Post # 1
My fiance has always been interested in joining the military, specifically the Marines (though he’s open to other branches). It’s something our parents tried to talk out of him, and something he has considered may affect my career prospects…but I know he still wants to do it. Given the job market and the fact that we will just be graduating college…this may be as good a time as any to give it a try. We’ve been talking about it more and more lately. My parents were military but got out when I was very little, threeish?
I am kinda over the fact that he’ll have to be deployed (the distance) although I have to admit it would be so hard for me (and for him) because we’ve lived together almost from the very beginning. BUT I just look at the pictures and the descriptions of those who have died…and it just breaks my heart and terrifies me all at the same time, even though my terror may not logically be right…I mean none of the military wives I know in person seem terrified…but maybe it just takes some getting used to?
The other thing- is enlisted really as bad as I’ve been told (basically horrible)? We don’t know if he should wait and see if he can get everything together to use his degree to become an officer..or just get the enlisted experience. (We’re still young -he’d be going on 22 by the time he joins…it’s not like he has no time to do both…) We know a lot of enlisted married couples and they seem to be doing fine, but you never really know…
Any comments would be appreciated. I’ve done a little research but I realize that the lifestyle change would probably be HUGE.
Post # 3
My Partner is Navy and I really enjoy it. He is an officer so I can’t relly comment on being enlisted sorry.
I do know that the support and circles of partners is awsome, you have a ready set of friends wherever you are posted and my expereinces have always been positive from other navy parthers where FI is posted. We even went to the UK for a posting for 3 and a half years – that was awesome. Yes he is away for months at a time but you get to vist their ship half way through a deployment and go to Hong Kong and Dubai etc so great travel opportunities. I feel that we have an ultra strong relationship due to the distance – we have been living 6 hours apart for a year now and got engaged and are planning a wedding all from a sistance – and we are very happy with how it is going. We talk a lot more than our other couples because we have to – communication is so important when you are long distance.
You FI may change under training, this is hard to aviod and 99% of the time it is for the better. You will notice that he will be more confident and more outgoing perhaps and generally happier as he feels like he is achieving and is aprt of a team etc. Just change with him and grow together as a couple. I met my partner in the military and have since got out but they really look after you both.
There are so many cool functions and parties! I always have an excuse to buy a new party dress
That is my two cents!
Post # 4
Um you should totally wait to see if he can be an officer first! They’ll offer loan repayment after a couple years of service. A friend of mine is doing that in the Navy–2 years and his chemical engineering degree is PAID OFF. Amazing. The pay is substantially better as an officer. And shoot, your SO almost has his degree–that’s a biggie. HOWEVER, officership in the marine corps is much more difficult to obtain than other branches from what I know. They don’t typically take young men right at 22. A friend of mine was an Army Captain and attended a marine base school and caught hell for being a 26 year old officer….while you may think experience in the enlisted is key, i’m not sure you miss out on a whole lot except boot camp by going officer, haha. You go through a different kind of training. It’s more leadership. Of course, that depends on your SO. Not everyone is a good leader in that category and there are plenty of enlisted guys who are happy with waht they do. But it’s also the difference between starting out with a 20K a year salary (depending on BAH and other goodies) and a 45K a year salary. I’m not saying enlisted couples don’t do okay….but from my standpoint (an officer’s wife) i don’t know why you’d choose enlisted over officer. The perks are way better. You get management experience (better on your resume) and you don’t have to be bottom of the barrel. Privates get some crappy treatment. You get more responsibilities as an officer. Yeah, when you’re a sargeant or something like that you’re fine…but it takes awhile to get there. And yeah…the pay is way way better. The officers DO live a nicer, more comfortable lifestyle. They can often afford to live off base. On base is…well, it is what it is. It feels very community-like. But you can’t “get away” and a lot of people don’t like that.
Expect to be apart from him a lot. Frankly, i was worried on occassion when Dh was deployed. But i was never ‘terrified’ or paralyzed with fear. Life goes on and you have to make it go on. If you let it control you, you’ll be miserable and crying in the corner all the time. It makes it harder on you AND it makes it harder on him. The last thing you want while he’s deployed is him worrying about how crappy he’s making you feel by being in the military. It breaks their hearts to hear you cry. It consumes their thoughts. They feel like they’re doing this TO you and it’s their faults. So my advice is to always keep a stiff upper lip. really, after a month, you adjust to a routine and it gets a bajillion times easier. It’s not th esame, but you learn a lot about yourself and how much of a big girl you are, haha. Really…you’ll be surprised at your own strength. It’s quite empowering. And it’s just one of those things you take with a grain of salt.
