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As An Army Wife, You Have No Control

For some of you, this may not be an issue at all. For me, it was one of the hardest things to get used to. I took great pride in thinking I had control over my life and what was happening in it. At the very least, I was able to plan out my days and take vacations when I wanted without having to worry about someone else changing my plans.

Then because of my husband’s decision to join the Army (which I fully supported and still do), my control over our lives ended. When he was in basic training, we didn’t even have control over when he could call much less anything else. And it seems that even after being assigned to his unit, we still don’t have control over that. In the beginning, it drove me crazy that I never knew what time he was coming home (if he was coming home that night at all) or if we could go away for the weekend, etc. Maybe it’s not so much a loss of control over your life as it is a loss of control over the ability to plan anything.

Little by little, I’ve learned it’s easier just to go with the flow. The Army will operate how it wants with lots of “hurry up and wait” moments. They always seem to plan last minute training exercises when I’ve made plans to go out of town. Or they decide to give my husband CQ on the night I planned to go out to dinner. But even with all of this, I still like the Army lifestyle. Call me crazy (and I’m sure some of you will! LOL). It has made us more spontaneous and we really treasure the time that we do have together. Now we just take advantage of the opportunities we have to do something instead of planning for that special day.

Just go ahead and convince yourself now that you have little control over any thing as long as his boss is the US Army. It makes life so much easier.

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Jessica N. Helms May 26, 2010, 7:41 pm

    I was wondering how you learned to cope with this. I am very type A and have been having some serious issues with it. I found out that my husband is being deployed in the fall and that he goes directly to training for two weeks after he gets out of AIT. He’ll be home for all of two weeks before he goes overseas. I’m not doing well with this and am looking for some ways to deal with it. We’ve been together for nine years and married for less than three weeks….Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.

    • Stacey May 27, 2010, 8:58 pm

      Honestly, I don’t know that I ever did completely. I just kind of got used to not having any control. It really bugged me at times. I think that is one reason why I found having my own business so rewarding – because it was something I was in TOTAL control of and it was nice to know I still had control over something. It is very difficult to adjust in the beginning, especially with the kind of time line you are talking about having to deal with as far as training and then straight into a deployment. Of course, also know that the Army is infamous for rumors so don’t count on that deployment until it happens. HUGS to you!

  • Jennifer B August 13, 2010, 12:59 pm

    as i read through these comments i am almost put to tears. my husband and i have been married for a small 2 months and he is planning on joinin the army he is going to meps next week… sigh…. i am scared because of the unknown in this situation like how long he will be gone. where we will live you know all the questions that a soon to be army wife is going to have. i can deal with the being far away from him as i will be living in my home town its after basic and moving to a far away place…. ack i am scared and excited at the same time. do any of you have any words of strength for me?!

    • Stacey August 13, 2010, 7:59 pm

      It is scary simply because you don’t know what to expect. But I can say without any hesitation that joining the Army was the best decision for our family. My husband is medically retired now and we miss it every day. Things will be fine! Just learn all you can through this site and email me if you have any questions. You’re starting out a new adventure! 🙂

    • Kaci C. August 14, 2010, 12:25 am

      I know how you feel…him going to MEPS and just starting out, not knowing where and when on anything! I was there only 6 mths ago. It was really hard. Just lean on any family you have close by or close friends while he is in training. Just keep a possitive mind. And when you get to your duty station, BE PAITIENT!! LOL You will be very stressed and frustrated with the whole process, and you might not see him much either. Definately get involved with his unit FRG and activites on post. Also when you get there try Army Family Team Building classes. They will help you understand the army life a little better. Just drive around post and find everything and make notes on where everything is. Don’t get discouraged, it gets better. If you ever need to talk you can always email me..us army wives are like family even if we are miles apart.

