When your significant other signs up for the military you feel a whirlwind of emotions—or at least I did. I’ll be the first to say: it’s nothing at all what I expected. It’s not easy, but it’s not always hard. Nothing is black and white; it’s all in this gray area of unknown. You feel proud that your S.O. has made this sacrifice for our country, serving their time for a greater good. Yet at the same time, there are things that you didn’t think you’d ever have to do.
Here are 4 things I wish someone would have told me before becoming a MILSO:
1. Nothing is ever set in stone.
The Marine Corps has this saying, “hurry up & wait!” There is no truer statement than that one right there. Both of you get so ready for something whether it’s The Marine Corps Ball, his deployment date, or his date of coming home FINALLY, and it all can change in the blink of an eye. Nothing is ever permanent.
That being said, there are times where you’re balling your eyes out from a deployment he just found out about, to then—in the matter of days—joyfully jumping up and down because he finds out he just missed the cut-off date. You need to prepare yourself for nothing and everything all at the same time. He knows just as much as you do: a little of something next to nothing.
2. He may have signed the contract, but as a MILSO your name is on there too.
When he signs that dotted line, pledging his sacrifice for his country for X amount of years, you’re doing the same. You may not be the one putting on the uniform, holding the rifle, or being away from home, but you are going through it too. You hear first-hand everything they’re going through and you feel the same pain, if not worse, than they’re feeling. The worst part: you are helpless.
3. A MILSO sacrifices things, just as he does.
You sacrifice being away from the one you love the most. You sacrifice time you’ll never get back. You sacrifice the future that is now unknown. While you’re not the one that has the title Marine, Soldier, or Sailor, you are the one behind the scenes that goes through it right along with them.
4. You have to be his rock, his family’s rock, and your own.
He needs you. You have to be there. Always. There are no times where you get to cop out because you’re tired of being the strong one. While that sounds harsh, it’s the truth of being in a relationship with someone in the military. He’s just as tired, and needs you to be the one he leans on.
You are also his family’s rock. They know you’re the one he talks to the most. So, you’ll be the one to relay the message of how he’s doing constantly. His family will rely on you to pick him up when he’s down and be there when they can’t be.
Last, but not least, you have to be your own rock. You have to learn how to be independent and strong on your own two feet. He won’t always be there to coddle you or tell you everything’s going to be okay—you have to do that for yourself.
Now that I’ve probably scared you out of being in a relationship, let alone a MILSO in the first place, you should know there is so much good that outweighs the bad.
That feeling that you get when you finally get to see each other again–it’s butterflies every single time!
The cherished FaceTime sessions you once took for granted before. Any time you get to talk is so very valuable!
Everything is so different and looked at with a new perspective: You respect each other more, appreciate each other more, and above all else you love each other more. If the two of you are best friends before the military, then the military is only going to make you have a closer, stronger bond.
Always remember why you’re together in the first place and never lose sight of that. <3