Having a relationship in the military requires a great commitment to the lifestyle on both sides, but what happens when it’s time to decide whether to extend that commitment? Is it the service member or spouse that has the ultimate decision, or both? So many factors can play into a reenlistment decision including finances, career development and family.
Military Spouse Central asked for spouse opinions in which resulted in a few different approaches. Here are some to consider:
Some spouses want zero influence and take the “it’s his career choice and I’m here to support it” route. They may not discuss it at all with their spouse until the decision is made and it’s time to embrace it.
Spouses also recognize the decision is ultimately their service members, but offer their help in voicing their concerns and perspective. Some common concerns that may be worth discussing include children, schooling, deployments and relocations.
Melissa Blietz didn’t want her husband to feel any regret and resentment if the decision wasn’t his own. So while she offered her thoughts, she assured him she was “behind him 100 percent, no matter what he decided to do.”
When a family is involved, a service member’s career greatly affects everyone. It may be beneficial to weigh the sacrifices each member may have to make for reenlistment. It may not just be time or financial aspects, but also aspirations. Tiffany Pitt-Meier made a plea to spouses that no matter what decision is made, spouses shouldn’t underestimate their role as a military spouse and should continue considering their own dreams.
For Jay NearformerDarling, there are only two factors: “what’s best for our family… and what’s best for him.” If the service member decides to stay in and the family dynamic stays in tact, there is no problem. If the service member is miserable and decides not to reenlist, then the family can avoid resentment and find a way to start a new life.
Michele Tveit Jackson stated her view quite when she replied, “I don’t mind following him around now because when he does get out, he will follow me and I don’t want him trying to tell me what to do with my career.” Spouses may take a back seat for now, but with the future in mind. You can choose to fully support whatever decision your spouse makes so they are prepared to return the favor when you both decide it’s your turn.
Some spouses focus on the practical side of a steady income before allowing their spouse to rush to any decision. Andrea Forte mentioned her husband can reenlist all he wants, but before he gets our he should make sure he can secure a civilian job.
Another route to approach is the idea of reenlisting into the reserves as opposed to another active duty. The service member will have to discuss the option with a reserve counselor to make sure the transition can occur quickly enough and keep the transition smooth.
Photo courtesy of Morning Calm News