Also, you have to come to othe agreement that you are OK not really having a career. Unless you are a teacher or a nurse or something easily relocated. Most military wives are stay at home…their husband’s mobility doesn’t really allow them to hold down a serious job for very long. Also, if you have any student loans, keep that in mind. It’ll be really tough paying off your loans on a smallish salary if you aren’t able to work. For me, i couldn’t handle the uncertainty or lack of ‘identity’ i need in regards to financial contribution. I’d go batso crazy without a job. It was really tough on a lot of DH’s friend’s wives and I was really quite grateful after awhile I didn’t do that. Just know that it’s not easy on the spouse. While your SO may really really wanna join the military, it’s a HUGE sacrifice on your part. One you don’t always think about until it’s too late.
Also–the job market may not be so bad for you guys depending on what you went to school for. He could always join the Reserves if he wants to get a taste without jumping in head first.
PS i ditto the “big change” he’ll undergo. He became more confident and outgoing and everything. DH acts less like a typical engineer post-military than he ever did. It’s great. I’ve changed a lot, too. Both of us for the better. I’m not so dependent on him, either–something he’s told me many times he really appreciates.
Post # 5
I agree with ejs about basically giving up your own career. All the adult military wives I know (older than early 20s) have been stay at home wives for years and years because they moved so much that it was nearly impossible to keep a job.
Post # 6
i would def say go officer. it’s just better financially. but i also say go airforce, because it tends to be slightly more family oriented. just know what field he goes into depends on his deployment. my fh has been in for 12 years and never gone over seas, he works on nuclear weapons. he has actually been at one base for all 12 years..
Post # 7
Thanks, ladies, for the comments!
nzbride- I never knew you get to visit during deployments! That’s really cool! I had a feeling the military could make some travel possible, having had friends that lived overseas for periods of time, but I didn’t know you could visit… I’ve also heard a lot about guys changing during training, but I agree that it’s usually for the better. To be honest, I think he could use a confidence booster. We have talked about growing together a lot because other friends that I know whose husbands are in the military never went as a married couple from civilian to military together..he was already military. Thanks for the advice!
ejs4y8- Do you know what type of GPA requirement they have? My fiance has worked all through college so he doesn’t have the highest GPA, but I mean it’s not horrible either. (He majored in Economics, btw.) I may have lucked out because I am an English major (though maybe you can’t tell by my lovely online writing! lol) and am planning to enter a teacher credential program within the next year, so I think I could still do that. One of his main reasons against joining up to this point is my career prospects. Neither of us have any debt, so that’s good! 🙂 As far as being terrified, I don’t always feel that way in regards to him joining the military… but the fact that decision time is getting VERY close to where we are now makes me research which makes me a bit more nervous than I am when I usually talk to him about it. I mean, we’ve talked about this seriously for probably a year or so, but it’s only a few months away from being put into action if that’s the final decision. I naturally tend to be more independent so I think I could adjust. Right now, I feel guilty because I know he knows it scares me and I don’t want that to stand in his way because I’m fairly sure I’d get over it. I’m glad to hear that it has strengthened your relationship- I was hoping someone would say something along those lines.
Post # 8
We have been living apart for nearly two years in total now and we just make the most of our time together! We were together right from the get go – I pretty much moved in with him the first month we met (nearly 6 years ago) so we too lived together for 3 years before we lived apart (if you can follow what I am saying!) I think that was good as we built a good foundation – otherwise it would have been tricky I think. What I think helsp is that you have to have 100% trust in your partner – there is absolutely NO room for doubt in his integrity (that he will cheat) and that he is honset with you about how he is feeling. We have ‘touching base’ chats once every few months just to make sure we are on the same track. You don’t want to spend the whole time talking abuot your relationships as that gets tedious but you def need to check in every now and then and catch any niggling problems that may arise (in my humble opinion!).
