If you’ve been a long time reader of mine, then you may know that my husband is in the Marine Corps. I really don’t talk about it much these days (if ever) simply because it’s just not a huge part of my life and we’re quite disconnected from this lifestyle at this point as well. We try to keep our life separate from the military as much as possible. So I just don’t talk about it a whole lot.
But a little background for those of you who are newer around here: Zack’s been in since 2010 and I’ve been on this journey with him since 2013. We were stationed in North Carolina at the time and still to this day call North Carolina our home (although we’re both originally from Southern Maine). In 2014, Zack decided to reenlist in the Marine Corps for 4 more years and it’s been pure chaos and hell ever since. There’s no nicer way to say that. It’s been pretty horrible to say the least. But we reenlisted for a few reasons:
First, we weren’t in a place financially to get out at that point. We were 22 at the time and I still had some debts to pay off and we very much wanted to be prepared in that sense.
Second, I was still in school at the time as well and I really wanted to complete my bachelors degree before he got out too. That way I’d be all set and ready to start my career once we were settled in our long time home (of course this plan has shifted quite a bit since having Allie, but that was our basic though process back then).
And third, we were given the amazing opportunity to move to Okinawa, Japan and we thought it would be a great adventure for the two of us as newlyweds . . . so we reenlisted (and as some of you may not know, that “dream move” to Japan didn’t happen for me. The Marine Corps changed their minds at the last minute and wouldn’t let me accompany him . . . ).
Related: When The Military Ruins Everything
In the past almost 5 years that we’ve been married, we’ve endured almost 2 years worth of separation, 12 months of separation across two different continents, holidays spent away from family, holidays spent away from each other, overnight work nights, conflicting work schedules, missed dinners, very few days off together, 4+ moves, a new baby, and way too many other things to even name.
I’m thankful to have missed his deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, but our first almost 5 years of marriage haven’t been the easiest and we sure as hell never had a honeymoon phase. To be honest, at this point we’re just exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally.
When we decided to start our family, we discussed the life we’d want for our future kids, career aspirations, where we wanted to be living, etc. And military life wasn’t in that picture. Zack had toyed with the idea at one point of possibly going reserves, but at the end of the day, we’re pretty much just done with military life completely.
While I know some families absolutely love military life and all it has to offer, it’s just not the life we’re wanting for our family or for our marriage. I don’t want to be a solo parent. I don’t want to constantly be having to explain to Allie where her daddy is and I certainly don’t want to ever have to explain to her why he’s not coming home. We don’t want our marriage to come second to his career. He doesn’t want to miss out on Allie’s childhood or holidays or birthdays and everything else he’s constantly missing in our everyday life. We don’t want her to constantly be moving from place to place and never have the opportunity to actually make some long term friends. And the two of us are desperately wanting to buy a house and create a stable life for her. To us, this lifestyle just isn’t family-friendly (although some families may disagree with this statement) and it’s been quite the strain on our marriage as well. So we’re feeling very confident in our decision to move on from it.
Related: I Don’t Want To Be A Military Spouse
As of right now, Zack’s contract is up on December 1st, 2018 and we plan to start driving back to Maine the first week of October. We’re very fortunate that Zack will be able to have a couple months off where he can relax a bit while still getting paid until his contract is up so we’ll be using that time to our advantage in terms of figuring out our next move. We honestly don’t have too much of a plan in place for after Zack gets out. So I can’t update you all in that aspect right now. We always dreamed of moving back to North Carolina, buying a home and officially settling down there so I’d love to make that work out. I know Zack wants to go back to school as well. But for now, we’re taking it one day at a time.
We are SO excited (but also very stressed) about this next chapter for our little family and as always, we will keep you all updated as we get closer to this transition.
Has your family ever transitioned from military life? How did it go? Any tips?