Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Advice for the Millennial Military Spouse

We are the generation our parents love to complain about. How does our generation view the military and military life differently? How does it affect us as military spouses?

This is not the same military that your Grandparents or parents were in. 

For better or worse the military has changed with the world around it. 

The draft has not been used since the Vietnam war and a very tiny portion of the United States actively serves in the armed forces. 

I say this because the stereotypes of military spouses you used to see in the movies are not relevant anymore. Many spouses are college educated, employed, pursuing an education and or raising a family. 

We are a more diverse group than ever before, trust me when I say you will find your group in the military world.

You will be in the minority of our generation 

   According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2014 only 26% of our generation between the age of 18-32 is married. In comparison, 48% of the Baby Boomer generation were married between the ages of 18-32. There are many reasons why this has changed over the years including longer life expectancy, financial strains, etc. 

   However, we do not see these same trends among military couples. Over 55% of active duty military members are married. (Source: ArmyOneSource) In a separate research study the average age of when military members were married was 22. (Source: Science Daily)

   Military members marry young for many reasons. Since marriage is a personal matter I won't comment on why you should or shouldn't marry young. However, the only piece of advice I can give is to be 1000% that the ring on your finger is from the person you want to spend your life with. 

Be careful who you take advice from

   I'm aware that this statement is ironic in a blog post about advice. However, military life is a different experience for everyone. Deployments, bases, units, etc. are all different for everyone. 

   I asked a million questions in the beginning of our relationship and I'd say about 60% of the time it was sound advice.Some people hate posts and some people love them. Some people have strong marriages while others aren't sure why they even dated in the first place. 

  The one quote that constantly goes through my head is, "Don't take advice from someone you wouldn't want to trade places with."

   Know that most of the answers you will find from people are 30% fact and 70% personal experience. "Experience is the best teacher," but does not always correlate to other people's unique situations. 

Embrace every opportunity 

   Yes, Fort Sill doesn't have the best reputation. But, if you do end up there the burgers from Meers alone make it worth it. Also being so close to Dallas and OKC aren't too bad either. Deployments aren't fun but you have been given the opportunity to learn something new, travel, start a blog, etc.

   Sometimes it takes what we assume to be a crappy situation to truly learn that we can buckle down and make it something positive.

    Our generation is notoriously negative. Sure, it could be the insane debt gifted from the generation before us, a crummy job market, etc. etc. 

    A more positive outlook at this crazy military life is a heck of a lot better than a negative one. We are the newest generation of military spouses. 

   Although we are very different from those who have come before us, we have the same opportunity to make our experience as a military spouse a great one!


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