Welcome to the Thunder Dome, future military spouses.
JK, JK, JK. You’re engaged! Congratulations!
You and your soon-to-be spouse are basically real-life versions of the heart-eyed emoji right now, basking in the afterglow of what I am sure was a perfectly perfect-in-every-way proposal.
That feeling will last as long as it takes to send those first snaps of your ring out. After that, Engagement Panic Disorder (EPD for short) will set in as you and your new fiance get barraged with texts from literally everyone you know: your mother, best friend and the supermarket lady. That feeling is amplified by about a million when your new fiance is a service member.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing to marry into the military. I ain’t going to sugarcoat it, planning a military wedding is the easy part.
If all this seems overwhelming, that’s because it is. But there’s no reason to let EPD hijack your pre-wedded bliss. I’ve got the down and dirty on everything you’ll need to know as a future military spouse.
The Smart Soon-To-Be Military Spouses’ Guide to Military Life
Talk About the Scary Stuff
Being a military spouse means you have to tackle some uncomfortable topics, like who has Power of Attorney, way before other couples you know. It’s hard to have those conversations, but making those decisions before you are married will alleviate a lot of stress in your relationship and allow you to focus on the fun stuff, like choosing which awful revenge bridesmaids dress you’re going to make your pals wear.
Learn the Lingo
Acronyms. So many acronyms. Some are (way) more colorful than others.
My boo is terrible at explaining Navy stuff – he assumes that I know all the jargon, because why wouldn’t I?
Learning all the abbreviations and acronyms can be helpful for both of you. For one, learning military lingo is a way for you to understand your future spouse’s job a little bit better.
Also, quite a few of those acronyms pertain to you. Once you’re married, you’ll need to know about things like DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System), and how to PCS (Permanent Change of Station) like a pro.
Find Your Tribe
When you’re a soon-to-be military spouse, it’s hard to figure out where you fit in, especially if you’ve just arrived at a new duty station. There are on-base resources to help you get involved in military life, like the FRG (remember those acronyms?) which is a command-sponsored organization that provides support to spouses and families.
Having a balanced social life is key for your sanity as a military spouse.
Don’t Put Your Career on Hold
Long gone are the days when military spouses stayed home with the kids; although there’s nothing wrong with that! The beauty of being a modern-day military spouse means you get to choose.
If you have a bomb career, there’s no reason you can’t continue being the working rock star you are just because you’re about to marry a service member. It takes work, but developing a portable career can be done.
Time goes by faster than you think. In no time at all you’ll be a seasoned spouse, regaling wide-eyed newcomers with your tales of military life.
So enjoy yourself! It can be overwhelming, but there is so much to love about military life. You’ll get to live in new places, experience other cultures and make lifelong friends who are more like family. Plus, if you’ve never experienced the suckhole that is deployment, there is an upside — homecoming sex (trust me).