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Is There a Bad Time to Get Married?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am just starting this new military journey with my fiancé who is enlisting in the Air Force. I was wondering: When would be a good time to get married? Before MEPS? After MEPS? Before his ship date? After A-School?

I have heard some very scary stories on this subject. For example: If you get married before MEPS, they may not let him join.

Or if you wait to get married after MEPS, they will mess your paperwork up and they will not recognize that he is married until he has served at least two years.

Or if you wait until after he’s finished A-School, it will take months to do all the paperwork and get it processed.

I want to get married before he goes to Basic, but I don't want to ruin his chances to join! Ms. Vicki, I really need help and some clarification.

A Lost Un-Wed Soul

Dear Un-Wed,

This must be stressful and frightening too. Most of the things you have heard are rumors. I’m not saying paperwork cannot get mixed up. After all, this can happen as long as there is a human element involved, right?

The truth is that the choice is yours as to when you get married. You can marry him before Basic Military Training or after BMT and when he has completed all of his initial schools like A-School.

Now, please allow me to advise you about what new spouses say worked best for them. Keep in mind that many servicemembers have spouses and children before they join, so getting married before will not be an obstacle to joining.

Most new spouses say it was less stressful to get married after the servicemember completed basic and other initial schools.

Either way (before or after basic), your husband will need to talk to his administration section and show his marriage license to them. He will also have to show the same information to the DEERS office on base/post so you will be eligible for a military ID card, health care (Tricare) etc.

The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is a computerized database of military sponsors, families and others worldwide who are entitled under the law to Tricare benefits. Your husband is automatically enrolled. You will be eligible as the wife of a servicemember. and have all kinds of information and ideas for MILSOs, finances, partners and new military spouses so keep visiting the sites.

Ms. Vicki


Dear Readers,

Remember when you and your partner were thinking of getting married? Did you decide to marry before or after you joined? Do you wish you had waited? Or are you glad you married when you did? I’m looking forward to reading your comments below.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.