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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.

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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 in the Army and he is an E-3, I believe. I am 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 paycheck 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 supposed to marry or not marry for financial reasons; but I don’t want our marriage to suffer due to our temporary financial state.

Also is there any way 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 like 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 a 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 whatnot; 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. For the rest, he will have to go through the finance office.

Paperwork After Getting Married

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

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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.

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Hi, you will not be allowed to live on post unless you are married.

The housing on post is only available for married soldiers (with the exception of the barracks for single soldiers).

As a single soldier, he will most likely be required to live on post. Nothing 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 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 a lot of questions. I am new to this, and my soldier isn’t sure what to do either.

After we get married who should he take the paper to? And how does he add my son and me to the healthcare the Army has? And how about how to apply for BAH?? Thank you!! :] is there anything else I should know??

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Sometimes, the soldier may be able to amend his orders 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!

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Hi,

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 be up until the very last minute.

Getting Orders Amended After Getting Married & Moving

My boyfriend gets done with OSUT at the end of June. We were going to get married when he comes back home for hometown 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 questions but I can’t think of them right now so if anyone can please help me with the confusion I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you =]

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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 try not to go over the weight limit as it can be very expensive.

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.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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55 Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. November 7, 2016
    So I am 18, I am a senior in high school. My boyfriend is in AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. He graduates this Month (November) and he is going to be stationed in Kansas. He wants to get married next month when he is home for Christmas, this way when I graduate high school in June of 2017 I can move right in with him without having to waiting. My concerns are, one my mom and I don’t get along and if I got married at 18 she would kill me. So I was think of not telling her till later, But then I run into the problem of my mom claiming me as dependent on her taxes and I don’t want to get her in trouble for fraud. I am also on her insurance too… I also got accepted in to a college in Kansas as well… I just don’t know how to go about all of this, so what do I do? can someone help me?

  9. My boyfriend is thinking about joining the military but I want to go with him. Is there any way for me to go with him without us being married or do we have to be married first?

  10. 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?

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