HELP! My Husband is Joining the Army and I Don’t Like It!

An anonymous reader comments:

Hey Molly my husband is looking into a career In the army, I don’t like the idea because he will never be home and could always be deployed and could die. I am 19 he is 26 years old and we have a 5 month old daughter I didn’t not sign up to be a military wife I don’t like the idea of moving every other year and not being able to see him everyday and then spending long time periods away from him I guess my question is what is being a military spouse really like. He will be entering as a E3 but I don’t want to hear the lie from the recruiter I want to ask some one who is there.

Dear reader,

Thank you for writing. Although you are already married, you may want to check out my post, “Should I Marry a Soldier?” I cover some of the questions you ask here but the long and the short of it is that no one can really give you the answers you are seeking.

Your family’s experience in the military will vary depending on your husband’s MOS (his specialty), the post, the unit, and even down to his Commanding Officer and NCOs. And it will also depend on both of you.

As someone who has been there I will not downplay the challenges of military life. At the same time, it can be a wonderful lifestyle for those who are able to “bloom where they are planted.” One of the lessons I have learned in life is that happy people are generally happy wherever they are and miserable people are miserable wherever they go. That said, military life can be intense and can bring out the strengths and weaknesses in people and in relationships.

What I will say is that no one is never home or deployed all of the time. And it seems as if the “operational tempo” may slow in the near future. God willing.

And very few people’s lives happen exactly as they plan. A lot of families find themselves moving frequently.

While the risk of being killed in combat is very real, it is statistically not great. It is the possibility, and the constant threat of this danger, that can be very difficult for both the soldier and his family.

Your question is really a marital issue than a military one. You had a picture of your future for you and your family and you married a man who you believed shared that plan. Now, he has brought something new and you do not like the idea. How you deal with this challenge will shape your future regardless of the decision made.

I am not a marriage counselor but here are my suggestions:

1. Do some research into his proposed MOS. Are there limited posts where he might be stationed?

2. Read up. Go to your library and take out some non-fiction books for new military spouses. You’ll find an honest but upbeat take on what to expect in general. Keep in mind that your mileage will vary.

3. Have him do the same. He needs to come to you with an honest assessment of why he would like to enlist, what he hopes to accomplish in the military, and how this will shape the family’s future. Has he always dreamed of being a soldier? Does he believe it is his duty to serve? Perhaps he sees the military as his best hope for career advancement? Or maybe he wants to provide for his family with the job security and benefits of the military?

4. Make a decision together. This is very difficult because you do not want him to resent you for telling him not to enlist. At the same time, it will be a very unpleasant career and possibly unsuccessful marriage if you are not at least a willing partner in this decision. Just like any other major decision in a marriage, you both need to reach some sort of agreement, even if one person will have to make more sacrifices than the other.

If you cannot do this on your own, you may wish to speak with a clergyman if you are at all religious or perhaps go to a couples’ counselor who can help you talk through these issues in a non-confrontational way.

Whether or not he joins the military, this will hopefully help you understand each other and your marriage better and you’ll come through it stronger.

Best of luck and please update us!

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38 comments

  1. Monica says:

    Great post and great answer! I am married to an Army Chaplain and I could not have said it any better than you did….thank you for being so honest and forthcoming to your readers.

  2. brandy w says:

    i am a former miltary wife. still married but out of the army. my hubby served two tours overseas. the biggest thing is support. exspecially if he is deployed, it hurts him as much as it does the spouse to be gone

  3. Andrew says:

    Anyone who is concerned about a loved one joining the military should encourage that loved one to spend 15-30 minutes on http://www.CAMMMO.org learning about aspects of military life that you won’t hear from your Recruiter.

  4. Candace says:

    Sorry, Andrew, But that is not a good place to learn about military life. It is only a good place to learn about your political agenda. Without going into whether or not I agree with you, there is nothing there that will help a spouse learn about the military lifestyle. Go bang your drum somewhere else.

  5. Andrew says:

    Odd you should think of it as my drum, as the site only links to nationally published news stories. So it is the drum of truth- the truth that a broken, dishonest and dysfunctional military system wants potential recruits to know nothing of. They would rather pour my tax dollars and yours into propoganda, video games, motorsports sponsorships and misleading notions of heroics and valor. The facts show otherwise.

