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Ask An Army Spouse: Newly Engaged or Married to a Soldier

Expectations When Marrying a Soldier

Please can you offer some advice – my boyfriend is wanting to join the Army and has been talking about whether I would stay with him if he did.
I love him and want to, but I know nothing about the Army lifestyle or how it would affect me. I have been on the Army’s website so have a vague idea, but not really? Any advice or help would be much appreciated.



Check out the information here on this site under the lifestyle section for starters.

I firmly believe that the Army lifestyle is what you make of it. If you survey a hundred spouses about their experience in the Army, you will likely get one hundred different responses. Some will be positive, some negative and some in the middle.

It’s not an easy lifestyle but there are many other career choices he could make in the civilian world that could be just as challenging on your relationship. I personally wouldn’t trade the time my husband spent in the Army for anything and neither would he. Were there bad times? Times we wished he was just a civilian again? Of course. But that’s true of any job. Overall, the Army was a very positive experience for us.

Getting Married to a Soldier While In College

My fiance is the the Army and he is an E-3 I believe. I and only 18 and I am currently about to start college for my first semester. He wants to get married towards the end of my semester and me transfer schools and move up there with him and continue getting my associates degree. I want to eventually become an ortho.

I am afraid that if I move up there with him we will not be able to afford my college or even dental school with his pay check and mine. We could probably do it, it would just be really tight. what do you recommend we do? wait? or go ahead? I know you aren’t suppose to marry or not marry for financial reasons; but I don’t want our marriage to suffer due to our temporary financial state.

I mean along with my previous question.. also is there any way we I could get scholarships for school or anything else? please help all the other advice I am hearing is spinning me in circles.

Thank you so much for you help!

I certainly don’t recommend getting married until you are ready. Regardless of the circumstances, getting married when you aren’t ready is just asking for trouble.

There are scholarships available for military spouses as well as a my career advancement account that can help in certain professions. Based on what you have said your plans are, you probably would not qualify for the latter. If it were me, I would complete my schooling first (as it sounds like it is financially feasible if you remain where you are) and get married after completing my degree. Good luck!

Best Time To Get Married

My boyfriend and I have talked about getting married and know it is going to happen. We are best friends and even though this time of him being gone to basic is hard, we are making it through it. It is actually bringing us to a new level of connection and just supporting our decision to be married.

My question is, is there a better time for a couple to get married? Are there certain times in his training and/or deployment (before or after) that is better to get married. Thank you so much for your help.


The best time is when you’re ready – don’t base it on a date such as when he enlists. That said, if you’re getting married regardless, it’s best to do it before he joins as it will be the only time during his enlistment when he has total control of his time. While it won’t be impossible to get married after he enlists, planning a wedding becomes a little more difficult as it is harder to plan for anything months in advance with the Army.

Overwhelmed About Marrying a Soldier

Wow.. I’m reading through everyone’s questions, and I can honestly say it has helped me out a whole lot. So I got engaged to a guy who I was, at first, just friends with, and the day he leaves for basic training, we get engaged. The entire thing happened.. crazy like. I guess it was a “fell in love” kind of deal. He’s in Ft. Benning, GA. and I guess the reality of him being in the Army didn’t set in until recently. My brother was in the National Guard, and because I don’t have much common sense, I assumed the Army and the National Guard worked the same way. little did I know, it was entirely different. I didn’t know until my fiance explained it to me.

After he graduates from both basic and AIT, since he’s doing them together and will be gone for 14 weeks, he’ll be home in October and we had planned to get married in the 2 weeks or so that he will be home. I guess I’m just really concerned about.. well everything. I mean I have so many questions! I’m still really young, and so is he. So this is all completely new to me. I’m reading and it seems to me that there is a whole lot of paperwork to be done after we’re married and what not, that way I can move with him. So, I can FOR SURE move with him, as long as it’s a necessary base? And for some reason, I know it probably doesn’t make much of a difference, but with me not having my license and all.. does that matter? Is there any reason why I couldn’t live with him on base?

