Our Family’s Transition from Service Member to Civilian

When I first met my fiancé, he was very straightforward that his career was the military.

At the time, I had no idea truly what that meant and tried to do what I think most of us have done: hold on tight and enjoy the ride. In that time, we have gotten excited about the idea of traveling to different duty stations and experiencing life together.

Fast forward four years, his reenlistment time has come and gone and we are now faced with the uncertainty and anxiety that now surrounds his decision to get out of the military. While we know that this will be a good change for us and his career, the fear that is coming with him getting out of the service is something that we cannot ignore. I believe that most military significant others hear the constant battle that our loved ones go through of whether or not to reenlist.

Now that it has been decided that he is ending his time in the service and beginning his new chapter, we are experiencing the struggles that many others have gone through before us.

We are using this time to truly decide where we want to settle down and where to begin our lives together. We have been blessed with friends who have already gotten out and experienced the odd, but exhilarating transition back to civilian life.

In the five years that my fiancé has been in the service, we have seen the joy and excitement that our friends have had going back to civilian life and being closer to family and friends again. We have seen the struggles of our friends finding a purpose and career in the civilian life and we have seen the many successes come out of this journey as well. We know that our life will be forever changed, but we are choosing to look at this opportunity as a glass half full.

In all honesty, if I had a nickel for every time we had an argument about his decision to get out of the service I could purchase a brand new car. Being a planner, this was definitely a wrench in our life plan that we had talked about since we met. Mind you, I am not blind to the fact that life does not go the way you plan it; especially being with someone who is in the military you can never put anything down on a calendar or plan out events. I know many of my anxieties that were surrounding him getting out were selfish, but I still have some reservations about it. We are choosing to move forward and take on this next chapter of life head on. I will not miss the long training days or the deployments. I will not miss the constant questions from our families in regards to his career or the various duty locations that he could be moved to.

As we are getting closer to our wedding and his final days in the service (they are one month exactly apart) we are gearing up for me being the sole bread winner in our household until he finds a job and has figured out truly what he wants to do with his life post military. While this change does give me the opportunity to have my career be a larger player in our relationship, I am still attempting to figure out what it is exactly that I want to do long term. This time has truly been trying on our relationship and myself personally have leaned on my family and friends more than ever with this huge change in our lives.

I am fully aware that my fiancé has many reservations about getting out of the service, a place he has called home for the past five years and has grown into the amazing man he is today. He is terrified of failure and regretting his decision. He is constantly second guessing this decision and leaning on friends who have left the service and are so thankful for their choice. He is choosing to apply with companies that have many of the same core values as the military, professionally and personally. He is choosing to utilize his strengths and continue serving our country, but in a way that he feels will better our life in the long run.

While this transition has been difficult to accept, it is definitely welcome at this point. I have come to understand my fiancé’s thought process behind wanting to get out of the service and his desire to provide for our future family. We had created a life surrounding the military and his career and we are now using our flexibility skills that have become so handy to adjust to the life outside. He has to learn that not everyone speaks solely in acronyms or can automatically figure out the 24-hour clock.

We are incredibly thankful for his time in the service and all of the amazing people we have met and become not just friends with but family. We have learned so many valuable lessons about relationships and compromise in such a rapid time that we will both take with us through the rest of our lives.

Connect with us on Facebook!