Hi, I would appreciate any input or advice. My daughter is 20 years old and is finishing up her AA degree. We are a very close knit family and she has never been anywhere away from home for any length of time. She dated her boyfriend in high school since she was 15 and he was 16 and they recently got engaged and want to get married in December. Her now fiance finished his schooling is stationed for 2 years at a location where he is doing his job. He is located about 7 hours from where we live right now. By the time they get married, he would have been in the service for a little over a year. He has been promised to stay at his present location doing his job for at least 2 years and has a term of 5 years. Their plan is to get married in December, and live off his pay while she continues to go to school full time to finish up her 4 year degree. They want to be married because they miss each other being far apart and want to be together. As parents, we want our daughter to be happy and support her decision, but also from experience, we know that it is not going to be easy. Being away from home for the first time as a married woman, being a new wife in an area that is totally new and not having any family around other than her husband when she is used to having family around, being a full time student, living off of one income. I don't think she realizes what a culture shock it is going to be and once the novalty of being married wears off a little bit, she may realize that what we were saying was true. Right now all she can see is that she is in love and wants to be married so they can be together which I understand but am concerned for her. If anyone is going through or has gone through a similar situation which I'm sure many have, I would appreciate anything you can offer.
If you are a mom who went or are going through a similar situation, were you able to get your daughter to view the pros and cons? If she got married, how has she adjusted? Is it as hard as I am thinking it will be? Do you think it would have been better to wait until she finished school to get married? Things I'm factoring in is possible pregnancy, moving around to different locations.
Also, if you are a young wife how are you adjusting? Are you able to continue going to school or are things getting in the way of you completing your degree?
I personally was hoping that when her now fiance went into the navy, it was going to give them the time they needed to focus on their careers and my daughter was going to only have to focus on being a full time student, finish up her degree, and would enable her to become her own person and independent instead of becoming completely dependent on her new husband, being a new wife in a new area, and being a full time student. This also would have enabled them both to mature a little more since they are only 20 years old.
Financially she says that they will be ok on one income since they will live in housing that is paid for. I think he will be an E3, so that is what they will have to pay their bills and live off of. From anyone's experience, is it easy to live off of that.
We do not come from a military family so this is an adjustment for all of us so any suggestions, advise, input would really be appreciated.
As far as medical and dental coverage. Does the navy cover both of them and
their future dependents or do they have pay anything for their medical and
Also, if they are planning on getting married in December and there is no
availability in the military community for some reason, how does that work. Do
they get put up somewhere until there is an opening, or do they have to get an
off base lease, or does she stay home until there is an opening. All these
questions. lol Sorry. She basically is not going to know where she is going
to live until the last minute because they can't get their marriage license
prior to 60 days before their date I believe.
If he does deploy and they are in the miliary community, are they still bound to
a lease? If she decided to come back home during that time, does she still get
the housing allowance?
Her medical and dental will be fully covered, as would coverage for any children (don't quote me on dental, that changes). Google Tricare. It is a kickass medical plan, no premiums for families of active duty. (Co-pays depend on the plan, and the provider, etc. More detail than I know off the top of my head. No co-pay for care on base, and in many other cases).
If there isn't an opening in housing, they must rent. That means a lease. It would have a military clause which lets them break it to move into housing, or if he gets orders. It would not let her break it to move home when he deploys. BAH will cover that rental, he can get an advance for the deposit (start saving now, better to spend on the new home than the wedding). If he deploys and she moves home, they give up their eligibility for base housing at that command. She would receive BAH, but it would be for the zip code of his duty station, not your residence. Heck, no one knows where they'll be renting near a base until a few weeks beforehand. Best thing to do is have him sign her up with the ship's ombudsman and the Family Readiness Groups and have her get info on good places to live from the other spouses.
The Navy would only pay to put up a spouse after a change of duty station, and then it is usually only for 10 days. He wasn't married when he got his orders, so moving her is out of pocket.
I really appreciate all your help. You've been great!!
If she is in the military housing, are they allowed guests, and if so, how long are they allowed to visit? I'm just wondering also, if he goes off to another school that is less than 14 weeks and she stays behind can she come home for a visit not necessarilty home for the whole time - like for a week or two?
I'd have to look it up, but they can have guests and since the sailors earn 30 days leave each year, it is to be expected that folks take vacations.
