The Husband and I were married very young. We were high school sweethearts.
We were 19 and 20 when we got engaged and 20 and 21 when we were married.
I had never lived on my own, hadn't finished college, and had barely had anything that constituted a "real" job.
Our original plan when we got engaged was to move to Northern California to attend a Bible college where I would pursue a career as a youth pastor (Shocking... I know) and where The Husband would also pursue some sort of career in ministry.
Truth be told... I have no idea how we would have survived had that plan panned out, but I'm thankful it didn't.
About 8 months before our wedding, I got a phone call from The Husband, then The Fiance. He told me "We need to talk about something..."
Have you ever had one of those moments where you knew exactly what was going to happen before it did? Not deja vu, but a sense that you could predict the next few moments? I had that happen right then.
The Husband, then Fiance told me "I went to talk to a recruiter today."
I panicked. We had discussed him joining the Marine Corps at length while I was still in high school and both decided that if there was a draft (which was something that people thought would become a reality at the time), he would enlist before he was called up. It was our compromise. Our young, naive compromise.
But now, I knew he was serious. And our wedding was just 8 months away. And we had other plans. And I was NOT ready to be a military wife. I did not want him to go off to a war.
I was horrified. But this was something I knew he was passionate about. Once I calmed down enough to speak like a near-adult, I told him I would think about it.
I went to work the next morning in sweats (thank God I worked somewhere I could do that), because I was so depressed and worried about what this meant for us, for him, for me.
I spent countless hours online that week researching the military. Looking at pay, housing, health care, where the bases were located, how long he would be in, jobs he could do, birthday balls... birthday balls? I could like this.
Honest to God, the thing that changed my mind were the birthday balls.
Did I mention I was young? I was really young.
So fast-forward to November and here we are. He is officially a Marine and we are married (this happened on the same day, by the way, totally on accident).
I didn't know what I was doing. At all. I had no concept of OPSEC, wore my husband's dog tags, lived through his service, and quit school. I became a dependapotamus.
Eventually, I grew out of it. Thankfully, I was surrounded by people who were willing to lovingly show me the "way" and help me grow up a bit.
I won't lie to you: being a young wife is hard. Being a young military wife is even harder.
I know that it's common for military to marry young. Everyone only sees the romantic side of this life. Homecomings are becoming a huge TV thing. It's all happy tears and hugs and kisses.
But there's so much more to being a military spouse than that. This is a lifestyle. The Husband joining the Marine Corps didn't mean a job change, it meant a life change. And when you're young, it's sometimes hard to cope with all of those changes. I know it was for me.
You know the old Marine Corps recruiting poster that said "We don't promise you a rose garden"? It's true, they don't. This stuff is hard and if you're not expecting it, it will break you.
My tips? Find a good support system, stay open minded, stay flexible, and be secure in yourself!
This is tough, but worth it!