Learning to Simplify

What I wish I knew before getting married

Looking to marry a military guy? Here are a few perks you might not know about, as well as some lessons from my mistakes.

Looking at this photo gives me mixed emotions. It is one of my happiest days, but also one that came with a lot of stress, stress that could’ve been avoided. Looking back there are a few things I would have changed.

Getting married to a military guy comes with its perks but also with challenges. These guidelines are somewhat hard for civilians to understand, and so in my naivete, I decided that I knew better than my now husband and followed the chronology of a traditional wedding just like everyone else. But oh boy was I wrong!

Here are a few perks which I missed out on because of my mistakes.

Perk #1: Moving help

Before we got married we lived in two provinces: Alberta and Ontario. As we prepared for our wedding we also prepared for a move to Northern Ontario. 

One of the awesome perks of being in the military is that if they tell you to move, they will provide all of the help to help you do that. My hubby got all of his stuff packed up and ready to go in one day, and didn’t need to lift a finger. A week later when we arrived, the moving company brought in all of his stuff, put it in the right rooms and unpacked the boxes. Because I was not officially his spouse (even though we had the marriage two weeks prior), I was not privy to this lovely service. I had to toil for days, and then lift and carry heavy containers to another location for storage for us to pick up after the honeymoon. After just having moved to our new location, hubby and I had to drive back down to our parents’ place to pick up all of my stuff. It took two trips and lots of lugging, not to mention the cost of driving back and forth.

Perk #2: Funds while moving

To get to our new location, hubby and I drove from Alberta to Ontario. The trip took about a week and required us to stay at multiple hotels. For military members and their families, accommodation and food are partially, if not fully, compensated. However, since I was not officially his wife in the paperwork, I was not given any funds during that trip. For a new couple who just pulled off a wedding, the money to cover this trip would have been a great help.

Perk #3: Insurance

Being a military spouse gives us access to great insurance which helps keep us healthy and in best form. However, this does not come until you are officially a spouse in the records.

What can you do?

  1. Get the paperwork done as early as possible. When planning your wedding, see how long the marriage documentation takes to process. In Ontario, it’s a whopping 10 weeks before you can even check the status. After that, it’s several more months before you receive the official documents. And only then can you start the military paperwork to be registered as the official spouse who is entitled to these benefits.
  2. Do your best to explain to concerned family members that getting married to a military guy (or gal) is not the same. The paperwork needs to be done so that at a moment’s notice you could pick up and go without worrying about finances or how to move all your stuff. 
  3. Consider some non-traditional approaches to your wedding. It seems to be a trend with young couples to elope and later do a big wedding… or not do a big wedding at all. (Imagine all the stress you’ll avoid and money you’ll save!)
  4. Do take some time to consider the logistics that will come after the wedding. I was so carried away with planning the wedding that I took no time to reflect on life after the wedding. And although we lived to tell the tale, why don’t you learn from my mistakes to make your life transition easier?

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