I participated in the Military Spouse linkup last year (even though I was a fiancee at the time), so this is my first time participating as an *official* military spouse! It’s a little ironic because this year, Military Spouse Appreciation Day falls the day after Andy and I celebrate our two year “knowing each other” anniversary (are we the only couple that celebrates that?!) and our 11 month wedding anniversary. If you would have asked me two years ago, I would be married, left my job in my hometown, and preparing for a move across the country, I would have said you were insane! I guess God just had a better plan in store than I had for myself 😉
For those of you who are new to my blog, I’m Bailey and my husband, Andy, is active-duty Army. He just celebrated his 5 year Army anniversary at the beginning of this month. He was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana (before we were married) for 3 years. Two weeks after we started dating, he re-enlisted for Fort Knox, Kentucky, to be near me and moved here in November 2015. Andy jokes that he re-enlisted for 3 years at Knox instead of the usual 4 just in case things didn’t work out between us. Clearly, he was wrong! 😉 In just a few months we will be PCSing to our next location for a 3 year Recruiting assignment– we already know where we’re going, but I won’t share publicly until Monday (after I tell my Mamaw in person) so check back on my blog on Monday to see where we’re going 😉
I would list my favorite things about being a military spouse, but it would honestly rehash the entire blog post I recently wrote called “Why I’m Grateful to Be a Military Spouse”. I would say my number one favorite thing about this lifestyle is that I get to do it with my husband. Andy and I met 3 years into his first enlistment, and to me so much of his character is entwined with the characteristics of a soldier. He loves serving his country, and I get to stand beside him and support him. We included in our wedding ceremony the Bible verse Ruth 1:16 “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” I can’t read or hear that verse without thinking of military life. We’re in this together, no matter what. That is sometimes the sole reason I put up with the tough times. Because he’s worth it 🙂
One of the prompts Jen and Amanda came up with today’s linkup is “advice for new (military) spouses.” Oh my! I am wholly unqualified to give advice since I still am a new spouse myself. I guess my biggest takeaways from the last 11 months are:
- There really is no way to prepare for a military marriage. I thought I knew what I was getting into before I got married– and was recently reminded of that by a few people– but there’s honestly no way to know exactly what it’s like until you are in that situation. And that’s okay. Don’t let people tell you “you can’t cut it” when you have no idea what it will be like until you’re in that situation.
- This lifestyle is not for everyone, and that’s okay. For some reason, I think of this Army life as a “forever and ever” thing, but in reality, it’s not. Andy has 4 years left on his contract, and at that point, if either one of us wants him to get out, he will. Even if he did stay in until retirement, that’s only 15 years of our marriage together (as he’s already served 5 years.) 4 or 15 years is a small speck of time when compared to (hopefully) 50+ years together. We married each other, not the Army.
- The military is not your identity. As stated above, the military is just a small part of your marriage, and therefore, just a small part of you. Yes, I’m an Army wife, but I’m also so much more. I’m a follower of Christ, a daughter, a sister, a dog-and-cat-momma, a friend, a Human Resources professional, a blogger, and a wannabe world traveler. Don’t let anyone say you are “just” a military spouse because you are so much more.
- Jump in feet first! I spent so much time in those first few weeks/months hiding in my house, afraid to befriend people because I’m shy. The ladies at my church have brought me out of my shell and I’m so thankful for that! With our upcoming move, I’m already looking into new churches and organizations to join. It helps that since my husband will be a Recruiter, he has to be involved in the community 😉
- If you’re a type-A personality like me, be prepared for plans to change! I hardly ever write anything Army-related in ink pen in my planner anymore, because things will change unexpectedly. (Like our surprise PCS this summer! Definitely didn’t see that one coming!) Whenever we make plans with our civilian friends or family, we usually let them know we may or may not be there since we can’t read the Army’s mind 😉
To my fellow military spouse friends, thank you for accepting me and for showing me grace throughout my missteps. I couldn’t do it without my “battle buddies” who have supported me along the way. And to my sweet husband, thanks for being worth it 🙂
If you’re a fellow military spouse, join in on Jen and Amanda’s linkup below!