Marriage Advice from Mom about Military Life

Leslie, Mom, and me 50th Wedding Anniversary

When I told my mom I was marrying a military man, she made me make her a promise. She didn’t know my husband very well then. But she did know ME. I feel very fortunate to receive marriage advice from my mom.

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wedding-ring Marriage Advice from Mom about Military Life

Marriage Advice from Mom

There is no shortage of websites, TV programs, or self-help books on marriage.  Well-meaning friends offer up marriage advice like candy. But the best source of marriage advice– advice on anything really– is always going to be my mom.

She was a military spouse, and she is still happily married after almost 55 years.

Mom said the military would find ways to separate us and our family. She said it was the nature of serving– it wasn’t personal. However, the military makes decisions based on its missions and goals. It has no interest in what’s best for family cohesiveness or marriage longevity.

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My mom’s marriage advice is simple. There were going to be long days and long nights. Lots of training exercises (planned and unplanned) and the dreaded ‘D’ aka deployments.

Weddings are not marriages. Neither is the size of the ring. I have known many people who had elaborate weddings that cost thousands of dollars. Steven and I eloped at the Justice of the Peace in 1995. We are still together, but many of my friends are not.

The Promise I Made

One of the best pieces of marriage advice my mom told me was if I could go with him— go. She knew that moving was not the same as traveling. And she made me promise that no matter where the Army sent him if I could go, I would. She said as long as I did that, we could work on everything else. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t know how huge a commitment this would be. But I said ok.

My mother said distance caused most divorces. Because time and distance DID NOT make the heart grow fonder. Instead, she said it was the exact opposite.

Unfortunately, many of her girlfriends realized TOO LATE that absence DOES NOT make the heart grow fonder. And you should never underestimate your husband or other women…especially if you have a good man.

Don’t Let Another Woman in Your Kitchen

The same stresses, isolation, and environment that facilitated camaraderie among soldiers, made it easier for the same soldier to drop their guard with the opposite sex. And let them into their mind, their thoughts, their heart, and eventually their bed.

She also said that just because I was there didn’t mean he wouldn’t cheat. But it would make it harder. She said that women fall in love with a man, thinking they can change him, but men fall in love with a woman they never want to change.

Queen for a Year

And as you’d expect, divorce is slightly higher in the military than in the civilian world. I don’t know if cheating is, but we all know it is a highly testosterone-charged environment. Men outnumber women significantly in places like South Korea; certain women take full advantage of that. As a matter of fact, women are referred to as “Queen for a Year” because of it.

It’s Not Easy, But it’s Worth it

She said marriage is not easy. Many people aren’t willing to put in the effort it takes to make it work. And EVENTUALLY, it wouldn’t just be about me and him. It would be about OUR kids, OUR finances, OUR jobs, OUR extended families. But mostly about OUR expectations for OUR future, we needed to keep on the same page. And that we needed to make sure that the “OURS” aligned.

Her marriage advice was simple. She said I needed to be sure that this guy was THE GUY.

It’s been more than 22 years since my mom started giving me marriage advice. She continues to be the source of marriage advice I’ve ever found. And now I’m sharing it with YOU.

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    1. duffelbagspouse

      They are wise women with tons of life experiences. Hopefully and with great care, I can have half the love your parents and my parents have.

  1. Leslie Hernandez

    Your mom gave you some great advice. Marriage in general takes a lot of work and dedication. I am not a Military wife but I know how tough that can be. I hubby is in Law enforcement although is not the same it does some similarity.

  2. TColeman

    This is such great advice from a military spouse. I have not had to go through these things but I know people that have either lasted or faltered because of the military deployments. Definitely takes as much communication as you can and lots of trust in the person you are with.

  3. Heather

    Great advice! We’ve been married for almost 12 years and while not every year is fabulous, it’s the overall big picture that keeps us smiling everyday. It takes work on both parts.

  4. Shannon

    Your mom offered some really wonderful advice- both for military couples AND for those who aren’t in the military! Communication is such a large part of every relationship! I love her advice!

  5. Rachel

    THat is some beautiful and honest advice your mom had. You are so lucky that she was willing and able to talk so freely with you about marriage and the struggles.

  6. Cat

    Sounds like you two have a very loving and respectable relationship. My family has not provided a good example of working marriages, but have come into my own advice over the years. Loved reading what you learned from your mum!

  7. Blythe Alpern

    I applaud anyone who can live the military life. It’s hard to move around and not know where your next home will be. I honestly don’t think it is something I could do.

  8. Jean

    Mothers totally have the best advice. It was good that she was able to offer it to you, having been in the same position. All marriages are testing, but I’m sure it is very much so with one of you in the military.

  9. Jessica Joachim

    I feel like advice from mom is always good advice. Every marriage can be hard, and i could not imagine being a military spouse. I think the key to a good marriage is communication.

  10. Jessica Terry

    Marriage is hard work. Without communication and honesty, it doesn’t take much for a marriage to fall apart quickly. Your mother has some great advice. Military life is not for the faint of heart and I commend anyone who sticks with it and makes it work 🙂

  11. Jessica Terry

    Beautiful advice coming from your mother! Having a spouse in the military can be a tough on a marriage, but love is the most important aspect.

  12. Terri Steffes

    What an awesome mom! I bet you she does remember that conversation! Dang those women, any way. It’s hard enough to keep a marriage sacred without other women sabotaging it.

  13. AnnMarie John

    Marriage is definitely not a walk in the park, that’s something that I’ve proven throughout the years. If you’re not strong enough, it will definitely falter. I think these are brilliant and true to the core.

  14. Cassie

    What beautiful advice your mother has here. I love hearing other peoples experiences and life lessons – it helps us all grow. I can only imagine that marriage has it’s ups and downs but worthwhile if you find the right person to do it all with!

  15. Jeanine

    Marriage can be tough but it takes honesty, communication and trust. The same key elements are important even while dating before marriage. Military life can be hard on family and marriage because the job comes first.

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