Post # 1
I’m coming to those of you on the boards because I know I can find some honest, unbiased information here. My FI has always had ideas about joining the army, but has never signed up. I remember when we first started dating he had the application papers and even went to a meeting for recruits, but it never went past that. We had a couple conversations about it, but didn’t get too deep into it because our relationship was new. We qucikly got swept up in our relationship and now almost 3 years later we are 2 months away from being married.
The other night my FI said, “You know I’ve always wanted to join the army.” He sort of let that little statement trail off and I honestly didn’t have any words to say. I didn’t even know where to begin to talk about this subject. I was taken aback because I honestly thought that he was happy with where our lives are going and the goals we have for our careers. Joining the army would be a huge change. I asked him, “Why?” and he listed a few reasons, but nothing he was saying sounded like he had really comitted to the idea himself. All I could think to say was, “No. I don’t want you to go.”
We haven’t really been able to talk about it because when it gets brought up I feel so emotional. All I can do is think of the the lives that have been lost fighting wars I don’t fully agree with. I’m not sure that I could bare wondering whether or not my man is coming home to me for months on end. I also have very conflicting ideas about the military. That being said, I feel like I’m being unfair to my man. I can’t just stomp out his dreams because they don’t fit mine. It’s a very touchy subject to say the least.
I’m not starting a debate here. Please start your own thread if that is what you would like to do. I simply would like some open and honest opinions about how being married to someone in the military has effected you/changed your life. I understand that I am in Canada and many of you are in the U.S., but I do believe there are many similarities between the two.
Here are the questions I have for you ladies who are military wives. How did your life change? Were there any positive changes? I really need help seeing the positive side of this so I can at least be some what fair to my man. Did you have different options for living accomadations? Did you have to move? If so, how did that effect your career? Any other info would be appreciated.
Post # 3
Hi, I’m about to be a Canadian military wife too. But my FI is in the reserves now. Has your FI ever considered joining the reserves instead of going straight into being reg force? He would still go to basic training and different courses, but unless he volunteers he won’t be sent on a deployment. I’ve been through a deployment at the beginning of our relationship where my FI went overseas when he was part of the regular force, and it is hard, but it made us a lot stronger too and I see that as a positive of being in the military. He’s now in the reserves because he is going to school and has a different career path in mind.
I personally think if he really wants to join, then he should because otherwise he might end up resenting you, but I think he should honestly look into the reserves first, so that way he doesn’t just get thrown into everything if he isn’t sure it’s really what he wants. Just a suggestion. I don’t really have the answers you are looking for because a reservist life is completely different than that of a member of the regular force, but I do know that if he is reg force, yes you may have to move. They can request certain bases to be posted at, but they aren’t guaranteed so it is a possibility. If you have any questions about anything else feel free to PM me!
Post # 4
Well, with the military, you have to realize it will come between the two of you. There will be many obligations and nights he has to work late that he just CANNOT get out of. It’s very frustrating. THere’s a definite sense of pride and community, but it’s more than a job. It’s a lifestyle. You have to go with the flow. The Army’s flow. They say jump, you say how high. You have to ask permission for everything–vacations, time off, etc. It’s far more rigid than the real world.
As far as living accomodations, it depends on the base. It’s silly to buy a house so you don’t really worry about that. You can live on base (if there’s room and it’s approved for your husband’s rank) or you can live off post and you get supplemented with a housing stipend.
DH has been stationed a couple of different places. He did his training out in Washington, then did his Captains course in Missouri. Then his permanent station was in Georgia for 4 years. He was deployed for 15 months of that. Now his reserve unit is in Missouri.
If i had moved with him, I would not have had a career. My career is not a pick-up-and-go type of career and i probably would’ve ended up being a SAHM or ended up joining myself! Probaby the latter since I had originally wanted to be a military physician but gave it up for my FI. I found a different “dream” i guess. Depending on your career, bases have offices that can help employ you. If there is a need for your field, they’ll employ you. But as you can imagine, this gets difficult to do every few years. You gain preferential status after a year (at least in the U.S) but if you get stationed in the boonies, you’re pretty much screwed.