Besides the obvious.. because my plans for the time being is to be a “stay at home wife” for a while. My mom says it would be good our relationship that I spend as much time as possible with him.. because I stress out so much about him being deployed. I guess I’m just concerned and want to make sure that everything will be okay, and that I can be with him for sure. That’s all I care about.

There’s no reason that you have to have a driver’s license. Your military ID can be used for anything on post that you may need. As long as he doesn’t get assigned to an unaccompanied tour, you will be able to move with him.

There is a lot of paperwork but it can generally be accomplished in a day. It’s basically just getting your ID and enrolling in Tricare. The rest he will have to do through the finance office.

Paperwork After Getting Married

I know there is paper work that needs to be done after we’re married; what are they and what will I need to have along with that?


After you get married, he will need to take the marriage certificate to finance so that his pay status can be updated. This will enable him to get BAH or apply for housing on post.

He will also need to enroll you in DEERS so that you will be eligible for Tricare. This is just a simple form that needs to be filled out. When you are first enrolled, you will be eligible for Tricare Standard. If you want to be on Tricare Prime, there is an additional form to complete.

You will also need to have a military ID made on post.

It sounds like a lot but it could all be accomplished in a few hours on post (at the most). Good luck!

Living On Post While Engaged

Hi, my name is Kim and I am about to graduate from high school. My boyfriend of over 2 years has now decided that he wants to join the Army. I fully support his decision and am willing to move where his base is to be with him. We have talked a lot about what is best for me like where I would live, my education, and income, and I have decided to take the risk and go.

I am not sure what exactly what the rule is for “family” living on base, I am pretty sure you HAVE to be married… but what if you are engaged? Also I would love to get some advice from those who, like me, followed their soldier from straight out of high school.


Hi, you will not be allowed to live on post unless you are married. The housing on post is only available for married soldier (with the exception of the barracks for single soldiers). As a single soldier, he will most likely be required to live on post. There’s nothing that will stop you from moving to the area where his post is located but just know that depending on his command, he may or may not be able to stay with you. Regardless, he will not receive a housing allowance until he is either married or higher ranking and allowed to live off post as a single soldier (generally at least an E-5).

Adding Dependents (Kids) and Permission to Get Married

Me and my boyfriend are planning on getting married after his basic training is all over with which is in June. He will already have his orders and they would state he is single so I wouldn’t be able to move with him.. What does he have to do to get me and my son on his orders? And also does he have to get permission from the army to get married? I have alot of questions my sorry. I am new to this ad my soldier isn’t sure what do neither. After we getting married who should he take the paper to? And how does he add me and my son in the healthcare the army has? And how about how to apply for BAH?? Thank you!! :] is there anything else I should know??


Sometimes, the soldier may be able to get his orders amended to include newly added dependents. He will need to talk to his command about that possibility. He does not need permission to get married.

After you are married, he will need to take the marriage certificate to the finance office for his unit. After you are married, you can go to the nearest military post to get a military ID made and be enrolled in DEERS. You will need DD Form 1172. Some posts will require him to be present, some will require a POA and some won’t require either. Be sure to call ahead to check before you go.

BAH should be automatic after his pay status is updated with finance.

A good resource for you would be the new eBook that I wrote. It covers in detail many of the questions you have and gives an overview to the Army lifestyle and what to expect. You can find more here.

Documents to Get Married

Hi! My fiance and I are planning on getting married in 2 weeks while he’s in AIT training at Ft. Sam Houston. What do we need to do in order to get married? We are both originally from Birmingham, AL and I still live here but plan to move w/him to his next duty station. Who do I need to or does he need to get approval from his sgt? Anything would help us. Also, what documentation do we need in order to be married there? Thanks so much!



He certainly doesn’t need permission from the Army in order to get married but its never a bad idea to let them know that he is planning on it either. As far as the documentation needed, it varies from one state to the next. Typically, you can contact the courthouse to find out what may be needed in order to get married.

