What is it like to be a wife in the military?

Shauna - posted on 03/14/2011 ( 33 moms have responded )

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I am wondering what it is like to be a wife with children in the military. Me and my husband are thinking of joining the army and would like some insight on what it is like...

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Amanda - posted on 03/14/2011

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Everyone's situation is different. It is different than being non military though for sure. You have to deal with seperations, deployments, (children can take it harder than the spouse left behind), rules, rules, and more rules....LoL. There are upsides though. Guarenteed paychecks, job stability, a chance to see another town other than where you grew up (on the military's dime of course), health insurance, etc.... I can tell you how it's been for me, but that doesn't mean your experience will be anything like it. You guys need to have a serious heart to heart talk and decide if that's the way you want to go. Some wives come in thinking it's all rosy and glory and then don't understand when their life gets turned upside down by the government and they can't do anything about it. Do as much research as you can together and then decide if this is what you BOTH want. (and DO NOT believe everything the recruiter tells you.....LoL).

Jane - posted on 03/16/2011

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My husband was Navy for 22 1/2 years and loved almost every minute of it. One thing I can say is that both spouses need to be both strong and flexible, and both need to be able to communicate very, very well. And each of you have to be able to adjust to changing roles every time the military spouse is deployed or, even more importantly, returns from deployment.

The military can be an excellent way to pull yourself up by your bootstraps in that advanced schooling is readily available - my husband got his Associates' through Embry-Riddle, and that after 20 years in you can retire, keep your health insurance for a nominal fee, keep your base access, keep getting a check, and still be young enough to have a whole second career. Add the travel to it and you can learn a huge amount about the world and change the future for your kids and grandkids.

OTOH each of you has to be able to be loyal to the other and each of you have to be able to run the household all by yourself. Each of you have to face long hours apart as well as the worry about the safety of the ones you are far away from. And a sense of humor is essential!

Both of you need to have the persistence to find out how you can do what you need to do within the rules, or even in spite of the rules - it can become a bit of a game to figure out how to do that. I remember a time when we had to have something faxed from one office to the other but neither office had a fax machine. My husband took the forms, went to the second office and, as he went through the door, made a beeping noise and in a robotic voice announced "Incoming fax! Incoming fax!" When everyone stopped laughing they accepted the "fax" and we got what we needed.

As to branch of the military, my husband loved the Navy and wouldn't have picked any other branch. However, he always reminded folks that: "The Air Force builds the housing, then they build the runways; The Navy builds the runways, then they build the housing; And the Marines build the runways." From personal experience I can say that by and large housing in the Air Force is better than Navy housing. I also knew a woman whose Marine husband was the same rank as my husband, and she raised four boys in a tent.

The Air Force is considered the "white collar" branch and is called the "Chair Force" by folks like the Marines and the Army, who spend a lot of time on their feet. Also note that the vast majority of folks who serve in war zones such as the Middle East are Army.

Cassie - posted on 03/15/2011

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I'm a submariner's wife and it's entirely different then the Army (which I had an Uncle, brother in law, and parents were in). Military life is unpredictable to say the least. They can get called away at a moments notice, they have crazy long days, they don't participate in half of the things you want them to and they miss A LOT that goes on with the kids. On the other hand I couldn't be more proud of my husband for what he does. We have a paycheck every month, we have healthcare we don't have to pay for, and housing. We get to travel to new places and meet new people. You just have to really make sure whether your both going in or just one of you that your behind each other 100%. You have to communicate!!! Even more so then a normal civilian couple. You have to have trust and be willing to stand by your partner through anything. If you guys decide to do it then really do it. :) I love my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I don't know how to be a civilian anymore. You guys gotta make the best choice for you, whatever that may be. Good luck!!

