as a spouse. There are many couples who are able to move in together once their other half hits the fleet. They move their entire lives just to be with their military service member. On the other side of the coin, there are many couples who choose to have a long-distance relationship until the time is right. The fact is, none of it is easy, no matter what you and your significant other decide to do.
Personally, being able to attend my dream college was very important to me. After high school, I went to college and he went to boot camp. Even to this day he cannot fully relate to my college life and I cannot fully relate to his but we make it work. The hardest thing for me at first was seeing all of the other couples get married and moving in together and here we were still having a long-distance relationship. It felt like my relationship was not as serious as others. As time went on I began to realize that our situation worked for us and that is all that matters.
Your life and your feelings are just as valid as your spouse’s.
Whatever branch your significant other is in will always come first because let’s face it, it has too. That does not mean that you never get a say in your relationship. However, when it comes to government orders, long hours, and deployments, no you do not have even the slightest say.
When it comes to typical relationship things like things that make you upset that your partner does is ok to bring up even though you have barely spoken the past few weeks because you have both been busy. The key is open communication and in a constructive way. You both have stress in your lives, your relationship should not contribute to that stress. A huge stress for me is not knowing what the future holds.
Maybe your friends who aren’t in military relationships can plan to move to Florida within the next year and get to actually make it happen. As a milspo, you do not have the luxury (usually) of planning where you will raise your kids. This bothered me for a while not knowing where I can go to grad school or even apply. As time went on I got out of my head and began to look at the positives. I have the opportunity to live all over the country (possibly even overseas) and experience new places every few years. People dream of traveling and here I am getting to experience different cultures and places a few years at a time. Everyone needs excitement in their life and mine just happens to come from the fact that I fell in love with a Marine. We are lucky to be on this journey with our service member.
You may have to experience different and non-traditional things in your military relationship than the average couple, but that’s what makes it fun. Through all of the crazy times, I would not trade my love of a Marine for anything.
You got this.