A couple of weeks ago, Chuck got career designation for the Marines, which means he has the option to stay in for 20 years and get retirement. It’s great news, and I am so beyond proud of him.
But this means a difficult decision for us as a couple. There are so many factors to consider – finances, children, my career, his career, personal happiness, and even politics. We both have our own list of pros and cons for each option. I was going to write about them all here to clear my head, but at this point it’s too overwhelming (and ultimately not helpful) to keep analyzing every angle, down to the nitty-gritty… so I’m going to ruminate generally instead.
The bottom line for me is: Chuck had already joined the Marines before we fell in love, and it was the only thing that made me hesitate as our relationship progressed. Of course, my love for him ultimately outgrew my uneasiness about the Marines, and I was ready to accept at least his 4 year commitment and take the rest from there.
Slight digression: It must be noted that I grew up as a military brat, and it was a good life for a kid. I am a better person in many ways because of it. However, it wasn’t a life I ever wanted for myself as an adult, or as a wife – especially during wartime, in an infantry battalion. There is very little the Marine Corps has to offer a wife, but there is a lot it will take away from her. It can’t be helped of course – but it’s not desirable for a girl like me.
On the other hand: I love Chuck with all my heart, and even an Ice Queen like me knows you don’t find true love every day. I also know how important the Marines are to him, and how sad he would be to leave prematurely. Chuck made his commitment to the Marines first, and yet I know he would give it all up for me if I asked him too. But, I don’t want to be the reason he leaves, if I can possibly help it. I know how hard it is to find what you love to do (I am still looking), and I like to think he would do the same for me if I found my passion.
I’ve only lived the spouse life for a few short months, so it’s difficult to judge how well I would adjust in the long run. I know the situation will always be different, everywhere we go. It could be a crazy, fun adventure with plenty of enrichment for me, as well as for him… or it could be long stretches of boredom, loneliness, and isolation in crappy locales while I wait, and wait, and wait for things to change again.
It’s the latter that scares me. I have always felt that life is short and that you can’t take anything for granted (the Marine Corps has only served to increase these feelings in me.) There are things I want to do with my youth. Things I want us to do before we have kids. Things I want to contribute to our life together, and to our future. I am blessed with the ability to do all of these things. I dislike the feeling of wasting time, doing nothing, for long periods at a time with no plan, and minimal assurance that the next round will be better. After all, these are my productive, money-making, adventure-taking, self-exploring years!
However, I also recognize the value of leaving your comfort zone, confronting new challenges, and blooming where you’re planted. I’m not particularly ready to go back to my DC life quite yet – only months ago, I was eager to escape that bubble and try something new. My current existence isn’t exactly what I had in mind, of course, but as I’ve written before – it’s not all bad. It really just depends on the day.
ANYWAY. At some point, Chuck may want to leave the Marines on his own accord – not because of the wife-factor. But, as long as he loves what he does, I want to support however I can. I am still uneasy about committing to 20 years, but I could handle another assignment, to see how it goes and where it takes us. We have one week left to make the call, so here’s to hoping that insight and wisdom find their way into our decision-making process!