I hear a lot from girls who are in love with a soldier… or think they are in love, or who want to marry a man they have met who is in the military. I don’t think it’s good to beat around the bush, so here’s a few answers to more common things I have heard from girlfriends and fiances.
If you are in a serious relationship with someone is already a soldier, or are very attracted to men in uniform and would like to be seriously involved with a soldier, there are a few things you need to know… If you marry a soldier:
- you also marry the military. If he is a career soldier, you had better learn to love it or at least be at peace with it. Don’t use the military against him, and know his intentions from the beginning. Don’t marry a man who is intending on staying in for 20-years and then blackmail him later with guilt because he keeps signing back on.
- be prepared for deployment. Don’t say “if” but make plans and say “when.” No matter his job he will more than likely deploy at least once. If he’s in a combat position or other vital areas be prepared for several deployments. If you can not live with this then you need to be honest and tell him NOW. Don’t wait until you are leaving him 3-years into the marriage because you didn’t open your eyes and look honestly at the commitment you were making before you said “I do.”
- while you are dating or engaged, go ahead and get a good sense of who you are when he is away in training or deployed. If you are very needy and feel incomplete when he is away then work on yourself now. Marriage does not take your insecurities away, but sometimes it can magnify them if they are not dealt with. Finish your education, figure out who you are, what you like and what you are going to do to constructively fill your time when he is away.
- this figuring out includes your need for physical contact also. If you need a lot of physical contact and feel you can not stay faithful to a man who is gone a lot, then don’t do this to him or yourself. Find yourself someone who is home and doesn’t travel for a living.
- don’t fall in love with the uniform, the image or any other aspect of the military first. You must love the man in the uniform first and foremost. The man in that uniform you love may also be a man who comes home with injuries including PTSD, TBI or other physical wounds. He needs a wife who loves HIM and not just who he is when he’s strong and healthy and “hooahing” it up. Marriage is a public partnership, but a privately intimate “soulship” where both partners learn to give more than they take. If you do not think you can love this man if he came home with severe, life-threatening and life-altering wounds, then don’t marry him. When you say “for better or for worse” to a military man that includes the real “worst” that war has to offer (including raising your children as a widow).
- if you are not a strong communicator or you have a lot of huge insecurities that leave you needing constant feedback and reassurance, then go to therapy before you marry. Women tend to be the stronger communicators in the relationship arena. You have to be a master at it and you have to be creative too.
- if you think that marrying a soldier will make your life anything like the wives on “Military Wives” or “The Unit” then you need a serious reality check. If all that I have written sounds like too much work, then ask a military wife for yourself. Find one who has been through several deployments, has children, and who has a full and interesting life. The military community is full of them. Don’t ask her how she does it, but watch her do it for a while. Ask her for her advice.