Dear Ms. Vicki,
I was recently engaged to a soldier. He was a civilian when we started dating and left for Basic Training shortly after.
I feel a little out of the loop when we talk or when he comes home because he uses all these Army terms that I don't quite understand. I try to learn but can't quite seem to get it right.
I feel like I annoy him after I ask him to explain something to me for the fifth time or when I'm near dumbfounded when he tells me time in military time. I know it's not that hard to learn, but I don't seem to catch on very well.
Also, I feel like I stress him out because we are having a courtroom "I do" and waiting to have a real wedding.
The problem with this is that we both want to hurry and get it done so I can move on post, but he never has time to fill out the absentee application. And when he comes home, it's only on the days the courtroom is closed.
I feel it stresses us both out, mainly him, because we are so far apart. With us being away from each other so early into the almost-married life, it's hard to communicate and tell each other what we want and what we need to get done because we hardly have 10 minutes in the day to talk.
I don't know if it will be the same when I do move on post, but at least I would get to see him.
We are both fairly young and I'll admit we are moving a bit fast, but I have no doubt in my mind that this is the man I want to be with.
I guess my plethora of concerns would all lead down to what am I to expect? Can I be a stay-at-home mom and still live comfortably on an Army salary? Will things get any easier with time? How can I bring up subjects that I need reassurance on to him without stressing him out?
-- New to the Military
Dear New to the Military,
Your fiancé is in a new environment. Because you are both living away from each other right now, that adds to the stress and anxiety of the unknown.
Stress and anxiety can lead to communication problems such as arguments and a short temper.
I can gather from the tone of your letter that you are both getting on each other’s nerves.
Now, I have to be honest with you. This is a very stressful time for you and your fiancé, but perhaps this train is moving a little too fast, given that so many things are going on right now.
Just because you get married doesn’t mean that you will have a lot of time together. Young soldiers work a lot of hours. You might benefit from slowing down.
Here are three more things you should know before you become a new military spouse:
1. Military ID Card and DEERS: The administrative section of his unit can provide direction for your husband to get you an ID card. There will be an ID card office on post/or base.
You must have an ID card before being registered in DEERS, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. DEERS is a worldwide, computerized database of uniformed service members (sponsors), their family members and others who are eligible for military benefits, including Tricare (health care).
2. Your First Move or Relocation: You can find out about every military base or post, to include phone numbers about important resources such as on base housing etc. on Military.com or by visiting the base website online.
You will be able to learn about life on base and information about the surrounding community. You will be leaving your family, but you will be gaining more friends and family than you ever had before.
3. Talk About Finances: It’s good that you are asking about your fiancé’s salary now. Find the military pay calculator here.
Military family service centers are staffed with professionals who can help you establish a budget, find ways to save money and start investments.
With that said, you should also discuss if the plan is for you to be a stay-at-home wife, work outside of the home, continue your education etc.
Marrying into the military is a big step. Take your time and make smart choices.
-- Ms. Vicki