It’s not that you are stomping out his dreams, but sometimes you have to change what you used to want to do for your family. He could join the reserves. Or, he could just do it for a couple of years–many people do that. If he has a college degree, he can go in as an officer (and make double the salary, which is a much more comfortable lifestyle than enlisted). He has to really want it, and he has to be okay putting you through it, too. Eventually my husband got tired of having the Army control his life. Plus, I think he knew I wouldn’t put up with it. He’s glad he did it–service for your country, etc–but he also couldn’t wait to get out. You have to know when you’re going into it that you’re mentally strong enough to deal with it. Some women are not and they lose their marbles and that’s okay–just know if it’s something you can handle and let him know. There’s a great deal of anxiety surrounding it, and often, it just makes you stronger in the end.
Post # 5
My dad was in the Air Force when I was younger and I can offer you some insight on what my mom said it was like for her. First, it was hard because they get sent away often and sometimes, you don’t know for how long. I remember this one time he was sent to Korea for what was to be a 4 week trip and it kept getting extended until it ended up being six months. You have no say in where you go or for how long, and your spouse just kind of has to deal with it, and for my mom, that was always hard, combined with the fact that when he was gone, she had to be a single mom essentially. I’m sure it’s a little easier now since they have much better access to cell phones and there’s Skype and email, but I imagine it’s still very lonely sometimes.
On the plus side, my mom loved that she got to live many different places. We settled in Georgia when I was 5 and when my parents divorced, my mom and sister and I stayed to be close to family, but until the divorce, my mom had lived in Germany and Japan because the Air Force had sent them there and she loved that. She got to make new friends every couple years. Of course, moving that often could be a downside for some people. I know I would not like to be part of the military because I crave more stability than it can provide.
BUT, it is GREAT job security, and with some furthering of your education and good work, it’s easy to move up in ranks. The benefits cannot be beat, and if you retire out after so many years you get a certain percentage of your salary as retirement in addition to Social Security and all that. My dad retired out after 23 years as a Major and he made a great living at it and gets a good retirement each month (even though he took a civilian job after getting out of the military. The retirement is just supplementary income basically.) But your benefits continue as a supplement to your insurance when you’re out of the military and essentially cover what your primary insurance doesn’t. It can be a great way for people who are not interested in college or don’t have the means to go to get an education because the military will pay through the GI Bill.
There are definite drawbacks to the military, but also great benefits if it is a life you choose and think you could cope with. It’s not always easy, but for some families, it works.
Post # 6
That must have been a terrifying thing to hear when you are not expecting it.
My advice to you (coming from a huge military family) is to pull everything you can up on the internet about the Canadian military. There are support forums out there just for military wives, jump on one of those and ask tons of questions. Call a local recruiter and talk to them yourself. Then, info in hand, you will be able to sit down and discuss this with the FH.
The military life is hard, and being a military wife is even harder. You are left alone, a lot. Housing can be difficult to come by. Jobs around bases are scarce. Your husband is accountable for YOUR actions, not just his own. You move a lot (depends really on his MOS). Basically you marry the military. Life is no longer family first, but Army-Unit-Family in that order.
I am not saying the military life is bad, I enjoyed it most of my life, but it is not for the faint of heart. I consider my SIL, a military wife, to be the strongest woman I know.
Post # 7
Thanks ladies. I do appreciate you all opening up to me. I think the reserve is something that we should look at. I also like the idea of trying to find a forum to answer my more specific questions. I’m trying to be really open about this, so thank you all!
Post # 8
Do you know what field he wants to look in to? Being in the reserves and say … a clerk is a lot different than if he wants to persue a career in the infantry. (not knocking clerks, but there is clearly a more present danger if someone is behind the line versus infront of it)
With that said, as TKSjewlery stated, there are lots of support groups, both online and also through the CF.
If you want I can PM you more info, just let me know.
Post # 9
I also wanted to say that the “war” that you don’t agree with will hopefully be over by the time your FH will be trained and *fingers and toes* crossed the next Canadian mission will be be less volatile!
Post # 10
I haven’t read the previous comments so sorry if I’m redundant but I’d like to share my input.
I’m marrying my soldier exactly 1 month before your wedding (March 12th!). I met FI in college at Texas A&M and commissioned into the Army as a 2LT in August 2009. I knew from when we first started dating that he was contracted (he used to be in the Corps of Cadets) so when I decided to date him, I accepted that I would have to deal with at least one deployment and the military life. The day he graduated/commissioned, I went home that night after all the festivities and bawled my eyes out.