As far as the Army is concerned, he will need to take a copy of your marriage certificate to finance so that his status can be updated in the system. This will update his pay to show he has dependents. He will then need to either go with you or complete the DD1172 so that you can have your military ID made and be enrolled in DEERS for health insurance.

Depending on the rules for his AIT, he may or may not be able to live with you while he is in training. For longer AITs (generally 20 weeks or longer), soldiers may be allowed to live with family after a certain phase. However, it can vary greatly from one school to the next and he will need to check with his instructors if this is your plan.

Good luck and congratulations!

Getting Married After Deployment & Planning a Wedding

My daughter’s fiance is deployed in Afghanistan now. They intend to get married when his deployment is over, during what she has been told is a mandatory 30 day leave. (Is it true they get 30 days after 1 year in a combat zone?) My main question is are deployments really 12 months long? or are they going longer? and how much notice do you have as to when they’ll be home? It’s impossible to plan a wedding when you can’t set a date!

Many soldiers have saved up at least 30 days of leave while they are overseas so it is true that they have that time available. Whether or not they will be allowed to take that much time is up to the unit commanders.

As for planning, it can be difficult to pin down a date when the groom is in the military. Deployments can range from 12-18 months with 12 being the norm (at least right now). However, it isn’t 12 months exactly. It may be 11 months and 16 days or 12 months and 22 days. It’s difficult to predict. Many orders say “until the mission is complete” rather than an actual return date.

Notice varies by unit. I often didn’t know my husband was returning until he was already back. Other units may have a few weeks of lead time. While others may know a couple of months ahead of time. Just keep in mind, it is all subject to change with the military and can up until the very last minute.

Getting Orders Amended After Getting Married & Moving

My boyfriend gets done with OSUT in the end of June. We were going to get married when he comes back home for home town recruiting (if he gets it) or when he gets to come home to pack his stuff. He will already have his orders.. so what all do we have to do? I heard about getting his orders amended so that I’m on his orders and the army will pay for me to move with him.

Also, what is the process we have to do for DEERS and the TRICARE? Does he have to get permission to get married? And who does he go to for everything? Also I heard that while he is on leave to get his belongings, we can go to the nearest Army post and do everything that we need do there and that it doesn’t need to be at his post? Is that true?? I have a lot of other question but I cant think of them right now so if anyone can please help me with the confusion I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you =]


First, don’t count on definitely being able to get his orders amended. It can be done but they aren’t under any obligation to amend them after they have been cut. After you are married, he will need to take a copy of the marriage certificate to his unit finance office to have his status updated. After that is complete, he can go with you to get your military ID made. The completed forms for that will also enroll you in DEERS. You should be able to do this at the closest military post.

He can set up the move with transportation. Depending on if he was able to get his orders amended will determine the amount of weight he is authorized to move at the Army’s expense. If you are included, the weight limit will be much higher than if he is only authorized as a single soldier. If you don’t have much in the way of belongings, it may not matter. But do try not to go over the weight limit as it can be very expensive if you do.

When you are first enrolled in DEERS, you will be enrolled in Tricare Standard. If you want to be enrolled in Tricare Prime, then you will need to fill out additional paperwork to get that done. Your military ID will serve as your insurance card.


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

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Grace December 27, 2011, 2:19 pm

    I guess it’s difficult to answer, I was born into the military. we’ve lived in the “civilian world” for the past few years, but I’m 17 now and deciding on a life for myself.

    Honestly, I don’t want to be civilian. the military is a much better life and if you have a taste for adventure, you will love it. the moving is hard, but the new people, new places and cultures–it’s fantastic. the deployments are hard but you’ll never be more proud of a person. the income isn’t huge, but money doesn’t buy happiness. the distance from biological family may be hard, but you build a strong and reliable military family. (I’m still close to people I met when we were stationed in Japan. I haven’t seen them in years, but they’re ALWAYS there.)