  • Emily August 27, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I’ve been sitting here reading many of these posts…with tears in my eyes! My husband will graduate from ait in October. I have been here at our home alone with our two small children since Feb. when he joined. As a very type A personality…needless to say, this has been torture for me. ALL of the not knowing: where we will live, if he will deploy right away, etc. I have a life here and a routine for myself and my children and I am mortified of having to give it all up…I see that so many others have been in my shoes, but it’s still very difficult for me to deal with! I lay awake at night just going crazy with thoughts of everything I have no control over! I want my children to be happy…and I want us all to be together again, but the fear of the unknown is so strong! Any words of encouragement?

    • Stacey August 27, 2010, 4:39 pm

      I think it will be a little easier for you after he finishes training. While everything is still for the most part out of your control where the Army is concerned, you are a little more “in the know” after he is assigned to his first duty station. Things will be great!

  • Patti November 1, 2010, 8:55 pm

    I see alot of you wives talking about the big changes, and I truly have worries. My husband just have his physical and was told he will be in basic training end of March. I see alot of you have been married a yr or two. What are some opinions about my husband joining at 34 (his lifelong dream…put off way too long for him) us being married for 15 yrs and having 3 children 15, 12, and 3. I am very open minded, a little nervous, excited etc. thanks in advance

    • Stacey November 5, 2010, 1:13 pm

      I think it has pros and cons to joining later in life ( just life everything else!). My husband and I had been together for 10 years when he joined (married for 4). In some aspects, I think it made it easier as we were able to deal with separations better, etc. than some who were very newly married and didn’t already have that established foundation (my experience only). The biggest issue for me was that with him joining later in life, the other soldiers who were the same rank tended to be much younger and single so it was a little more difficult to meet people who were similar to me and my experiences. But eventually, it all worked out and we’ve been married 11 years now.

    • Christina March 29, 2011, 5:44 pm

      We were in the same boat. Together for 17 years then he decided to join the army! We already had 3 kids & a house & a house full of stuff!
      I feel everything we have been through prior to the army has prepared me for the army. My husband had a few jobs that kept him away for weeks on end or working third shift, so we got use to him not being around for every major holiday or celebration. I learned to handle everything on my own & be strong. So I feel the maturity is a huge asset.
      But like the other lady said, connecting with others who are around the same rank has been hard because I am so much older then their wives & my kids are much older too. They have toddlers or no children & want to party all the time. We are very family oriented. So others have a hard time excepting us. The women I meet my own age on post have much higher ranking husbands & that means we don’t hang out & BBQ together so its hard in my opinion to make friends.
      The biggest thing I have issues with though, is the weight allowances for PCSing. We are a family of 5 & are only allowed to move 8000 pounds! The army gives a single soldier of the same rank 5000 pounds…but if you have a family you only get 3000 more pounds? That seems unfair to me! Each of my kids have a complete bedroom set with personal belongings to fill those pieces of furniture. & outside toys such as bikes & sports eqipment.
      Most people at our rank are young & just starting out & have practically nothing. So I think weight allowances are harder on us.

      But other than that, I love this life so far. & we have only been doing this for 17 months!

  • Mary November 7, 2010, 1:53 pm

    im scared.. my fiance just got home from an army drill and informed me that he wants to go active duty. we have been together for 2 years and he just recently got home from Afghanistan. we have a son and another baby on the way. i support him but ever since he got home from Afghan. i have a sort of seperation anxiety and so does he, i don’t know how well being away from him for long amounts of time and never knowing anything would go. especially now, with me being pregnant, i cry over every thing and get stressed WAY easily. i know he is doing it for security for us and the kids, it just worries me….

  • Maddie January 22, 2011, 7:32 pm

    I am also having a very hard time with all of this. My fiance is in the process of enlisting, and as we have no children and I am not going to be going to school since everything will be up in the air once he goes to basic I am having a hard time not knowing what to do, or how to keep myself busy. We don’t have a very helpful family structure so I am going stir crazy with worrying where and what will happen. What should I be doing to prepare for everything?

    • Stacey January 26, 2011, 8:20 pm

      Check out some of the checklists about what to do before he leaves but other than that, just spend lots of time together and take plenty of pictures.