We went from being inseparable and FI basically living at my apartment to him going out of state to officer’s training. For the first few months he was in the field a lot so I was lucky to get a 20 min phone call once during the week. It was a rough transition for me. I got emotional easier. By the time he traveled to an even further state for another officer’s training, I pretty much had it down. Skype was my best friend! The games are so much fun when you’re playing with your love. He was away for about 6 months total. He was then stationed about 2 hours away at Ft. Hood where he’s been since last May. I feel so spoiled getting to see him every weekend!
He has a 3 year “commitment” as an officer and will probably get out after that. He deploys roughly 2 months after we get married and will be gone for a year. I’m in nursing school now so we won’t get to live together until he gets home, a little over a year after being married. I’m not going to lie, some girls can’t handle it. Divorce rates for deployed soldiers can make your knees weak. If you’re commited, it’ll all be ok.
Helpful hints: The news of a deployment, although sad and stressful, doesn’t devastate me because I’ve been mentally preparing myself for it. You can’t stop it so you have to accept it. Also, these soldiers WANT to deploy and WANT to do what soldiers do. Although I’m not excited, I’m supportive. Being supportive means not bringing your soldier down. It’s ok for him to know you’re sad, will miss him, and will be worried. However, you can’t criticize him for his decisions or desires. Soldiers just have a different way of thinking that most people not affiliated with the military wouldn’t understand. The military life is absolutely hard (and unpredictable- don’t get too attached to plans!) but I am so proud of my FI.
P.S. I’m part of an Officer’s Girls/Wives online forum and it is SO helpful to find information about posts, Tricare, housing, etc!
Post # 11
As far as military life goes, I will say that you don’t always have a CHOICE. You have DUTY DAYS, TRAINING DAYS, Deployments and such, but you do earn time off, but it is something that you do have to ask for, I don’t think thats any different than any job. I am in Sales, so my job was easily transferable, there are also some career moves that you can take for yourself to help with the military lifestyle. I know that in the US there was recently a program for military wives to go back to school to become teachers as it was a very easy transition job and there are schools on base, its a perfect career choice for a military wife. Also I know many wives who are Nurses and haven’t had a problem with the transitions. Another idea for a job is on base there are many CIVILIAN jobs and they offer GREAT pay and benefits. Speaking of Benefits, I must say that FREE HEALTHCARE is extremely nice, and the healthcare system is really great. I have heard mixed reviews about the healthcare, but I have never had a problem. Its hard to complain when its FREE. Another added benfit is the HOUSING you get an allowance, most civilian jobs don’t offer that. I will say though we have bought houses near the bases we have lived and it has turned out to be a great investment after we left, as they were fairly easy to rent out to other military members and their families, depending on the market in the area its a good idea. You can choose to live on or off base, you just use your allowance to pay rent, living on base they automatically take it all out. The base housing at most places are really nice, but it does go by your pay rate. So with all this said, I actually ENJOY the lifestyle the military has given us, we get to travel to many places, I don’t mind moving it has changed my personality and made me a stronger and more outgoing. I think you just have to take the PROS with the CONS. With my husband its only a temporary situation, I know that once his commitment is over we will be leaving military life behind, but the experience we gained from it is priceless. My husband was in the military when I met him, so I didn’t have a say, but now that you are in a committed relationship, I think the decision should be made by both of you. He really needs to layout his arguement as to why he is thinking about it. You should support him but also show your concerns, that way he can do the research he needs to make you comfortable with the decision. Get active in some Military forums as these girls will be excellent sources to some of your questions. I hope this answered some of your questions and best of luck. If he does decide to join, you are welcomed with open arms to a community of women behind the line.
Post # 12
I’m really glad you shed some positive light on military life. I worked as a civi for the CF before starting to date my boyfriend so I had a bit of an idea of what I was in for.
It can be scary but the is so much support it feels like a family around you.
And the benefits can be amazing. Say your boyfriend gets posted to Valcartier, Quebec, well it’s completely French there. You get to go to French school for free so that you would be able to work and communicate. In Canada Health Care is already free but with the CF doctors are readily available and prescriptions covered, etc. There is lots more.
Whatever your FH decides, I hope you will support him. It’s a hard go if your loved ones don’t.