    If you’re a happy-go-lucky person, don’t think you’ll regret it. 🙂

  • ray May 4, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Im 17 and my boyfriend is 19 and he is joining the army. We have been together for almost 2 yrs now and have tlkd about marraige after he comes from basic because ill be 18. However, we r used to seeing each other on a regular basis and im nt sure if the time apart will bring us closer together r ter us apart.??

    • Alissa May 24, 2012, 1:12 pm

      I’m doing the same thing at this moment Ray. I’m 17 an my boyfriend will soon be 19. He’s already gone through basic and is doing his job training. I used to see my boyfriend EVERY day. We only lived like 5 mins away from one another. We talk about marriage an we plan to as soon as I graduate(and i’ll be 18 to). The time apart for me an him has made us closer together and we cherish every moment we talk/skype and every letter. We actually appreciate each other more..not saying we never did..If your love was strong before he left, it’ll be even greater. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! (:

  • Alexis May 22, 2012, 5:24 pm

    I am going through the same thing as Ray. Though my boyfriend and I don’t know about marriage once he gets back. He signed and didn’t tell me until the next day. I wanted to cry but didn’t want him to think he did wrong. I just think it’ll be hard because he’ll be gone and I’m used to being with him 24/7. He went to Japan for a week and we were fine so I guess I could wait during basic. I want to go to college but I’m second guessing it because I want to be able to go with him wherever he gets stationed.

  • Cat May 24, 2012, 3:11 am

    So my boyfriend is almost done basic and we’ll be getting married after being together for about 3 yrs. Army life is all new to me, and honestly I’m scared to death. People tell me that I have to change about myself ( how I act, dress, talk, look, and me in general). Is this true? I’m scared I’ll have to be someone I’m not, and I don’t feel that’s right. Any help would be fantastic to give me a lil insight. Please and thank you.

  • Grace June 1, 2012, 9:44 am

    Alexis, you could look into online universities. A friend did Phoenix university online and then my mother did University of Maryland. The latter she loved because they are very military-friendly having both online classes and campuses throughout the world. There’s even a campus in Okinawa, Japan. You can do it! xx

    Cat, that’s barely true. While yes, you do need to be on your best behavior, your boyfriend is marrying you because he fell in love with YOU. Granted, if you’re entirely wild, it could get him in trouble (as well as future kids), but for the most part, we’re all so different. You want to look like how you feel of him: respectful. But you can wear whatever you want and be whoever you want. Be yourself and be happy! I think you’ll be fine!

  • Casey October 31, 2012, 9:02 pm

    I’m 17 and my boyfriend is 19 and currently at basic training at Fort Benning. He gets to come home for two weeks in December, and we are getting engaged during those two weeks. He has to go back, and he graduates on February 22nd. He wants me to marry him after he graduates, but I will still be 17. He is going active, and into infantry at that. I want to marry him, but since I will still be a minor I will need parents’ consent, and am not sure I will be able to get it. He wants me to move with him and live on base with him. This is what I want to do, more than anything, because I love him. But I am scared that if we cannot get married ASAP, he will be deployed and since I wouldn’t be an army wife, I wouldn’t get all the information they get. I need advice.. Help.

  • Jane June 12, 2013, 12:23 am

    I have graduated from college. My boyfriend will be graduating in December, and he’s commissioning through Army ROTC for Active duty. We want to get married after he finishes his training. (He should start training around February and finish around July). He hasn’t found out what part of the Army he will be working for, so he doesn’t know the details of where he will be next year. I’m scared that if we wait till he finishes training to have a wedding, we won’t know a set wedding date, and he could possibly only have a weekend off after graduation before he moves to his first post. I’m also scared that if we wait to get married after his specialized training graduation, I won’t get my DEER information in soon enough, and I won’t be able to move to his first post with him. What are the benefits of getting married before the specialized training, and what are the benefits of waiting after his specialized training graduation?