Most Navy partners that I know of are teachers or part time workers as that fits in. I am not hense we live apart but we will be together as of August so looking forward to spending Sunday nights with my FI! (Thats what I miss the most)
It sounds like you guys communicate and you are not jumping into anything so I bet you can make it work. Officer arguably has the better career options and lifestyle but you can enlist then ”Commission from the Ranks” and become an Officer. I don’t think it is that easy but definately a possibililty. You mentioned your FI needed a confidence boost? As an Officer they will be looking for candidates that are confident and have leadership skills or potential so if he does want to be an officer he will need to come across as a competant and confident operator 🙂
Post # 9
jsl- I know quite a bit about the commissioning boards for Army, Navy, and Air Force (my husband and I both went through AF). Which branch is he looking into? If he has a decent GPA (2.5+) he *should* be able to make it through the Army commissioning process. If he has atleast 2 semesters of calc- Navy.. but they’re not taking as many officers and I guess he would end up as an intel officer or SWO so that would mean a lot of moving and long frequent deployments. Air Force is kind of a crap shoot. His degree in economics will help (it’s technical), but they look at GPA a little more. If he can make up for it in other areas, he may have a shot. Like someone said, the air force is closest to being a civilian you can get- My husband and I both had a bad experience with the AF so I’m not fan. Be wary of Air Force officer recruiters (or any branch allowing enlisted soldiers to recruit officers). From my experience they don’t have a grasp on the commissioning process because they never went through it- but I’m sure there are good ones out there.
If he’s going to do this, he should probably begin the application process ASAP. The average candidate waits a year from first meeting to departing for OCS- it takes awhile to put together a packet, interview, and go through MEPS- plus some of the commissioning boards have stopped meeting every month to pick up new candidates. I noticed a lot of people said their husband’s and SO’s have changed- mine did not. He was the same after OCS, but more anal retentive about “contraband” (fuzzies, hair, dust) on his clothing 🙂 He was definitley happier as well- he felt really good about his accomplishment,.
P.S. SLRP (student loan repayment) is an enlisted incentive. The two exceptions are medical personel and AF officers who get up to 10k. If I’m wrong someone correct me
Post # 10
had to jump in here…. 🙂
i agree with other posters, while life in the military is often very difficult and you will definitely face challenges your civilian friends wont, with that you will also grow together, become stronger, and have many opportunities. i would encourage you to support him and i bet you will not regret it.
(one thing—do NOT count on being able to visit during deployments….particularly if he is a marine there is a slim-to-none chance of that happening. it works out very occasionally in the navy if a ship has a port visit somewhere good, but even then it can be risky as schedules change constantly. so it can be a wonderful thing, but do not count on that).
Post # 11
nzbride- Not NEED a confidence boost like he’s any less confident than other guys his age. He just could use one as all through college we’ve been at the bottom of the totem pole under people with less education than us and it’s kinda sucked. It would be his first f/t permanent job as we’ve alternated our work hours before. I think that’s true about talking about your relationship/touching base..but not overkill..
maureen- OK, 2.5+ we can do 🙂 Thanks a lot for the info! I’ve heard that the process takes a long time, and I’m sure he knows a lot more specifics than I. I’m sure we could live off of crappy jobs/non permanent for a year and make ends meet. I know he should start asap if it’s what he wants to do…but I also don’t want to rush the decision.
nado- Yeah I was totally surprised anyone got to visit, and under the impression from the previous poster that it was a Navy thing..not sure. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement.
Post # 12
Yeah – I should say my partner is the the New Zealand Navy (yes we have frigates!) So we go to different ports. I have visited my partner in the Gulf – Dubai but the other deployements I have visited him on are not operational ones – more diplomatic like when they tour South East Asia or go up to Russia/China etc.
Post # 13
@nzbride—my husband used to be on a frigate 🙂
@jsls–no problemo. my husband is in the navy (US) and i have heard of people being able to visit their spouses, particularly in places like Japan, but personally it has not even come close to happening to me lol. my husband is on deployment #3 and it is pretty miserable, but there is nothing to do but grin and bear it! arm yourself with a stiff upper lip and keep busy. good luck to both of you!!
Post # 14
I’m not 100% sure but this website says a 2.0 which seems insanely low to me. Honestly, anything below a 3.0 doesn’t seem competitive, but it may be. You never know because it depends on the applicant pool they have. A 2.0 isn’t gonna be competitive though but I’m sure they’ll take into consideration the fact he worked during college–most places do. After all, you can study a helluva lot more if you aren’t working =]. What’s unique about this program is you apply with the best of the best. I mean, Marine Corps officers are hardcore dudes. Has your SO met any? In my experience they’re sort of a different breed of person, haha. I could be biased because I don’t like how they treat Army guys. I don’t see the need to be rude but some of those dudes are scary, haha. So your SO may not fit in with the marine corps. He may fit in elsewhere–sometimes it’s a personality thing. My friend has an engineering degree with a decent GPA and he says he’s competitive with them in their classes (he’s at Quanaco right now) so that may give you an idea of how difficult it is to get in and stay in. Well, this year anyways. You guys will really have to talk to a recruiter to see if he has a chance it looks like. I have another friend applying to Navy Propulsion School and he’s pretty psyched about that. http://www.marineofficerprograms.com/pages/officer-candidate-course-occ.php AND it looks like he can send in his application WHILE he’s working towards his 4 year degree so you don’t really have to wait until he graduates to find out.