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Amy - posted on 04/07/2011

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My husband, Lieutenant in the Air Force for 8 years, and I have been married for a little over two years. He was stationed in Japan a short time after we wed, but our son and I stayed in the United States. Now that he is states side, we are still apart, he lives in Texas, and we still live in Indiana. At first, I had my career so we really couldn't move. Now that I have taken early retirement, I just can't pick up and leave. It frustrates my husband but he understands. We want our son to have stability. My husband is being deployed to Afghanistan soon and that's a little freaky but we've lived apart for so long. However, our respect and love for one another is something I have never had before. Being in our 30's, I can't stand to remember what my life was like before him. Being a military wife is both stressing and wonderful for me. I respect it, and I relish in the fact that I am not alone. There are so many men and women that support their husbands and wives in the military so having a good support system is crucial. Good luck with your decisions and respect the military life, it's a good life to be in.

Marquetta - posted on 03/24/2011

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It's hard because everything falls on you because you husbands job comes first.

Yara - posted on 03/24/2011

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I have been an Army wife for 17 years, and I have to say it is a great experience. That does not mean it isn't hard at times. We've lived in places we would never have gone to if not for the Army. Some were great, some left a little to be desired. I really appreciate the free medical care, and the housing, and the steady pay. I have made some fantastic friends in all those places, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

But there is also the downside of the long hours they have to work, the days/weeks/months that they will be gone because of their job. Weekends aren't always free, and quite often you have to be a single mom. They can miss birthdays, holidays and anniversaries, and no amount of complaining can change that. I will say that I have always found other military wives to be friends with, and that helps a lot, because they have been there, done that. It's just you have to know that you won't always have him around to count on, and you'll just have to cope on your own.
Having said all that, I suggest you both talk it over. He needs to be OK with all the things he will be missing, and you need to be willing to go it alone, even though you know he may just be working late that night. It's a great life, but it's not easy, so take the time to think about it.

Rosanna - posted on 03/23/2011

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Everyones situation is different. As for me I hate change and its definately a change. I'm getting use to it though trying to get my sons into the change my one yr. old aint bad but my 6 yr. old is stressed out. Military takes care of you so thats a plus. I actually love being an army wife and respect everyone that is un military.It's a tough job but i stand by my husbands decision to serve our country 100%

Tabitha - posted on 03/22/2011

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To tell u the truth its a tough job. You have to be able to handle being the mom and dad and be able to take care of everything yourself and be away from the one you love for a long time. As long as you know your strong enough to make it through then u can do it. Its one of the hardest jobs out there to do but I would not change my life of being an army wife for anything!

Frances M - posted on 03/21/2011

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It is hard. I raised 2 children almost by myself. I loved it when Al was home; but even then he had duty nights (1 a wk) and weekends (abt 1 a mo.). I had to do everything 90% of the time because he was gone 5 to 7 months at a time. If I had not lived in a community that was not mostly military, I would have not made it. In a military community (on base or off), we help each other with the children, repairs, whatever. There was always someone you could trust to talk to and that helps so much. One good friend is worth gold because you can tell them anything and know it will go no further, they know when it's just venting and they accept you no matter what. You will need that.
My husband was in the Navy the first 15 years of our marriage. We've been married 46 years now and I still miss that comradery. We ladies would meet at each others home after the children were off to school and chat over coffee. Once a week (usually Friday) we would meet and play cards. We could not afford a baby sitter so we would swap off child care as needed.
My husband was in Vietnam for one year. He had shore duty and was dropped from hellocopters to repair radar and communications equipment where needed. That was the hardest year of my life. I tell you this because your husband will more than likely be sent into a war zone. You will probably have to go through that hard time right after boot camp.
Being a military wife has a lot of plusses (free medical, free medications, cheaper groceries, cheaper dry goods & cigerettes, comradery with other wives, etc); but there is also a couple of really big downsides (seperations and war). Do you love your husband enough to endure being a military wife? Only you can answer that. When he gets out, he will have education and house buying bennefits for him and his children. The GI bill will now help pay for his childrens college education.
I pray you will make the right dicision for your family.

