What Happens if You Get Married While in the Military?

by | Military Finance | 1 comment

Thinking about tying the knot while serving in the military? It’s a life-changing decision that comes with unique considerations. From exploring military benefits to understanding the impact on your career, getting married in the military isn’t just about love—it’s also about logistics.

When you say “I do” in uniform, you’ll encounter a blend of support and challenges. You’ll gain access to benefits like housing allowances and healthcare, but you’ll also need to manage deployments and potential relocations. Understanding these factors can help you plan better and make informed decisions about your future together.

Legal Implications of Military Marriage

Marrying while serving in the military imposes several unique legal implications. These rules and benefits differ from civilian marriages, affecting various aspects of your life.

Understanding Military Marital Laws

Specific laws govern military marriages. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides legal protections, including postponing legal or financial obligations while on active duty. Besides, your marriage must comply with military regulations and local laws.

For instance, you need to update your marital status through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). This ensures your spouse is eligible for military benefits like healthcare. Failure to update DEERS can lead to denied benefits and potential legal issues.

Benefits and Responsibilities

Marrying in the military comes with distinct benefits and responsibilities. Spouses undeniably gain access to Tricare, the Department of Defense healthcare program, as well as on-base amenities like commissaries and recreation facilities. Also, the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) adjusts to reflect your marital status, which often means increased financial support.

Yet, with these benefits, responsibilities arise. Military spouses need to adhere to rules about conduct and depend on service members during deployments and relocations. The military lifestyle demands flexibility and resilience, qualities critical to sustaining your relationship.

Understanding these legal implications and proactively managing them helps ensure a stable and beneficial marriage within the military framework.

Military Benefits for Married Couples

Getting married while serving in the military brings unique advantages, fundamentally reshaping your quality of life. It’s not just about romance; these benefits can impact your daily experiences in significant ways.

Health Care and Housing Allowances

When you’re married in the military, healthcare coverage extends to your spouse through Tricare. Tricare is the Department of Defense’s healthcare program, offering comprehensive medical coverage. Your spouse gains access to medical facilities, doctors, and pharmacies that support the military community.

Housing allowances constitute a vital component of your income. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is higher for married service members. BAH depends on your rank, duty station, and dependency status. It’s designed to cover the cost of housing if you live off-base, ensuring your family resides in adequate housing. If you live on-base, you may be entitled to family housing, which offers larger accommodations suitable for married life.

Commissary and PX Privileges

As a married military member, your spouse gets access to commissaries and post exchanges (PX). Commissaries are grocery stores offering products at lower prices to military personnel. This benefit can significantly reduce your monthly grocery bill. PX stores carry a variety of products, from clothing to electronics, often tax-free and at discounted rates.

Shopping at these facilities provides financial benefits and convenience, especially in remote duty stations where other options are limited. It’s a tangible perk that supports military families’ overall well-being by ensuring they have access to affordable and diverse goods.

Marrying in the military isn’t just about the personal commitment you’re making; it’s also about the myriad of ways your life will change and the new support systems you’ll gain access to, ensuring a robust quality of life for you and your spouse.

Challenges of Military Marriages

Marrying in the military introduces unique challenges. While benefits like healthcare and housing allowances are appealing, numerous obstacles can strain the marital relationship.

Dealing with Deployments

Deployments pose significant stress on military marriages. Extended periods of separation force spouses to manage household responsibilities solo, from finances to childcare. Communication gaps, even though advancements, persist due to location and mission restrictions. This isolation often leads to feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Couples who establish clear communication plans, utilizing available resources such as counseling and support groups, often navigate deployments more effectively.

Relocation and Family Stability

Frequent relocations, termed Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, disrupt family stability. Children face continuous school changes; spouses often sacrifice careers to accommodate relocations. Housing and community integration repeatedly reset, creating an ongoing cycle of adaptation. Effectively managing these moves demands meticulous planning and leveraging military relocation assistance programs to ensure smoother transitions and maintain family coherence.

Supporting Your Spouse in the Military

Supporting your spouse in the military involves addressing several distinct challenges that affect your relationship. Ensuring effective communication and understanding how to cope with separation are crucial to maintaining a strong bond.

Communication Strategies

Effective communication transforms a relationship, especially in the military. Regular, honest conversations form the backbone of this strategy. When away, rely on various means to stay connected. Phone calls, emails, and video chats bridge physical gaps. Also, using social media platforms keeps you updated on daily activities.

Create a schedule for communication that works for both parties. Jack Morgan, a retired master sergeant, suggests setting specific times for calls or video chats to create a sense of routine. Don’t overlook letters; they provide a personal touch that digital formats can’t replicate.

Plan ahead to discuss significant issues. If your spouse encounters stressful situations, knowing you understand and are ready to listen becomes particularly comforting. Use apps like Skype or Zoom for more intimate, face-to-face conversations.

Coping with Separation

Handling separation requires resilience and preparation. Keeping busy helps; focusing on work, hobbies, and social activities lessens feelings of loneliness. Jack emphasizes the importance of immersing yourself in productive activities. Surround yourself with a strong support network, including family, friends, and military spouse groups.

Deployments can increase anxiety. Practicing self-care becomes essential. Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, and consider yoga or meditation to manage stress. If you have children, prioritize their routine and emotional stability. Consistency in their daily lives provides a sense of normalcy.

Understand that embracing challenges strengthens relationships. Military life is unpredictable, but with structured communication strategies and solid coping mechanisms, you can thrive together.

Conclusion

Getting married while in the military presents unique challenges and opportunities. Understanding military marital laws and updating your status through DEERS ensures you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. While deployments and relocations can strain family stability, effective communication and a strong support network can help you navigate these hurdles. Embrace the resilience and adaptability required in military life, and use structured coping mechanisms to strengthen your relationship. By staying connected and prioritizing self-care, you can build a solid foundation for a successful military marriage.

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