Most of you who read my blog on a regular basis (or know me in real life) probably have known about The Warrior’s deployment. (More on that another day!) After he got his official orders, he had many of his fellow officers and even commanders saying to him, “And WHY are you not getting married before deployment??” He broached the subject with me, we discussed it, and I mulled it over. I had to write out the pros and cons to this plan – and as I found, there were no cons. It was all positive!
So very soon before his deployment, we went to the county clerk’s office, got our marriage license, and made things official with the state! For all legal and military-related purposes, we are married! I want to stress that since we are Catholic, we DO understand and believe that in the eyes of God and the Church, we are still engaged, so living together is still “not kosher.” However, since he will be in Afghanistan for many months (and we will be getting “church married” swiftly after his return) that obviously isn’t possible anyway.
After that, I enrolled in DEERS/Tricare, got my DoD military dependent ID card, and got DoD decals on my car. So at this point, I can *officially* say I am an Army wife! :)
Many civilian friends and family may be shocked by this news (our parents certainly were at first!) but as I began telling my military wife contacts, I got reactions like “Oh yeah, my husband and I did the same thing!” and “I was wondering if you guys would end up doing that!” The Warrior’s co-workers and advisors also heartily approved. It just makes logical sense, and if I can be completely blunt, we did it for two reasons: 1) for financially-beneficial reasons, and 2) so I can be better connected during this deployment.
The financial reasons are numerous: separation pay, higher housing allowance, I can get on Tricare (health insurance), filing 2013 taxes together, etc. We also had the uncomfortable but necessary conversation about what will happen if he does not return from war: since we have been planning on marrying right after he returns, he wanted to make sure that if, God forbid, he is killed in action, that I am taken care of.
Regarding connectedness, those points are numerous as well. The first one that comes to mind is the fact that I am the first point of contact should ANYTHING bad happen to him. It gives me comfort that the military recognizes us as married and that I will know right away if anything is wrong. I also have access to benefits that non-married significant others do not have access to, such as DoD and USAA resources and job opportunities that target military spouses. Right after The Warrior returns, we’ll have our wedding, go on our honeymoon, and almost immediately move to his next assignment (out of state). I will, of course, need a job – so being able to connect with potential employers in that state as a spouse, several months before arriving, will give me the upper hand. And with my student loan debt, this is a VERY smart move.
After I became an Army wife, I began to realize just how expansive this life really is! It even felt overwhelming. However, I am SO glad that I can explore the official side of things now and get a grip on that. After all, learning how to live together and BE married is a huge task in itself, not to mention having a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) thrown into the mix! The less craziness at that time, the better.
So that is what’s been going on in my new Army wife life recently! :) If any of you are having trouble processing what I just told you, think of it this way: when two people get married, there’s the legal side and there’s the religious/ceremonial side. We just decided to separate the two parts, since it behooved our deployment situation!
I don’t want to be long-winded, but I have a couple more things to add. Since getting married, two military-related opportunities happened. First of all, I am the new Blog Assistant for the Army Wife Network! Being part of the core team has already been a fabulous experience and I am so thankful for these ladies. I am also looking forward to spreading the AWN message of positively empowering Army wives! The second opportunity just came up this week, and I am going to be a blogger for the organization Blue Star Families! It is a five month assignment, one post per week, and I will be focusing on everything deployment related. So, since I am gaining more professional visibility in the military wife world, I am going to start using The Warrior’s real (first) name in my posts. Please stay tuned for my first BSF post on Thursday! :)