Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Top 3 Military Fiancé Survival Tips!

I don’t claim to be an expert in Army affairs, but I do have experience in what it’s like to date and be engaged to the military. Two and a half years ago I met my hero and delved into a whole new world: the U.S. Military. At times it feels like limbo: you’ll be official in the foreseeable future, but at the same time, you can’t claim dependency or even get on base without being escorted by your service man or woman. However, “limbo” is the ideal time to become comfortable with the military life, before the craziness of dealing with TRICARE and PCSing starts.

This may sound cliché, but my biggest piece of advice to another military girlfriend or fiance is to be your own advocate. No one is going to do the work for you. I first began learning through stories my now fiancé, Austin, would tell me of his own experiences. Even now, every time he speaks about work, I try to remember what he's saying so that i can learn and be aware of what's going on in the near future.

I’ve also been doing my own research, and I consider myself a self-appointed student of the Army. I’ve checked out online books like Married to the Military: A Survival Guide for Military Wives, Girlfriends, and Women in Uniform or The Military Marriage Manual, among others. I also visit official military websites. What has been most helpful are military wives’ blogs that tell me first-hand what life is like in the military world as the significant other.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to reach out to your soldier’s FRG for support and friendship. You might be surprised at how welcome you feel. If you aren't comfortable doing that join an online support group.

Despite living states away from Austin’s post and not being married yet, I’ve never felt disconnected from the military family. This was especially important when he first left 2 October's ago.

Finally, if you don’t live close to the base, seek out support from others in the community who do have a military affiliation. I have three friends in my area who are retired Army wives and they have been a godsend. They all are much older than me, but having mentors is important. The wisdom and guidance they give are even better than words in a book, and I look forward to carrying on their legacy and positive attitudes.

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