Dear Ms. Vicki,
I have been a Marine for three years, and I’ve been dating a great girl since high school.
I have to admit, I’m pretty comfortable with the way things are for now. We see each other twice a month because my girlfriend lives about two hours from where I’m stationed.
She’s a senior in college working on a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She wants to go to graduate school and pursue theater arts and I’m behind her 100 percent. She knows I want to make a career as a Marine.
I’m wondering if I should pop the question to my girlfriend? Just ask her to marry me and then say “I do” shortly after because I don’t want to have a long engagement.
I get a kick out of the guys in my shop talking and saying they have terrible marriages. They say things like how the wife only gives them a $20 weekly allowance. Or how they have to share all of their passwords to their email and Facebook accounts. Or how they need permission to hang out with the guys.
It sounds crazy to me. I want to show them that a young Marine can have a good relationship, a good marriage.
We read your advice at work so I would like to know what you think about my situation.
Whaz-up, Number One Shawn!
I love a letter from a Marine who reads my advice with other guys at work in the shop. It will be interesting what you and your fellow Marines will say about my advice.
Let me get right to the point: You are a valiant guy to have a desire to set a good example for a good marriage.
I have to be clear, the complaining Marines should “grab some” you-know-what and tell their wives “You won’t put me on a weekly allowance like a 12-year-old boy.”
And “I won’t ask for permission to leave the house and hang out with the guys.”
But it is not your job to lead the way on this effort like an Army Pathfinder. If your co-workers are not happy, they have to be responsible and change the course of their marriage with therapy, counseling, etc.
In your situation, my grandmother would say, “Misery loves company.” The guys in your shop can’t wait for you to say “I do” because they will bombard you with all of the terrible parts of a marriage you should look forward to.
All humor aside, let's get back to your original question. Should you pop the question? Let me be honest. I don’t think you should ask her to marry you right now.
It appears that you both have a lot going on. You are still new in your career. I’m sure you know that the Marine Corps is downsizing.
With that said, suppose you get released next year? What will you do then?
Your girlfriend seems to be passionate about fine arts and theater. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it won’t translate well for a Marine spouse.
What’s her plan? Does she want to be an actress, a writer, help with Broadway plays, be a producer, or is she a musician? I just don’t see that passion working at Twentynine Palms or Camp Lejeune or Parris Island or Okinawa. She would be miserable.
Maybe she wants to be a teacher. Yet music and theater programs are basically nonexistent in primary and secondary school. I think your girlfriend needs (and deserves) every opportunity to discover who she is and where her passion will take her. You should do the same.
Let me also say this: You didn’t say you were madly in love with this girl and you can’t live without her. You said she was a girlfriend since high school. I’m thinking maybe that’s all this is.
Shawn, you don’t owe this nice young girl anything. You can keep it moving and see where life takes you. When you meet the lady you can’t live without, ask her to marry you.
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki