I am 24, College educated but not graduated, work experience,engaged to be married, a committed Christian. 

I am considering joining the Army for three reasons, Patriotism, history of family, and my soon to be wife. Now my fiancee' will support me in anything to picking up trash to going to war, if its what God wants and I'm happy she is game.

My Fiancee' is a strong woman but needs to be emotionally connected at all times.

If I join the Army which I have considered for about ten years; is it wise on the bases of wanting to start a marriage and latter have kids?

I would love to hear thoughts of those who are or were married in times of service.

Thank you

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Well, Im going to give you some advice coming from a military kid.  Everyone and every relationship is different, always remember that.  My father was a career Marine (22 years) and now works for NASA.  My parents were married for 25 years and recently divorced.  First off, if youre going to do 10, might as well do 20 years and get a good retirement (I recently read the military is going to start offering retirement after 15 years, just a lower retirement, obviously).

My parents divorce has many reasons, but the main reason (I believe) is that for 20+ years my dad would be gone for 6 months at a time, or 6 weeks here, or 8 weeks there.  Over time, this got my dad in a routine.  He would come home, spend time with us, do a normal 7am-4pm.  Then he'd leave and be with only his Marine buddies for a few months and when hed come back, it was almost as if "family-life" was to much for him.  He was always stressed, never seemed happy and ALWAYS took it out on us.  Now, like I said, everyone is different and your job in the military can be a factor.  But now Im older and just from talking to my mom, it wasnt just my dad that was like this, other Marines and their families had the same problem.  My dad was just a little more of an extreme case, I wont go into details.  But the older I got as a kid, the more and more he distanced himself from his family.  Now Im 27, my father and I have a terrible relationship, hes divorced and is alone.  He still talks to me like I am that 9 year old kid he had complete control over and sitting him down and talking to him about it does nothing.  He has always, and always will have, the mindset that he is the smartest person on the planet and no one can tell him any different.

My other point is the control factor.  You have a certain amount of control the longer you're in the military and when you come home, you expect the same respect from your family that you get from the military.  Well, when you have 3 children under the age of 10, you're just not going to get that same respect.  Because, well, they're children.  A lot of military members don't know how to separate the 2, and this is another cause of my parents divorce.  My dad retired from the Marines in 1998, and has since been working at NASA.  He makes right under 100K a year, and my mom was making 50K at her job.  Living in Florida, 150K a year puts you a leg up compared to a lot of other people in our area.  My dad still had that control, he desperately craves it and wouldn't let my mom buy work clothes, groceries, or anything really unless she first ran it by him and he approved her purchase.  He is extremely frugal about money, so I know for a fact they've never been in debt, so his attitude towards money has always been a huge strain in my parents relationship, and finally my parents divorced.  

Like I said, everyone is different.  My girlfriends father is retired Army and has a great relationship with his children, but thats mainly because he spoiled his children while they were growing up, but he and his wife are divorced as well, but for a whole different reason.  I was in the Air Force for 6 years and hated it.  I loved my job and what I did, but everyone around me was negative.  Constant negativity in the household when I was a kid, then in the Air Force, and I had had enough.  Don't get me wrong, I traveled the world as a kid, went to a bunch of amazing places and saw a bunch of amazing things.  I always had great health care, friends in the same circumstance as me, but I would trade it all to have a half decent relationship with my father.  Also, growing up as a military kid, I now find myself sometimes getting bored extremely quickly with things.  I moved every 2-4 years growing up, so now I feel like I have this mindset.  I live in an area now where there is no military presence and I just find it hard meeting people and finding any common ground.  

I've given you mostly the negative, and I do apologize for that.  But I feel as if you need to hear the negatives, but the positives can always be bent to outshine the negatives.

I'm not gonna be much help on the family side of things, My grandfather and some uncles served but I didn't grow up around it. My advice is more from the faith side. You're a committed Christian, and if that means the same thing for you that it does for me, you probably value God's plan for your life higher than your own. Do you feel like choosing a career in the military is God's calling for you? If so, answer the call. Pray about it, with your parents, your pastor, your fiancee, and search for God's answer. Lean on the Rock, He'll keep you where He wants you to be.

What do you want/expect/feel called to do in the Army?

Healthcare.  Having not worried about healthcare for the last 14 years has been a huge relief to me.  You never know when things may go south.  One day you're blessed with a healthy 10lb baby boy, 3 days later, he's got meningitis.  When those $25k and $75k hospital bills start rolling in, it's a great relief knowing that you're not paying for them.

As for marriage, I'm on my 2nd.  Both spouses realize the commitment I serve and understand the hardship of deployment.  They have taken it in stride and have ensured that my kids and I stay close with frequent communication.  I say go for it.

It's nice to hear of tax money going where it should. And thank you.

My Fiancee' is a strong woman but needs to be emotionally connected at all times.

Forget the Army.  Or, forget her.  I'd lay money you won't have both for very long.

If I join the Army which I have considered for about ten years;

You'll regret it more if you don't join the Army.

The divorce rate for military members is significantly higher than for non-military. I served (retired a few years ago) in the military and never married because I saw what it did to my parents and us as a family and I knew that I didn't want to put my kids through what I lived through. Several times my mother was pretty much a single mother for over a year while my father was overseas and there were a ton of shorter (6 months or so) periods when he was away at training or short term TDY while my mother was left with 6 kids to take care of, and she didn't have her license.
I'm not saying it can't be done, as my uncle and aunt have shown it can, but it is extremely hard especially with a war going on. Your wife would have to be an exceptionally strong woman to deal with your absence, taking care of a house, taking care of the kids, managing the money, etc. Basically she would be a single mother when you're gone. And then there's the worries of you even coming back, you know, training accidents and all that. It's worse than being a cop as the cop at least gets home most nights.


If you choose your career based on what your wife/fiancee' wants and not what you want you will end up hating yourself and resenting her. If you wait until you are ready to have kids you never will. The military is what you make of it. I know people that are in serial marriages, and I know people that have served and been married to the same woman forever. Ultimately.....no one here knows you, your fiancee, or what you want out of life.


We are all different.  Some people hate the military and some people love it.  What is important is that you love your wife, that she loves you, and she will stand with you as you pursue the goals that are important to you.  She deserves the same in return.  No matter what your career in life is, we each need to put just as much and more time into our marriages as we give to our occupations.  Always work towards that and I am sure you will both be happy no matter what you decide to do.


He said he is 24 in the OP.

Really considering going for it. I just want to make sure my soon to be wife will be ok.

We are strong people and committed to our Lord Jesus the Christ. I know we will be but the fear will it always be there?

Brother, I'm struggling with the Same thing right now!  I'm 23, I've been accepted to medical school and I've always (as long as I can remember) wanted to serve in the military.  The HPSP scholarship offers a full ride through med school plus $2,000 monthly stipend and I'll be a captain after residency.  I'll have a 4 year obligation after residency.  My fiancee supports me in whatever I choose.  I've worked like crazy to get this scholarship and now my physical exam with the army is on 11/27/12.  

Problem:  I have a major case of cold feet with this 12 year commitment!!! After med school, residency, and 4 year obligation I'll be 36 when I finish my minimum.  I have a great family and a farm in West Virginia and I just don't know if it's right to have my unborn kids away from family and stability until the oldest is around 7 or 8.  

I'm losing sleep and I have no appetite! What should I do?


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