The divorce rate in the military is astronomical, and it is no surprise. It is a life unlike anything you've ever known, unless you were a military brat. And really there is no way to prepare for it. I can't count how many hours my husband has spent working with Marines and their spouses helping them through their issues. Or how many complaints I've heard at the playground. Let me be clear, there is a difference between venting frustration and being a nagging negative shrew. Some people are just NOT cut out for this life style. There is nothing wrong with thst. Before you marry a Marine think long and hard to make sure this is the life for you. And read this!
If you plan on marring a Marine you better be independent. You need to be mentally strong, and brave and self sufficient.
It helps to be out going and thoughtful. And sometimes self sacrificing. And able to bite your tongue.
Know the difference between seeking help and seeking trouble.
Be ready for nights alone. Moves alone. Births alone. Be ready for the Marine Time. If your husband says he'll be home at 4pm, be waiting at the door at 8pm. And have the dinner warm.
Expect the man cold. In the ten years my husband has been in the Marines he has never called in sick. Not once. It's not really an option. But when he finally drags his butt home at the end of the day he is done. He has been a big bad Marine all day, and the second he walks through the door he will warp into the biggest baby on the face of the earth.
You'll rarely see your family back home. So be prepared for birthdays and Christmases away.
Plans will change. And change again. Nothing is official until you have it in writing. You will not know where you will be living in two years. You will not know when your husband will get back from deployment until his plane is on the tarmac.
Get ready to speak Jarhead. I can have an entire conversation with some of my girlfriends speaking in acronyms. The head is the bathroom, the deck is the floor. CO is commanding officer, which means smile and be polite. Brig is the jail, and chow is food.
Regardless of what Jill from Home Improvement said, military time is not hard to learn. 1am to 9am just add a 0 in front. 0700 (said zero seven hundred) is 7 am. 1100 is 11 am. After 12pm just minus 12 from the number. 1300 would be 1pm. 2000 would be? Let's see. 20-12=8, so 8pm!
If you are not a person that rolls with the punches you better love your man (or woman) a great deal, because you are going to have a lot to deal with.
Are you scared yet? Second guessing? Good. Now let me tell you why I wouldn't have it any other way.
You will not want for help. Your neighbor will take out the trash while your husband is gone. If a Marine sees you trying to get that 30 pound bag of dog food into your cart, he (or she) will jump to your aid. I think I can count on my hand the number of time I have had to open a door myself. It's a little thing, but when you are juggling a screaming two year old and four bags of groceries, it means a lot when that person stands at the door a full twenty extra seconds to hold it open for you.
Your FRO (family readiness officer) will organize social events and keep you updated. If you're having a baby and are in need of things your husbands friends and coworkers will donate like new gear. The FRO might even arrange a baby shower.
There are so many wonderful programs. New Mommy Groups, classes for parenting and your marriage. Sports, and fun runs.
Forget co-pay. Unless you are a special case, medical is 100% covered. Some people have complaints about the service they get on base, but I have NEVER had a problem. It is fairly easy to get appointments and you are rarely kept waiting more then 15 minutes.
I have never once felt unsafe in my house, even when my husband is gone. It's a comfort to know that at least 10 Marines are within screaming distance. I'm sorry, but if there is something in your house that 10 Marines can't handle, no one can!
There are parks within walking distance. Everyone you meet is in the same boat as you. It is easy to start up a conversation with a perfect stranger and be talking like old friends in minutes. You will make friends that will last a life time.
You will move. You will move a lot, but the Corps is a small enough community that no matter where you go, you will know at least one person.
If you want a job, people on base will help you find one. They have amazing child care, at a fraction of the cost you'd find off base. I love the commissary (grocery store), and couldn't live with out the Exchange. The Exchange is like a Target. That has Coach and LV. At massively discounted prices!!
You get to travel the world and live in place you most likely never could afford otherwise. ITT will have attractions and travel opportunities at special rates.
You are never lacking a friendly smile, a strong back, or a shoulder to cry on.
It's a big step marrying a Marine. A brave one. Be a credit to him. And look for the good.
I'd love to hear more words of wisdom that fellow MC wives have to share!