Shauna - posted on 03/21/2011

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i realy like everyones say in this matter. i do knowit would be hard at time i am already used to that part with not having a lot of time with my husban and rasing our baby girl most of the time by myself the job he has now has him working a lot but we do get enough to live on our own any more so we live with family

Kayla - posted on 03/21/2011

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Alot of things are changing so I suggest doing lots of research..
My husband and I have been together 6 years
(married for 2 this aug) and we have a 7 month old daughter.
Army life is HARD! Army has 12-18 month deployments...thats alot to miss out on. There are times we dont know where or how our husbands are doing!
THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING GUARENTEED...EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS CHANGING.
That said I feel the army has improved my relationship 100%. We communicate better, we dont take our time together for granted, and we are happy with our decision to join the army!
Its not just him joining the army you guys as a family are... Its extremely important that you guys are in constant open communication the army throws you for a loop. Good luck with whatever you guys choose :)
As for congress changing things it is possible that they will not get paid, and inthere contracts...it has never happened prob wont but it is a possibility. I have also heard that congress passed a bill stating all federal govement employee as well as military will be unable to get a pay raise for 2 years. PT restrictions are going to change. Its alot to consider and alot to think about its not something to just jump into. good luck

Dalena - posted on 03/21/2011

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It's tough...you have to be a strong person. I only have one child and I thank god for that...if I had more I'm not sure I'd be able to handle it. I guess it all depends on what branch you join...my husband is in the NAVY so when he deploys it's usually to Bahrain, Kuwait, Dubai, or out to sea on the Gulf...I don't have to worry as much as if he were in Iraq or Afghanistan. It's still hard though raising your child for long periods of time by yourself. My son is 3 now and he's at the age where he likes to try to test me to see what he can get away with. My husband is getting ready to deploy again in a month or so and I'm a little more nervous this time because of Bryce's age....but we'll see. Employment wise, it's a great opportunity with good benefits....not much of that out there now a days. Hope I helped a bit...good luck!

Jamie - posted on 03/18/2011

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I'm also an Air Force wife (with a lot in common with Leah who previously posted here). I won't say it's always been easy, but it hasn't uncomfortable yet. My husband does administrative/computer work and hasn't been deployed yet though he's going on 5 years of active duty. I love that he has job security and benefits. I stay home with our daughter because I'm able to with his pay and that's important to me until she starts school. I can't really complain but everyone's situations are different.

Lynae - posted on 03/17/2011

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I am an Army wife and very proud of that title. My husband has done both active duty and national guard...full time with both and we are on our second deployment. it isn't an easy job being an Army wife as your husband isn't yours any longer. the army has first claim on him all of the time so has had to miss family things that a normal 9-5 job would allow him to be at. but what he does is such an important part of what keeps our country working and safe that its worth the sacrifice for me. know that if you do decide to go military, go with the right attitude and you will have a good experience. there is alot of support for families and soldiers that are there to help. be supportive of his job and demands..that way he will be able to be the best soldier he can be. Ya gotta be able to be independent of your husband and have a life without him that he can fit into when he's home. if you are dependent on him for everything this won't be a good career for him to do. there are benefits that come from being part of the military that aren't found anywhere else. i have two families...my military one that includes people from all over the world and then i have my normal friends and family. so being a military wife has enhanced my life and the lives of my kids so much. they learn patriatism, have many different friends, lived in different places and learned to be independent. just a few things to look at when you are making your decisions. good luck!!

Jane - posted on 03/17/2011

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When I was a kid my dad had a civilian job that made us move frequently. In fact, I was in 12 different schools by the end of 12th grade. By the time I was in sixth grade my mom let me supervise the packers, and by the time I was 16 I supervised the whole thing while she went off and rested. Perhaps that is why I don't even consider the moving around in the military to be a hardship. Married sailors may only move every four years or so, while there were times when we moved every single year.

I have to admit, though, that we made a conscious choice to be certain our kids could be in the same high school the whole time. That way they could take full advantage of the fun, social activities.

In any case, for my family home is not a place. It is a group of people. Wherever we are together we are home. Living in so many places was fun and an adventure, and was very good training in knowing not only where we wanted to live, but also where we did NOT want to live.

Personally, I decided that when I could I would never live anywhere where it got cold enough that I had to wear closed-toe shoes ever again. Thus, the past few years we have stayed in southern Texas.