  6. (army)wife says:

    Great answer and advice! I don’t think anyone can really tell anyone else how it will be in the military because even though so many live the life, it really is all about personal opinion and experience – What you choose to make of it. Really I think you told your reader the most you could because no matter what your experience it will differ from hers, which is different from mine, which is different from another military familiy’s life. I’ve never been to CAMMO.org, so I really can’t speak on it, but I doubt any journalistic site, political or not, can give an accuarate representation of what military life is like.

  7. jessica says:

    great answers and wonderful advice. marriage is difficult, and marriage in the military is even more difficult. love your blog. i have a giveaway that you might be interested in, it’s the friendship stone power of two pack, it’s a great gift for military spouses!

  8. Candace says:

    Andrew–

    You are off topic. This is a place for military spouses to communicate, not a platform for your beliefs.

  9. Susanna says:

    I have been married to the Army :-) for 16 years and I have to admit it hasn’t always been easy. It takes awhile to know the ins and outs, now he spent his last year in Iraq .I am glad that I have been able to spend my life to the most amazing person who just happened to be in the Army.

  10. Heather says:

    I just found your blog, it’s great.

    I’m a medical student (i.e. in prison for the next 3.1 years, lol) and my fiancé just joined the Army. He leaves for BT July 27 and OCS is Oct 13. I am absolutely scared crapless.

    Consider me a blog subscriber! :)

  11. Jenna says:

    My husband is strongly considering joining the Army. He’s 31 & has been trying to get a firefighting job for the past two years, to no avail. He has been laid off from his regular job & we feel that this is our best option right now. I just want to learn as much as I can about what I can expect. Unless some awesome job drops into his lap in the next couple of weeks or so, he plans to take the ASVAB & sign up soon.

  12. Chaotic Mom says:

    Hubby has been in, and we’ve been married quite some time now. I can honestly say that with all of the struggles, I love the Army life. Good medical insurance, too. We’ve lived in some tough spots, but always worked to make the best of things. Stay away from “troublemakers”, too, those folks who seem to live for drama.

  13. jason says:

    Hi Molly
    I came across your blog, and found it very interesting. I was a serving member of The British Armed Forces (Royal Welch fusiliers) until 2003. i was injured in 2001, and it took 2 years for my medical discharge to go through. I was married for 15 years too, and my wife accompanied me to all my postings. Until recently, I never knew how difficult it could be for army wives and children…
    After my discharge, I found it very difficult to make up the kind of money I was making when I was serving. Due to my disability, I couldn’t get any sort of gainful employment anywhere. So I decided that the best bet for me was to work from home. I invested in online courses for Internet business marketing and web design. I now run several successful affiliate websites. I would like to help dependants of serving soldiers to maintain financial security
    I thought I’d pass along a little bit of information that could benefit all army dependants while their husbands/wives or partners are serving abroad. I teamed up with this program last year, and have benefited from it greatly. So much so, I am now in a position to donate part of my income to the Army Benevolent fund. Anyone who has access to the Internet will benefit from this. Especially with Christmas coming up, it can be financially hard on families. Anyway, please take a look at my program and see see for yourself. I offer full support and advice for anyone who wants to sign up. If you could pass this information on to anyone you may think could benefit from it, i would be very grateful. If you have a charity or worthy cause in mind, I would be very happy to donate the funds made by anyone who joins through your recommendation.

    Thank you

    Jason

    Edited By Siteowner

  14. Jason, I’m going to delete your link. Don’t promote your business in my comments section.

  15. Jason says:

    I served in the armed forces for 15 years, and I loved every minute of it… I can’t say that my wife and children enjoyed it, because I had to leave them for months on end… Even though I was injured in 2003, I would still join again in a heartbeat… Army aftercare is’nt all that good though… :-(
    There should be more support for the men and women who are injured in the line of duty and discharged as a result of their injuries. I now have to work from home as people will not employ me with my disablility…

