Don’t worry, I’m not all sunshine and rainbows about the Army life. In fact, my next post will be about the top 10 reasons I hate the Army. Without further adieu, let’s get started.
10. Met a Variety of People
I suppose before he joined the Army, most would say I had lived a somewhat sheltered life. After he joined, I was able to meet people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. I’ve learned so much about other parts of the country and the world just through my friendships with others. Not to mention that it has taught me how to get along with all kinds of different people. I find myself being much less judgmental about others than friends who have never experienced the Army life.
9. Taught Me How to Give Up Control
Now, I haven’t totally mastered this yet. But I have to say I’m much better at it than I was when he joined. To have someone else is in control of where you will move and when is an eye opening experience. I needed to be able to give up a little control and learn how to go with the flow. I’m still working on it but I’m much further than I was before we became an Army family.
8. Recognized My Own Strengths
Because of all the things the Army threw our way from multiple deployments to a medical retirement, I learned that I can handle just about anything. And if necessary, I can handle them on my own. I can’t even tell you how many times I have had friends outside of the Army tell me they couldn’t handle the Army lifestyle. Before he joined, I had doubts about whether I could handle it too. But you just do. I discovered an inner strength and confidence that I didn’t necessarily know I had. I learned not to take time for granted or waste time on the little things.
7. A Sense of Pride
Having a family member serve in the military gives a feeling of pride that is indescribable. Every time I saw him in uniform, my heart would swell…and not just because I thought he looked hot in his beret! 😉
6. GI Bill
The GI Bill has enabled my husband to finish his bachelor’s degree and now pursue a culinary degree. Because of the way the payments worked, we were also able to pay for my MBA from GI Bill funds. To be able to both graduate with degrees without a single dollar owed in student loans is incredible.
5. Stronger Marriage
I know that some don’t make it out of the other side of a deployment with a stronger marriage but we were lucky enough to do that. Being forced to only communicate verbally allowed us to get to know each other on a deeper level. To be able to reconnect and experience those second (and third, fourth and fifth) honeymoons when he returned only reinforced our love and commitment to each other. We now know not to take each for granted and petty arguments are a thing of the past.
4. My Business
My business came about because my husband joined the Army. After all, that was our deal. He could join the Army if I could start my own business. In the beginning, my Army sites were just going to be a hobby on the side. I had no idea it would turn into what it has but it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and has enabled me to meet some amazing people.
3. Steady Paycheck
Even though the paycheck could always be bigger (and I think I would say that regardless of how big it was! lol), the paycheck from the Army was steady. We could count on it twice a month no matter what. With this economy, that’s quite the benefit.
2. Free Health Care
Yes, Tricare can sometimes be a pain to deal with, no doubt about that. But if you come from a typical health plan where you pay over $300 per month for 80% coverage with a deductible and co-pays…and Tricare starts to look awesome. Have a $20,000 c-section where your bill is $0 instead of $4,000 and it looks incredible.
1. Built-in Family
What I love best about Army life is the built-in family. From the first day we arrived at his first duty station, I was embraced by other spouses. They took me under their wings and showed me the ropes. There are members of my website that I have known for going on seven years now and know that I can count on them no matter what. I’ve stood by spouses during the birth of a baby, during the death of a loved one and through all the trials and tribulations of Army life. We have celebrated together, cried together and lifted each other up (or provided a proverbial quick swift in the rear) whenever it was needed. They are not just friends, they are family.
And that’s what I am most thankful to the Army for – my extended family. All of the sacrifices we have made are worth it in the end because of what I know my husband was fighting for and what we have gained in the process — individually, as a couple and as a family.