Laura - posted on 03/17/2011

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My hubby is Army. I have to say that I swore I would never marry military, but did. I wouldn't trade my life for anything. The Army is what you make of it. Yes...moving a lot sucks at times, but you see different places (with Army posts, a lot of place you know you don't want to live at again..lol) I have two boys. Deployments can be hard because you are by yourself, but we are strong women. My hubby left when my first son was 4 months for a year and then again when I was 8months pregnant for a year. Didn't expect to have a baby w/o him, but did. You have to do as much as a family when you are together and be a strong unit. Military life is not an easy life and it will test you, but it is very worth it. You have to be flexible, know that you aren't in control of your life in some areas, know that change is constant, and that you can make it all into great memories or an adventure depending on how you approach it. :)

Shauna - posted on 03/17/2011

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i really do thank everyone for there say in the matter and i would olny be my husband joining

Jennifer - posted on 03/17/2011

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I love the Army. My husband and I met in the Army and then had a son. It is very difficult being dual military. When my son was 2 1/2 both my husband and I were deployed leaving my son with another family member for 16 months.



I separated from the Army in 2009 and now I am a military spouse. The benefits are awesome even if just one of you joined. If you both join it is not a guarantee that you are stationed together. My friend and her husband were nearly 4 hours apart. And I know of a few other cases where they were a lot further (wife in Virginia and husband in Hawaii).



Plus the military as a whole is over strength and they are forcing men and women out at 15 years, my husband is one of them. I think some of that is they need people in the reserves. It is a lot to think about and it has a lot of pros and cons either way!

Sallie - posted on 03/17/2011

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You will never get used to him being gone... its hard and stressful playing single mom while he's overseas my husband was injured while in afgah. And it was an awful experience for me not knowing what was going on... he came back with really bad ptsd..and just now is learning to cope with it 2 years later... we now have a baby who is 1 and half and we are getting out of the marine corps because the only benefit for us is the steady pay other than that my husband doesn't want to miss anymore of his sons life or our future childrens life :)

Leah - posted on 03/17/2011

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I'm an Air Force wife and at first I was extremely against it. I didn't want my husband to be under contract to the government, able to be whisked away at a moments notice...but i've adjusted and grown to really enjoy the life of a military wife. My husband is part of the "chair" force, working on computers in NM, we have a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath house, two cars, and a little one due any minute now. His income is enough that I don't have to work unless I want to (though we do only have one car payment at the time) and the support I get from the community helps with not having any family around. The idea that he can deploy at any given time is a bit scary, but I know that if he does deploy the Air Force will take good care of him for the duration of the deployment. A buddy of ours was deployed when his wife delivered their son, and he was able to watch and 'be there' via webcam.

Samantha - posted on 03/17/2011

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I wont lie to you. It's hard and stressful at times. It really all depends on you and how you feel about being away from your friends and family. I thought it was gonna be great to have a fresh start, but we are always so home sick and I really miss my friends. Especially if you have kids. They have to be away from their grandparents and its hard to ever get date night cuz you don't just wanna leave your kids with anybody. But other than that stuff its good. The money and insurance are good in the hard economy.

Debbi - posted on 03/17/2011

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As to the people saying that you might not get paid, we have been in 15 years and have never missed a paycheck, regardless of the crap the budget is gong through.

Katie - posted on 03/17/2011

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I'm right there with Cassie with having four kids and a husband who's is in the navy its very hard on them my husband is gone six months out of a year I am lime a single mom I have a son it's the hardest on him nit having his dad around it worth it but very hard at times

Elizabeth - posted on 03/17/2011

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I like being an Army wife *most of the time. My husband and I are sort of used to the whole being separated thing, but that does get hard. He's on his 2nd deployment since we got married 3 1/2 years ago. The first one was 15 months, but we didn't have any kids so I did things (like traveling) to pass the time. This time we have a daughter, she just turned one and he got his R&R to be over her birthday. Sometimes it's really really hard to be apart, but on the bright side we are able to save money because I move back home during deployments. So not only can I do thigns to entertain myself, we still have extra money because I don't have to pay a babysitter or pay too much for rent.
If I didn't move back home during deployments, especially this one, I would have long ago gone crazy. My husband calls me every day usually once in the morning and once at night and that helps a lot. We have a great relationship despite the separation.