  • Trish February 27, 2011, 11:32 pm

    im also new to this… my husband join the army aug 2010 and i must say that without God i will be in a crazy house!! lol we meet in 08 and we just was friends, in 2009 he told me how much he loved me but he was a friend so i didnt want 2 mess anything up.. but as time went on i fell for him! we got married dec 22 2010 but he only stayed for 2 weeks!! he left 12-31-10 also the same day my great-grandma passed away.. 🙁 now hes in ait and have 9 more weeks left we also found out that this comin june he we be in germany! this has been very very hard for me.. not only hes my husband but hes my bestfriend but i will love to get more advice from woman who could help me at this time of my life.. they say military wives are thee strongest and im sure seein that now.. lol only the strong can handle this the weak will fail

    • Jen May 6, 2011, 1:53 pm

      I’m facing the same situation. My fiancee is being transferred to Germany in July haha we get married in June and I live states away from where he’s stationed now. I think it helps me that we aren’t living together now so I have been able to cope with him being gone. However, he just got back from his tour in Afghanistan and it was soooooo extremely emotional when he got home on leave, not to mention when we had to say goodbye again for him to return to post. I’ve realized that being an Army wife means a lot of goodbyes lol. I wish you luck and strength. Email if you have any questions or need any help hun, pagejen82 at yahoo.com

  • Christy October 23, 2011, 1:25 pm

    As many of you guys me reading these really do put tears in my eyes. I just recently got married to a soldier. He is in another state then me. I am planning on relocating but it is a scary process because I have been the career woman and now after 14 yrs with a job I am leaving. My husband is worth it but it is still a scary process when me to am the A type of girl. I have found it really hard also I have had to change plans , not know what is going on and basically sitting on the edge of your seat. Does it get better? Any suggestions?

    • Stacey October 23, 2011, 6:36 pm

      You learn to go with the flow and honestly, it’s only as difficult as you make it. 😉

  • Ashlei November 12, 2011, 5:28 pm

    My fiance has been thinking about joining the army for awhile now… But I am very conflicted. I have zero experience with anything to do with the army so I have no idea how any of it works. I feel terrible because a part of me doesn’t think I am up to the challenge of completely changing my life plan to go along with his.
    We are living together and have never been separated for more than a weekend. If he goes to basic I’m stuck thinking to myself… What am I going to do? I cant afford to pay these bills on my own? How am I going to handle this?
    I love the idea of being able to travel and relocate once were married but I also hate the idea of having no control of my life. Any advise?

    • Stacey November 12, 2011, 6:37 pm

      Well, I would hope that from a financial standpoint, he would continue to support the household bills of the house he left you with when he joined. During basic training and AIT, he basically has no living expenses. I think many wives/fiancees are amazed at how strong they are when they’re in the middle of dealing with it all. Sure, you’ll have bad days but otherwise you’ll make it just fine.

  • Carrie September 22, 2012, 11:31 am

    My husband has been in for roughly 6 1/2 years and has been to Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s currently stationed in the states and I will be moving from our home state to where he is located, a couple thousand. We just got married via proxy 9/7. LOOOTTTS of stresses, what with trying to do insurance stuff, trying to sell my house, getting set up with DEERs, and getting stuff into storage all while maintaining a full time job plus volunteering in the local music scene. When the military throws you a curve ball, sometimes there is no catching it and you wind up with a black eye. Figuratively. Good thing is, “black eyes” heal, and I’ve noticed that things tend to work themselves out. Just not in the way or in the time frame YOU wanted. LOL As an “independant dependant” myself, it IS tough to get used to. Luckily, I have a small group of pretty solid, Army friendly, family members and close friends that are very supportive. My best advice to girlfriends/fiancees/spouses, from a brand new spouse, is to try to surround yourself with the the most supportive people you can, and to avoid those with toxic, negative attitudes. (And to learn the difference between concern and blunt honesty and those being “negative Nancy’s”)

