Every so often in various milso support groups I’m in, someone comes along with the following issue:
” My __relative or friend__ doesn’t support my relationship for X, Y, Z reasons. They says it’s too hard and I don’t know what I’m getting into.”
My response is simple: They are right.
You don’t know what you are getting into.
You really don’t.
None of us did.
I knew it would be hard, and I wasn’t disappointed in that respect. It IS hard. Anyone who tells you different is lying or living in a fantasy world. It will be hard, there will be challenges, and you will wonder how you are ever supposed to make it through this and if it will be worth while. I’m not going to tell you it will be. I hope it will be, I truly do. There’s a reason military divorce rates are so high. The overwhelming majority of milsos I know personally have been divorced at least once, or had broken engagements.
Usually these milsos will also go one to say how their family member/friend/etc says they are too young to get married. You know what? You probably are. What do you know at 18? Nothing, that’s what. Does it work? Sure, it can. There are many people who get married young, marry their high school sweetheart and live happily ever after. Heck my parents were high school sweet hearts and have been married over 30 years. Not everyone lives happily ever after though. Should that deter you? No. You love who you love, you can’t change that. Should you think long and hard about a major life choice? Yes, you should.
Trust me, it is a major life choice.
It will change your life in ways you cannot imagine as a love-sick 18-year-old whose never lived out of the house before, on your own. I know you think you know everything, everyone thinks that at that age. You’ll learn as you get older that you didn’t. We all do.
Marriage is hard work. It’s harder when your spouse is gone for a year at a time. When you are living 1000 miles from anyone and anything you ever knew and don’t know a soul. When you are with child for the first time while your spouse is gone, and your family is on the other side of the world. When you are crying yourself to sleep because you haven’t heard from your spouse in a week…or a month. It’s hard. I will never candy coat that for anyone considering a military relationship or any long distance relationship. I’ve been in both.
You deserve to know the truth. What it’s really like once the rose glasses are off.
Does knowing it’s hard change anything? No. Not if you really love your S.O. You can’t choose who you love. Ultimately you face a choice: Choose to follow your heart or not. You know full well it might not work out, it’s a risk you take. Nothing in life is certain. “The hard is what makes it good,” it’s a quote from the movie A League of Their Own. It’s true for any challenge in life. The things you value most are from the most hard-fought battles.
Military relationships are hard. The hard is what makes them good. The feeling when they run into your arms after 6, 10, 12 months or more deployment is indescribable. You’ll never be as excited/happy/nervous – and that will include your wedding day. It’s a feeling that makes all those tears you shed worth it.