  • Robin June 1, 2014, 2:21 am

    I am very new to this and i’ve heard so many different stories that still azame me. I know I’m very young but I’m hoping that after hearing my story someone could help me a little bit…

    I’m 17 years old and just graduated high shool. I am engaged to my wonderful fiance that I am completely crazy about who is 18 and is going to be leaving for basic on July 8. My fiance and I have been together for a while and met in 6th grade. We reconnected when I moved back to the town I’m in. We are both from Colorado and are currently living here. I have a trip that I am leaving for on June 21 and I get back two days before he has to leave. Time is running out and I want to be with him as long as I can. We had originally planned to get married in Septmber/ October when he got out of basic and after hegot to his duty station. However, after speaking to his sgt, I found out that it’s not a guarentee that we will be able to get married because he might not get leave right away because the holidays will be coming up. He advsed us to get married before he goes to basic and if we did that then we only have about three weeks to go the the court house and get our marriage certificate done then get all of the paperwork for the army filled out and becase my birthday is in August I will turn 18 while he is in basic training and so in order to get married before he is in basic I would need permission from my mother. I have talked to her about how it would benefit me and my fiance financially and have said everything that I could think of for her to let me get married sooner then expected. I still plan on having a ceremony and all that wonderful jazz, but she refuses to sign the paper.

    I was hurt by my mothers decision and I want to respect it completely, but it could take anywhere from weeks to months for him to be able to be able to leave. I have held two jobs throughout high school and have been going to college as well as high school and still plan on going to college now that I have graduated. However, I work at a pretty crappy job and know I won’t have enough for college even with me saving. My fiance plans on helping me pay for school and at this point, we would just like to get married. I have been doing my research and hhave been thinking about just going into the courthouse and signing all the papers so we can say we are married so my fance and I can live together and start our lives as one. I was reading somewhere that we can do a marriage by proxy, that way it doesn’t require him to be present to sign and he can fill out an absentee form and I can go in and get all that paperwork finished the day I turn 18. But I’m not sure how that would work on the army’s end. When I had talked to his sgt he had said something about DEERS and having my fiance fill that out while he’s in basic and having the paper work filled out so I can get an I.D. and be put down that I am a dependent under my fiance and such. But it is all very confusing and even though my fiance and I re going back to talk to his sgt in the next few days about the marriage by proxy situation I am still nervous.
    I have moved around dozens and dozens of times so I can adjust to that but I’m not sure how everything works, or what to do, r if we can have do a marriage by proxy because they normally do it if the person that is in the military is shipped overseas an so on. So I am asking for help. I understand I am young and I sound insane but I feel so passionately about my fiance and fully support him going into the army. i know it won’t be easy and I wouldn’t expect it to be. I’ve read just about every article and post and talked to every person I know that is in the military and I guess I am just in need on someone to tell me that we can be married and start our lives together as one as soon as possible.
    I know I sound in a rush to get married but I know that this is what I want, and for my fiance and I we have talked about this and would like to start getting benefits as soon as possible for both him and myself. If anyone can help me even a little bit that would be great.

  • Jelisha Steele August 26, 2014, 5:19 pm

    My fiancé and I are getting married this Saturday he will be leaving to go to Korea Tuesday the only question I have is. Is it required for us to live together since we are getting married because I’m in my second year in college and we plan to live together after I graduate in two years

  • Elizabeth December 9, 2014, 9:29 am

    My boyfriend, who is also my child’s father, is losing his job and wants to join the military. I don’t want to leave, I’ve already left my family in michigan, and oby have my parents and siblings here where I live now. My child is 6 months old, and my boyfriend has already missed him crawling. I think if he does this he will miss everything else.
    He keeps telling me we will be together and that there are so many benefits and all this and that. He wants to marry me, now we have talked about marriage before, but I don’t want to be an army wife. That’s not what I wanted, but I want him too. I feel horrible because I’ll hurt him, but also because I’d leave the last bit of family I have here. And I don’t want to leave. I want to stay. But i also want to be with him. I don’t know what to do. If I go I don’t know when I’ll see him, if I stay I don’t know either. I feel torn. What do i do?