Tah - posted on 03/16/2011

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My husband is navy..they have 5 years sea duty, they would deploy every 18 months for about 6 months then go to shore duty for 4 years. Of course some never even see the ship and their are shorter deployments. They also take pretty good care of us but advancement is harder unless they have rate that passes 100%

Caroline - posted on 03/16/2011

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I'm an Air Force wife myself and I'm pretty new to the military life and like people say above, there are pros and cons to the lifestyle military families have. Are you both planning on joining the Army or just one of you?? I would not recommend that both of you join because staying at the same base is far from a guarantee. In my opinion Air Force is the branch that takes the best care of the military families. I agree with the post above, if I were you I wouldn't go army either. They seem to be deployed A LOT and with not very much care for the families. I wish you the best of luck when making this decision!=)

Sunshine - posted on 03/16/2011

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I agree with Amanda. Everyone's situations are different.
For some its easy & for some its not. It is hard at times SPECIALLY if you have NO family around you.. & traveling is something you have to be willing to do..

Its not hard for me. My husband is currently deployed But I also have MY parents who help out. Advice for you I wouldn't go Army.. My husband is & hates it they don't really care for the families nor the soldiers(just personal experience) Good Luck on your decision :)

Tah - posted on 03/16/2011

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scary, annoying, frustrating, worrisome, time consuming...but rewarding...

Amanda - posted on 03/16/2011

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You are guarenteed a paycheck, although I never specificed how much. In the twenty years my father, uncle, and grandfather served none of them were ever "not paid" for their service. Same with my husband who is going on his 8th year. There are instances when Congress can't get their crap together and pass a proper budget (like now), but I have yet to see the military not get retro paid. And yes, like the above poster mentioned, there are cuts coming. It would not surprise me in the least if no one got a raise for the next couple of years. They are already cutting down on the number of people they PCS every year in effort to save money.



Job stability is a relative term. The military is about as stable as you can get, bar you becoming medical or failing PT tests, or just really messing up. Compared to a civilian job it is quite stable.

Sabrina - posted on 03/16/2011

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I know someone earlier said that you don't have to worry about job sercurity. And that your paycheck is guranteed and that is not true. Every year congress has to approve the defense budget and that means your paycheck. There have been instances where they could agree on the budget and no paychecks went out.We are worried about this now especially with all the talk about military spending cuts. I am a military spouses and it is not easy. Thank goodness we have a strong belief in God. The one thing that I hate the most is that he works so much even on weekends. At bases like where we are now (hickam AFB) he even had to supply power to a party that the colonel was throwing at his house out here. Which was against the law! Anywho...enough of the bad things about the military. It is different from being a civilian. But it can be done. Its a lot to think about. There are a lot of benefits to it and as equal of downsize to it.

Alicia - posted on 03/15/2011

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I am a submariners wife, we have been married almost 2 1/2 years (together for 4 1/2) and have an 18 month old. I am still fairly new to it. my husband is never home for more that 4 months at a time, and 4 months is rare, he is in special projects so he is gone more than a lot of other submariners but he LOVES his job. he missed our daughter being born and met her when she was 4 months old. most of our relationship is thru emails. but I have never been more proud of my husband, and knowing that you get to be a part of something larger than you could imagine is incredible. :) we get decent pay, enough for us to have a house and 2 new cars and me to stay home. not to mention our relationship is stronger than ever, because we truly enjoy our time together. It was a lot easier before our daughter was born. We are currently going thru our first deployment where my daughter is aware daddy is gone, and its rough. There are Pro's and Cons to it all, but its really not something to go into lightly! good luck!!

Shauna - posted on 03/15/2011

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thanks every one for the insite on the military...please keep it coming ....we are also talking and praying very hard on it

Jesica - posted on 03/14/2011

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I don't know how the army is on duel active duty spouses but in the navy you are not guaranteed to live in the same duty station but no more than 8 hours away. and one of you have to be in a deploy-able billet (sea rotation) while the other in on shore duty. do your home work

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