You're allowed to have guests in military housing, you just have to let housing know. Most of the places we've been, the general rule is anything under a month, it's no problem. If you're planning for much longer than that, they will sort of play it by ear. (For example, last summer, my inlaws came and visited us and stayed for almost 6 weeks, but we're overseas....)
Basically, they are good about allowing guests, but they just want to make sure that's what they are - guests, not people who have moved in...
Also, yes, she can go back and visit you all. You just let housing know that you're going home for a visit (mostly so they know the house is empty). As long as she isn't gone for much longer than about a month, it's not a problem. Much longer than that, and different bases are going to have different policies on it, but her housing office would be able to let her know.
Also, something else to keep in mind that can really help with expenses is this - she will be able to shop at the commissary for groceries. They can be (but aren't always, she will have to do some comparison shopping) cheaper than local grocery stores. One key difference is commissaries are a not for profit program - they sell items with just enough markup to cover the operating expenses. (If you look up DECA, you can learn about the commissaries.)
Plus, as the spouse of a Jr Enlisted member, she will be eligible to apply for MYCAA (I think it is). It can be worth several thousands of dollars towards he college expenses. (She will need to check the details to confirm her eligibility. Even though I'm a spouse, I'm not eligible, and our son is also a Sailor, but he's single, so I haven't learned a whole lot about this program.)
Oh, something else to keep in mind, if he deploys, while yes, he loses his BAS, and he gains Family Sep., if he's on Sea Duty, he should also be getting Sea Pay, and, depending on what his job is, there are other "specialty pays" that he could be earning as well.
As far as life in the community as a newly married couple goes... When my husband and I got married, we were both young Sailors far from home. We were 20 yrs old when we got married, and we will have our 20th anniversary in just a few days. Yes, there were times it was hard, but I think that most of us, military or civilian, can say that there are times that being married is hard - most good things that you do for the "long haul" have hard spots...
But, there are SO many resources available for military families, and the vast majority of them are free. Some of the free programs are -- free and confidential marriage counseling, you can do it through the Fleet and Family Service Center, the Chaplains office (you don't have to be of their faith or even any faith to do this), and I believe you can do marriage counseling through Military One Source as well. I know you can do individual counseling through them, and with the other groups mentioned, too. They also offer marriage retreats, which are usually sponsored by the chapel.
They have free classes on money management, to include classes like becoming a millionaire on military pay, stress management, healthy communication, parenting, budgeting for baby, resume writing, home buying, etc. There are also some great programs, such as COMPASS (a program where other, experienced, spouses are trained in set topics that range from PCSing to Deployments to Navy Heritage, Pay and Benefits, and others, and they then teach other spouses about these things - NOT to turn them into "Stepford spouses", but so they can understand what's available to them as Navy spouses, and what they can expect living in the Navy world. It's done in a very positive but realistic way.) They also have Ombudsmen, who are also other Navy spouses who have been specially selected by the CO and who has gone through training to help spouses navigate any issues that might come up, and point them in the right direction to get the help they might need.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is yes, getting married young can be hard, and being a military family can be hard. But there are lots of resources and support networks in place for young military couples that, frankly, just aren't there for their civilian counterparts. If they are committed to each other, love each other, and are truly willing to work on their marriage, and have the maturity (and sense) to avail themselves of the resources and support available, then they should have a pretty good chance of doing just fine.
Anyway, that's just my opinion, as someone who was a young Navy wife, and who now has a son in the Navy who isn't much younger than I was, when I married his dad... It wasn't always easy, but I don't regret it at all.
Dang! That's a lot of benefits! I need to tell my son to get married so I can move in with him!
BTW, they really need to do more to teach military personel about saving. I've done financial seminars to the air force and there wasn't a one of them who seemed to understand a word of what I was saying, nor willing to put money away.
I guess, at least they let me try.
There really are a lot of benefits and opportunities to make things easier on families and couples. I do admit though that there are a lot of times couples won't avail themselves of the resources (sort of like your seminars, I imagine...). But, they are there, and they are easy to use, people just need to reach out and do it.
In fact, for the COMPASS classes, not only are the classes free, but you also get free lunch, and child care is either provided on site, or you hire your own child care provider and you get reimbursed (depending on the location). The only way it can be more user friendly is if they taught it at your house ;-)