  • Carrie September 22, 2012, 11:33 am

    **a couple thousand miles away

    >.< Too early in the morning

  • Danielle November 11, 2012, 11:55 pm

    Being married to a soldier is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life! My husband is at AIT right now in fort Sam Houston TX 1200 miles away from me, but is being processed this week and won’t start his training until dec 2. Dealing with all the stress of him being gone right now plus dealing with all our bills and trying to keep up with our 2 kids (5 and 2), is killing me! I literally feel like a single mother at times!! and to top all the stress off while i was visiting him on family day and BCT graduation our home was broken into and all our belongings were stolen!!!! So needless to say I moved out the very next day and am living with my in laws. Which are awesome btw! lol !! I have a great support system here and my hubby wants me to move to tx to be close to him. His training is 18 weeks long so I don’t know if I can go or not! Will the army help me in moving?! Can I see him once I am there???? Should I pull my kids out of school?? Can I enroll them in an army school while he is in AIT? So many questions with so little answers! I have mixed emotions about everything. i am so confused! I am under so much stress and I feel so lost everyday. I need some advice on what to do at this point in my life. I would just love to be with my hubby right now! He is the rock that keeps this family solid and he is gone! I can’t say it enough how much this is effecting my life!!!!! any advice or web sites I can look at? Thank you!!! I love the army wives you girls keep me going!!!!

  • Darlene December 17, 2012, 12:21 am

    My husband will be leaving out in feb for basic and I am scared to death! We have 2 kids 1 & 4. The uncertainy of things is what scares me! I am excited to see new places and everyhting. I have read on other web sites you have to wait for post housing and you may have to rent somewhere 1st. This seems like such a hassle to me. I support my husband fully,sometimes I think what I am getting myself and our kids into! Also the 30-45 days without ANY money coming in SCARES me! I currently babysit but I am most likely going to have to find a job before he leaves,which means less time with him before he leaves :(! I know it will all take getting use too. I STRESS and WORRY enough as it is lol

  • Nicole March 4, 2015, 2:18 pm


    So I don’t even know where to start exactly..but I guess I will start from the beginning. My fiance and I had a baby in October of last year, and things have been very tough adjusting to the new lifestyle of being parents. But now that we have got that under control we still feel that we need some stability for our family..raising kids is NOT cheap! But he has come to the decision that he would like to join the military, which I am completely on board for. But I am not from a military family and neither is he, so I am starting to get overwhelmed by everything that I have been seeing. It just looks like there is so much to learn and so much that needs to be handled in a short amount of time. I currently work full time as well as being a full time student and a new mom..I’m only 20 years old. I am down to live the military life style because of the number of benefits for our son and ourselves. I just don’t even know where to being because we would like to get a jump on this. But the problem that is a little scary to me is that since we are engaged they really recommend that we get married before he goes off to basics. So not only am I stressing about making this major life change but now I have to figure out when and where and how we are even going to get married. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and forums about being a military wife, and it is something that sounds good to me. I actually tried to enlist when I got out of high school, I took the ASVAP tests and was ready to sign the line..but when it came to the health history portion that dream came to a complete halt. I’ve had SVT, a heart disease, since I was in middle school but right before I tired to enlist I got it fixed because I knew it would be a potential problem. Goes to find out you cannot HAVE or HAVE HAD any history of SVT 🙁 so that sucked to hear but instead I went on to get my nursing degree. I went to one year of a university and unexpectedly I became pregnant with my fiance, which was the greats blessing of my life! So that put a total halt on my schooling to finish my degree. But now that I am currently a student I am trying to finish up the degree I’ve put so much effort into. Should I expect that I could possibly be able to finish my degree..or is that unrealistic? But that leaves me with the whole marriage decision I’ve written down every pro and con of becoming a military wife and the pros have seemed to dominate the cons. I am just so nervous to get married as the statistics for newlyweds in the military are not so promising. I do like to have control, so I know that will take some getting used to. But for now I am just trying to find any resource or anyone that I could possibly talk to about how life is going to be and what I should expect. I know that this is a huge change for anyone enlisting in the military, but there also seems to be a lot to learn as a spouse. If you know of any resources or people that I can talk to about this please let me know as we are trying to get the ball rolling with this.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post!


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