Would your SO consider another branch? I hate to say it, but the Army takes some doofuses, haha. One guy had like, an Art History degree…..so I’d imagine Economics would be valued. Keep in mind you DO have more options than just the USMC unless he’s really dead set on that one. But quality of life wise, I’ve heard the best things about the Air Force.
Commissioning from the ranks in the Army is known as “Green to Gold” and it’s not very common….everyone I know who had a degree went straight through the Gold route. and usually by the time you work in the army and get your degree, you’re an upper level sargeant and you don’t want to bother switching over to gold and ‘starting over’ as a 2nd lieutenant with a bunch of whipper snappers =]
I could go on and on about how much we’ve changed over the past 4 years. Seriously for the best. I think back about how clingy and needy I was and it kinda makes me gag a little. i was pretty pathetic, looking back. I’m definitely a more competent and capable person. Partially due to age, I’m sure, but a lot of it’s been the long distance, deployment, all the life altering crap that comes with it. I’m grateful it’s for the best. But i’ve known a solid handful of people who’ve broken up and divorced because the stress was too much and they basically got more than they bargained for. Guys change and not always for the best. It’s tough to watch but makes a lot of sense. Just make sure you’re 100% on board. Cuz if you DO start to feel like you’re sacrificing too much, you may become resentful. Shoot, I don’t think DH and I would be together if he were a military lifer–it’d be too much sacrifice on MY part, as strange as that is to say. There are many bitter, crabby military wives out there who feel like they just get dragged around, ya know? It’s tough to pick up and leave every 2 years. You have to put a good chunk of time in (or be super specialized in something) in order to stay at a base more permanently. My mom was a military brat and that’s something you have to think about too–do you want your kids moving around, too? Or does he want to do a stint for the experience, then get out, and transition back to civilian life?
Post # 15
My husband is enlisted and it is so hard on him. His poor body has been so beat up in the last 5 years. lol He doesn’t regret it for a second though, but we’re both counting down the days until he is no longer active duty and can come home to live with me! We have talked about incase he ever has to go back in (bad job market, finished w/ school) he would go back in as an office and NOT in the infantry…would definitely change his MOS.
I know you mentioned being terrified of him being deployed. Everyone handles it differently. I have so many friends and church acquaintences tell me how they admire me for my strength. I inwardly laugh because if they could only “really” see how I am…cry myself to sleep because I miss him, worry about his safety when he’s out in the field, had many many sleepless nights when he was deployed, etc. It’s hard, yes, infact it’s very hard, but you find a way to get through it.
Like the others said, be prepared to be away from him. Even when he’s home and not deployed, they’re gone alot. The hubs spent a month in WY for training and his unit is gearing up for another month at JRTC coming up here soon. Last fall he was gone training in NC for a month, and that doesn’t count all the over night field problems that they have. Honestly, the only way I get through the days sometimes is because there is a light at the end of the tunnel to when he here with me. lol But, keep in mind, when we first started dating, the Army was not going to be a permanent future for us, so I never had to consider being a military wife for the rest of my life…
Like I said, it’s different for everyone. I have serious anxiety problems, so being apart from my husband for months and months at a time has really taken a toll on me, but that doesn’t mean it will be that way for you. It could be a wonderful learning experience.
Post # 16
ejs- He doesn’t have a 2.0.. actually I believe he’s just under a 3.0 right now so he may have above that after he’s done this summer. I’m not sure where you read 2.0… I don’t think it could possibly be that low either. As far as me being committed, we aren’t sure that even if he DID join, it would be forever. It’s just something he’s always wanted to do for at least a period of time. (Many people in his family have served at least a few years and gone on to have other careers.) At the same time, even though it would be quite possibly short term, we still don’t want to get ourselves into anything we shouldnt, if that makes sense.
jsdragonfly- Thanks for your insight. I don’t think that it would be a permanent situation for us even if he joined. It’s just kinda something he has always said he’d like to do once, and we thought that since I still have my teaching program to do (though I’m going to work during it and kinda take it slow and do it right) and since the job market isn’t great, this may be a good time for it, or as good a time as it’s going to be. But of course we weren’t closing the door on him staying in either.