  16. Shubhangi Saraf says:

    Hi Molly,
    I am glad I got to your blog. Your attempt is sincere and honest. Thanks.
    My husband has enlisted in the US Army through the MAVNI program. His BCT started this month in Georgia. We are Indians. I am completing my studies in NewYork. But presently I have come to India to visit my parents for two and a half months. I left just before my husband left for his BCT. After he reached Georgia, we havent been able to interact at all. I am aware he wont be allowed daily talk on phone, but it feels like he has left me and gone. No sign of interaction – not even email. I am glad to read about ur reply on army life for a spouse. Gives strength. But i wish to know if I could find some connection with my husband at present or even be able to know about him in anyway.
    Thanks
    Shubhangi

  17. @Shubhangi

    Stay strong! Basic is a small part of the military experience.

    Unless things have changed drastically, there will be no e-mail. Only an occasional Sunday 10 minute phone call. You can write letters, though, and if he is not too exhausted, he can write back.

    Good luck!

  18. nicole says:

    you recently answered a question “HELP! my husband is joining the army and i dont like it”. in your answer you advised her to do research and figure out if there are limited posts for his mos.
    how do you research if there are limited posts for an mos? i know my husbands job (hes in ait right now) and i would like to try and figure out if there are limited posts for his mos.
    could you please help me and give me more specific advice on how to find that out (without bothering his recruiter)?
    thank you
    a loving army wife

  19. christy clark says:

    hey my name is christy and my husband is also looking into a career in the army we have two kids 3yrs and 1yr old. most women are omg i dont wanna be an army wife but im not like that i kinda wanna be but i wanna know what to except i wanna know what im going up for i know that i want get to see him as much but i think its totally amazing that he wants to go and protect our country our world fight for our freedom it makes me proud of him that he wants to protect his family and others familys so if someone can please let me know what to expect i will surely thank you so thank you and have a good day your friend christy

  20. Aimee says:

    Hey all. I’m a new military wife currently stationed at Ft. Rucker, AL. In the last year, I have been through my husband going to Basic, Warrant Officer School, moving to a new state, and now flight school. I never thought I would do ok being a military wife and to be honest…sometimes I do question myself. I know the best way to make it is with support so if anyone has questions that i can answer or just needs someone to talk too…check out my blog or email me. I’d love to meet new wives!

  21. Kristen McLaughlin says:

    I am 25 and my husband is 27 and just lost his job and is now joining the army. We have 3 kids all under the age of 6. How hard on the kids is it going to be when he leaves? How do I sleep at night without him by my side? I am driving myself crazy thinking about everything that could go wrong…. It’s hard we have never been apart in that past 8 years. Are there programs for my kids if they have questions and I can’t answer them??? Please help he…

  22. Deb says:

    being married to a soldier means being married to the Army, yeah you should definitely do your research.. this is not an easy lifestyle.. if your not a tough person you will become one.

    you should however look into his MOS that will really tell you how long or how often he will be gone! it is never easy being away from your husband but I can say that you slowly get used to it all, you almost have no choice.

  23. Erica Faye says:

    My boyfriend of two years recently joined the Army.. I’m 18, so close to your age… I hated the thought of it at first!! But once he talked to a Recruiter he was unbelievably happy.. He has been the happiest I’ve ever seen him after he made this decision. I guess I would look at that, is your husband happy, can you tell a difference?! That helped me a lot, because I know how happy he is, it makes me happy too… I know it’s very very hard, but you have to put your own needs to the wayside sometimes. You want to show him you’re supportive in every decision he makes. And in the end, it will only make your relationship stronger!!

  24. Jen Jen says:

    Being a military wife is not for the faint of heart…or for very needy people who cannot handle being wihout your spouse for very long periods of time. I learned that very quickly, and after going through a pregnancy alone, child birth, building a home, deployment, working full time not to mention the stress of handling mommy and daddy issues alone I still would not go back and change anything. If this is the sacrifice that I make I cannot imagine how my hubby feels being away from it all without choice. God Bless our troops and bless the families they leave behind.

  25. sarah mcfalls says:

    Hello.

    I am turning 19 on tuesday the 30th and my fiance is in the Army National Guard. I wasnt on board about the whole thing when he told me that he wanted to sign up! I was scared, and frighten! But i knew that it was the right thing to do for him and our life together. If he joins the national guard depending on what his MOS is, he will probley be stationed home. Basic and AIT will go by before you know it! My fiance will be home in 4 weeks and I already cant believe it. And once he leaves, you will fall in love with him all over again, its the best feeling in the whole world. And ya there will be times when you dont hear from him for a couple weeks, and all your getting is letters, and trust me thats the worst feeling in the world, but you have to remember that he isnt doing this for him he would be doing to for you and your daughter and to make yours and her life better. Its hard to hear at first but trust me its worth it in the end!

    😀
    Sarah

  26. Jenna says:

    The Army life is what you make of it. If you go in informed, well-researched and with a good attitude, it will help. Get out of the house, get involved in the community, and develop a network of (offline) friends. Get to learn the ranks, the command structure, and who the chain of command is. Knowing this is going to make talking to your spouse SO much easier. Keep out of the politics, out of the drama. Ensure when you get to a new post that you explore the community. Find good places ot eat, good hairdressers, the gym, and the local chamber of commerce. Doing this will make you feel like you’re a part of the community, not just an outsider. Once you know you’re moving, go read the area’s website, history, and sign up for the events calendar. There is no other profession out there that will give you exactly what you give it. If you want the best ride of your life, and you do the work to facilitate that, you’re going to get it. If you want the ride of your life, but dont do the work, you’re going to get some, but not much. If you go in with a crap attitude and sit at home, complaining about how much you hate the army, you’re going to be miserable. I’ve run the gamut from military child, to soldier to spouse to civilian employee and it’s been the ride of my life. BUT I wasnt lazy about it. If you arent, either, it will be an amazing experience.

    30

  27. Treha says:

    Hi, I’m, 37 and my hUsband is 35. We have been married for 4 years and have an 18 month old daughter. Last week my Husband told me he was interested in joining the army and he met with a recruiter this morning. I know he has always wanted to serve in the military, but chose college instead. He has been working in finance for the last 10 years and has hated every job he has had. I guess it’s his time to follow his dream and make a difference at the same time. I really support that, and I want to fully support him to embrace this new adventure together, but I have some concerns. I would really appreciate any suggestions or words of advice.

    Well, we have a house and a mortgage, and car leases, and bills. I am a stay at home Mom, but would be happy working if I knew I had great child care available while my husband serves. I guess I just need to know that it’s all doable. When should we put the house on the market? How do I research a MOS and stations? and what is military housing like?

    Ok I guess i have a lot of questions. I would probably do better talking to someone one on one, but I don’t know anyone who is or has been an Army wife.

    Sorry this is such a frantic post. This all became very real for me this afternoon and my head is spinning.

  28. Angela says:

    My husband is planning to join the Army as well. We have two kids, 9 & 3. I am 110% supportive of his decision but I have so many questions and I know from all my research that it will be some time before I have answers to many of them 😉

    I am curious about what to do with our house though. We have no major plans to return to this area when he is finished whether that is in four or twenty years. I am concerned however that in the current housing market we will not be able to sell.

    Thanks for this blog, I am so glad I found it.

  29. Liz says:

    As the daughter of a Navy officer, I can tell you firsthand some of the hardships you might face being married to or part of a military family.
    Deployments can be terrifying. If your husband does join the military, there are fantastic resources for wives and military family members who are opposed to the war and deployment as well as the lack of benefits for veterans who return home from the war. Military Families Speak Out, is a great resource at mfso.org
    God Bless our troops and bless the families they leave behind.

  30. Lucille says:

    What about those of us who were married BEFORE their spouse decided to join? I’ve been with my husband since 01 and he joined last year, despite me not liking it (devistated by his choice is a better description). Don’t get me wrong- I love and support him but we both wonder what this is going to do to me, and us. I feel like what I want and need doesn’t matter anymore- it’s all about him and the Army. Here’s the kicker- he wants to be in for another 12 years after this enlistment. I know this is what he believes to be his calling… his dream.. and I’d never want to make him compromise on his dream.. but my dream is to spend my life with him.. actually spend it with him.. not on the phone, or skype, or 3 months out of the last 18.. when I think about spending the next 14 years living this way.. I can’t stand it.. How do I make it better? How do I not hate the Army? How do I not resent him for leaving?

