Thinking of marrying a service member? There are lots of great reasons to marry — and some reasons that may not be strong enough for a lifelong commitment. Successful military marriages call for love as well as resilience, trust, shared values and more.
Go through these questions to ask before marriage as a couple to see if your relationship is military strong.
- Can you imagine yourselves together far into the future? Do you share the same basic values, feel the same way about having children and how to raise them? Compatibility goes a long, long way in a successful marriage.
- Are you prepared for separation? Long deployments, separations and other military obligations bring challenges that civilians don’t face. You may be apart for months at a time, even for holidays, birthdays and family events.
- Are you strong enough to handle life on your own? During deployment, the inevitable crises of family life arise. Make sure you can handle finances, home maintenance and repairs alone.
- Are you prepared to move often, and possibly see less of your family and friends? You’ll need to be able to adapt gracefully to new social situations, make new friends and get involved — and be prepared for certain obligations to military readiness groups.
- Do you like your boyfriend or girlfriend the way they are, or do you think marriage will change them? Keep in mind, it probably won’t. In fact, military life brings new situations that you both need to work on together and rely on each other for.
- Are you marrying before your boyfriend or girlfriend is leaving because you’re worried that your relationship will fall apart if you don’t? If you doubt your relationship will last a separation, it probably won’t last a lifetime.
- Do you trust each other with money? Will you be comfortable sharing a checking account and credit card? Have you discussed finances, savings and investments?
- Do you agree on whether you should both work? Is your career flexible enough for a military marriage? You need to talk about career decisions.
- Do you trust each other? Military marriage requires more blind trust than your average marriage. Are you confident that both of you will be faithful during separations?
- Are either of you quick to lose your temper? Do you criticize one another in public? Are you jealous? Being critical or losing your temper easily is a sign of an unhealthy or disrespectful relationship.
- Do you “argue well?” Do you argue over little things? Or just avoid conflict? If you have a disagreement, do you talk in a way that respects the other’s contributions, feelings and viewpoints?
- How do you handle important decisions? Do you discuss them with each other and make decisions together, including military career decisions, such as whether to re-enlist? Major decisions take the commitment of two.
- Do you have educational goals? If so, you may need to earn a degree through on online university or program, face possible relocation during your schooling.
- Are you marrying primarily to access military benefits? While this is certainly tempting, by itself it’s not enough reason to enter into a legally binding contract with another person.
How did you do? It’s good to be honest and know that a military marriage may bring an exciting life as well as its own challenges. Be prepared — you are more likely to enjoy a strong and healthy relationship. Here are some resources to strengthen your relationship.
If you have questions, contact your local Military and Family Support Center or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.