    • Stacey Abler December 16, 2014, 7:25 pm

      It’s difficult to say but I think the fact that you’re questioning going with him so much should guide your decision. Army life can be difficult and it’s only harder if you’re both not in it to support each other through everything. If you’re having doubts, listen to your gut.

  • Chelsi March 5, 2015, 4:13 pm

    Hi guys!
    My fiance is currently stationed in Korea and he will be home in July and we are getting married when he comes home. My question is what is it that I need to do so that I will be able to move with him to his next duty station (Fort Lewis)? He has talked to his first sergeant & he told him that he plans on getting married en route to his duty station. I know about the paperwork & enrolling in DEERS, but what other steps do we have to take?

    • Stacey Abler April 11, 2015, 5:46 am

      That’s pretty much it (paperwork and DEERS). If you’re not on his orders though, the Army won’t pay for your moving expenses.

  • Taylor August 25, 2015, 2:41 am

    My boyfriend is in the Army and is stationed in Arizona right now. However he is going to be stationed in Alaska. He wants me to move down there to be with him, but I’m not sure that I want to do that until we get married. I don’t know what to do. Advice would be greatly appreciated!! 🙂 Thank you.

  • Astoria August 31, 2015, 9:47 pm

    My fiance recently joined the army we’ve been together for 2 years and he’s about a month into basic. He got his second phone call while he was there not too long ago and he told me that he could have gotten married and I could have gone to AIT with him beforehand. (His AIT is over 24 weeks). I was wondering if we get married after he got out of basic? And could I still go to AIT with him? I really really really want to know this because it’s been eating away at me for a week and I don’t know when I’ll be able to hear from him again if anyone knows thank you in advance!

  • Brittiany June 1, 2016, 2:03 am

    So my fiancé and I want to get married but everyone seems to say something different every time. He finished AIT and is about to get his orders. I want to know when should we get married and how would that paperwork process after his receives his papers.. When would he get Housing allowance and everything in between a little lost just want to know if we have to wait or getting married now would make the processing of paperwork a little different.. Kinda stuck.

  • Megan June 7, 2016, 1:02 pm

    I have a few questions… I am 19 and my fiancé is 20. He is on the guard right now but he will be transferring to active duty very soon. I am pregnant and we plan to get married. My question is if we aren’t married yet will we be able to live together on post? Another question, when the baby comes will the baby be put on his insurance and will it be a dependent?

  • Alexyss May 1, 2017, 3:03 pm

    Hi! I’m getting married to my fiancé when he comes hom between AIT and his next duty station. How long does it typically take to enroll into DEERS and make it official? Will it update his orders when it is official?

  • Alejandra June 12, 2017, 4:30 pm

    Hi everyone!
    I have a situation here… my boyfriend (4 year relationship) is at boot camp rigth now, he called me yesterday to my phone.. I was so happy and surprised that I didn´t knew what to say at the moment.. the asked me to marry him after his graduation in South Carolina… the thing is that I´m mexican and I don´t want the migration system think that I have other intentions by marrying him.. I love him so much and I want to start my life with him, that´s all.
    My question is: Does the migratory law applies just the same way as the civilians? I have the tourist visa and I have been investigating in the official website but, does anyone know if it applies the same way to the military?

    thank you so much 🙂

  • abby July 10, 2017, 4:25 pm

    Hey. My fiancé and i have been together for almost 3 years. We have a year and a half old son together. He just enlisted into the army (i don’t know ANYTHING about the army btw). I think he is an E-1? but He is scheduled to leave for boot camp on September 5th. We have an apartment together, we are not married, and i can’t afford it on my own. He had to get a bank account that the army told him to get, so that while he’s in boot camp his money gets put on that and i can pay the bills. My question is, we aren’t sure when to get married. Is it better (for paperwork and everything) if we get married before he leaves in august? Or should we wait till he gets back in January? we don’t want our son and myself to be stuck in Tennessee after he gets his orders and gets stationed somewhere. I’m very confused on how everything works and i am freaking out a little bit because i want to do everything right.

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