Marry a guy in uniform and you think that you are getting a guy ... wearing a uniform. I mean, seriously, how different can it be from marrying someone without a military uniform?
Still, at our last Spouse Experience at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina a group of military newlyweds told us about how surprised they were after the wedding. It's the little things in life that make the big difference.
Most Surprising Things for Military Newlyweds1. How they strip as they walk around the house. Marines walk in the door fully clothes and as they move through house bits of their paraphernalia drops off their body. According to the newlyweds who wrote our list picking up the clothes trail is totally worth the reward at the end.
2. You need a military dictionary to talk to your own husband. One of the spouses told us "I thought 'Charlie' was a guy, not a uniform!" Imagine her surprise.
3. How much spousal support is available. Marry a regular civilian joe and you are pretty much on your own. Marry a servicemember and you have piles of support should you choose to use it. Surprise!
4. The epic disorganization of an organization that prides itself on being organized. This isn't just true of the Corps, folks. How is it that a military that prides itself on the order of their uniforms and the snappiness of their formations can't seem to find an important "sensitive" item (LIKE A GUN!) to the point that they have to spend five days in lock down?
5. You need your servicemember (or a paper -- a "power of attorney" -- saying they're cool with you representing them) for EVERYTHING. The newlyweds who wrote our list said that they walked into their marriages as the kind of people who had their own jobs, their own cars, their own apartments, their own taxes. So it's surprising how they need their servicemember (and his SSN) to do anything with the military.
6. How weird I am when I'm left alone. You remember being a military newlywed, don't ya? You went from busy bee worker girl to solo, jobless, friendless, new-duty-station-dweller. And in your solitude you discovered one overwhelming truth: you are a weirdo.
7. How expensive it is to go the ball. This isn't just true for the Marines, either. "I mean, they've seen his LES, haven't they?" asked one young wife.
8. How many hours a day they devote to work, and video games. And why is it that they want to play video games that are basically just a virtual version of their job?
9. How he can be a tough servicemember at work but a big teddy bear at home. We didn't just marry that fella for his rock hard abs and ability to yell.
10. How I am no longer surprised at the quirks of military life. It took a few months, but the spouses who wrote our list said stuff just no longer surprises them.
What surprised you most about military life?