Before I met my husband, I lived a very content existence. I was out on my own for almost 10 years and had a groove. My family, friends and job were everything that I could ever ask for and thought I had the rest of my life mapped out–and marrying a soldier was NOT in my 10-year plan.
Funny how things work out like that, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade anything for the world. I’m very thankful to find a wonderful life partner that so happens to be serving in the United States Army. As we were getting ready to get married, I began to have minor freak-outs because I realized my life, as I knew it, would be way different.
Not necessarily good or bad, just unknown.
Also, I was losing a lot of the things that I was used to doing and seeing, which was scary at first.
After we started getting settled into our routine, I noticed that I was actually gaining so much by being a military spouse. Despite all the things that changed, being a part of the military community was a gift. Military life has given me an immeasurable amount of amazing experiences and circumstances that would have never came my way, if I didn’t become a military spouse.
What You Gain When You Become a Military Spouse
A Bigger Family
I got a taste of this growing up as a military child. I never truly felt like I was the only child, although I was technically an only child. Wherever we were stationed, my family grew. The military community is amazing and feels like one gigantic family.
There are highs and lows, just like any other biological family too, but at the end of the day, we are all in this crazy roller coaster of a life together.
Millennial military families have an advantage over previous generations by having technology on our side. We can video chat, email and immediately reach anybody and everybody in an instance.
I’m at my first official duty station with my husband (his previous one I wasn’t on his orders, although we were married…‘tis the situation of an unaccompanied tour) and I’ve met such amazing people and we haven’t even reached halfway of our predicted tour here.
I’m so grateful for the family I’m gaining and know that I’ll keep everyone in my heart when the Army takes us someplace new, where I’ll continue to grow my military family!
A Greater Appreciation for the World
A little more than half the percentage of the United States have never moved out of their birth state. And more than half of that percentage never moved out of their hometown…ever. It’s human nature to get comfortable in one particular location and the desire to live elsewhere just isn’t there.
The military pushes us to places that we wouldn’t have thought to live.
Honestly, I never wanted to live in the D.C.-area. I visited Washington, D.C., as a child and even a couple of times as an adult, but I didn’t think this city was for me. Well, I married a soldier and when PCS orders to move here I thought, “what the heck, I’ll give it a shot” and have been loving it ever since.
When my husband was stationed at Fort Drum during the time we were dating, I was the crazy person that enjoyed our time there. It was just the kind of place I needed every once in awhile to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. I would have never made my way up there without knowing my husband.
Another place that the military brought me was Arizona and I don’t know when I would have made my way to the Grand Canyon without my husband being stationed there too.
More Experiences Than You Could Ever Imagine
Being able to explore the world allows me to value all the little things that come my way. There are so many unique experiences that military life gives you.
For example, people dream about living in Europe and it’s quite possible that your service member could get orders overseas. Talk about a chance of a lifetime.
Even if you don’t have a chance to live on foreign soil, your post can bring the culture to you. The commissary has groceries from around the world and you can meet people that are from everywhere too.
In addition to being able to immerse yourself culturally, military life can also present opportunities for you to branch out. Moving to a new place gave me the motivation I needed to do a career shift that ultimately nudged me in a direction I never thought to do, i.e. solopreneurship.
Who knows where I would have been if I didn’t get married into the military? I would have probably still been doing the same thing.
Aside from the professional growth military life has given me, I’ve personally thrived locally by volunteering and involving myself in the military community. It’s resulted in an overall fulfillment and I’ve found where I fit into the equation.
And I have military life to thank for that! I believe we all our chance to shine in this lifestyle.