  31. Alex says:

    I would think the best thing to do is to talk about it. It is the only way to solve anything in my op., yet it is not very easy to do most of the time (depeding on the person). Now, my personal opinion on this matter may not matter to you so i will not say it unless you want to, but for general advice i think maybe to rethink what is good for both of you is a good idea.Get to a middle point were both agree to maybe have to put up with some things on each one’s behalf but also were communication and both of your benefits may flourish. Think nothing of the past, organize a little of your future but in my opinion savour the present more than anything (without it being unproductive towards your future). Im carrying away here, but thats what i say. :)

    Hope you can be happy, cause taht’s really all its about

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  33. Jessica says:

    My husband is trying to join the military and it is tearing my heart out. I really feel for the people who seem to feel the same as me, only my situation is different. My husband and I have a son together but I have a daughter with my ex husband as well. Because of some custody issues with the situation with my daughter and ex husband,if my husband joins the military, I HAVE to stay behind.I can either stay behind or give my ex primary custody, which would not be good for my daughter. My heart is on the floor because not only will I deal with my husband being gone like any military wife, but we will see each other even less than the average military couple because he will be stationed somewhere and I will not be able to go with him. Pretty much, for the duration of his contract, we will live completely separate lives. I feel sick about this and I cannot get any peace.I am beginning to wonder if we should even stay married because even the very thought of it fills me with grief I do not know how to process. Does anyone have any advice for me because I have talked to my husband and this is what he wants and I am so heartbroken I do not know what to do.

  34. Sage says:

    I am so nervous. My fiance just told me he wants to go into the army. I have heard him say this before but never thought he was truly serious. He came to me today and we talked and he has everything planed out. He really wants to go in and I cannot accompany him because I Alvin school where we live and I cannot transfer. This makes me very nervous because of everything that can happen to him. Can someone please tell me how they cope with it if they aren’t with their spouse. Or how you copped with it in the beginning that would be great.

  35. Vanessa says:

    My on and off boyfriend for about a year now is stationed in Fort Bragg, NC and would like to continue working things out between us. I’m 23 and he is 28, he has completed college and I am barely about to finish cosmetology school in May 2013. He speaks of a future together (marriage, babies) and when I think back on when we where forst together, I embraced the idea. Ever since the break up I’ve been nervous about giving us a second chance because I feel that if I give us another chance, I’ll be trapped in this life of a potential military wife and I don’t like it. He grows frustrated and tired of the patience in waiting for me to come around. I questioned why he is in such a rush all of a sudden and he simply says he does not want to waist anymore time. What do I do? I feel pressured, and he has the tendancy of being manipulative and somewhat controlling with his word play.

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  37. Inesa says:

    I married my husband 1,5 year ago. It was beatifull . Big love. From the begging I knew he was discharged before from Naval Academy. Big dissappointment for him. Then he was doing some fire fighter school, never finished it. He is 22. And I am 31. Right from the beginning he told me he chosen me not joining the army. Because I told him right away I would never be a soldier wife. He knew this is not my life.
    And just a couple months before when I was in my country overseas for vacation , he started to fill up the paper work with his friend to join the army behind of my back. When I was back after 3 weeks he never told me about it till today when I finally ask him hard. My husband is very unsocial person , as far as make good money, he never really work since we are together . I know it’s not right.
    Please advice me what I should do? I live in USA for 2 years. In Florida . I don’t want to move . I love ocean. Plus I don’t have any family left, everybody died. I had 7 year realationship and guy left me. My husband is all for me, but I can’t be military spouse, I know what is that.
    Thank you for your answer.

  38. Somebody says:

    I am currently having this issue right now. I am engaged and my 29 year old fiance (I am 29 as well), decided that he hates teaching so much and just wants to pick up and join the military. He claims that it is equally my decision, but when I tell him I don’t agree he tells me that “He can’t give me what I need and we might not work out”… We have a house that is in a good community that only cost $500.00 because it was a foreclosure, we have careers, and I own a business. My parents are in their 70’s, and I just don’t want to pick up and leave my entire life behind because he hates the school he teaches at.