Dear War Virgin,
I am a junior Captain in the Army and have been dating my boyfriend, also a junior Army Captain, for 2 years. We are currently stationed apart and only get to see each other two weekends a month. The relationship is amazing, and we are serious about wanting to spend a future together. But being apart is getting to be very tough. If we get married, then the Army will enter us into their married couple’s program. We are seriously considering a justice of the peace marriage within the next few months. What do you think? Should we go ahead and do it and finally get to live together?
-Lydia, 26, Tampa
No!!! You are too young, and getting to live together is not a strong enough reason to get hitched. Remember, marriage is supposed to be forever, just like herpes. All kidding aside, this is such a common dilemma among military couples. Being stationed apart and having no control in moving near each other place an extra strain on the relationship and also force it to progress at a much more rapid pace. The military also has a very marriage-centric culture that can heavily influence couples like you to assume that this is the next logical step for your relationship. You have to first analyze if marriage is what you truly want at this point in your life, or if these outside forces are making you feel that it is your only option.
I have watched many military couples wed at an early age in order to live together. Some are still happily married. Many are divorced. In my own personal life, enduring long distance relationships prevented me from marrying the wrong guy…and then saved me again from marrying another wrong guy. It was at the two year mark that we thought we were ready to get engaged, but then waiting just a little while longer showed me that I was growing and changing and wanted something different. At your age, it’s highly likely that you will continue to grow and change and possibly want different things. Is your boyfriend someone who will grow and evolve with you?
Keep in mind that marriage only makes you eligible to enter the program, and even if you are approved, you’re only guaranteed to be stationed within a certain radius of each other. Be sure to read the latest version of the regulations that outline these specifics. Additionally, have you determined who will move and where you will move to? Enduring both a marriage and a major move simultaneously poses even more stress on an already stressful endeavor.
I believe that you should wait…unless you are absolutely, positively, 100% certain that you want children ASAP. If you are both ready to start a family, then go for it! Otherwise, enjoy being 26 and exploring all that life has to offer you, without rushing into such a life changing dynamic.
– War Virgin