Updated: Dec 24, 2021
There is nothing easy about being a Marine. From recruit training to combat operations, and everything in-between, Marines will be challenged to be successful no matter the situation. For many, these challenges extend into the home as they must then wear the mantle of husband, wife, mother, or father. Marriage and parenthood while in the Marine Corps are journeys of their own, and innumerable Marines will tread this path during their service.
The decision to get married should not be taken lightly for anyone, especially for a Marine. Once a union is made, a spouse is not only married to the Marine, but also the Corps. Adding children to the family is another decision which will greatly influence the life of a Marine.
There are many positive aspects of such a decision which benefit the Marine and his or her family. Military Spouses and children have access to free or low-cost medical and dental care, educational benefits, employment opportunities, and more. To receive many of these benefits, Marines must ensure their families are fully enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) so they can be appropriately request and obtain entitlements. Military families also get the intangible experiences of living and working in new places across the United States and a variety of countries around the world. Of course, some duty stations are better than others, and can be issued by luck of the draw at times, but each has unique advantages that are available to a Marine and his or her family.
Though there are many positives of a union with a Marine, this lifestyle is not without its struggles. Very often, Marines will find themselves separated from their families for extended periods or unable to make contact which can cause strain on a relationship. Additionally, children often find these periods of separation exceedingly difficult to face as young children may not understand why one of their parents are not present in the home for so long.
In order to maintain strong familial ties, communication and financial strength are the keys to success. Marines with families must communicate with their spouses to the greatest extent possible. Spouses who understand why their loved one does what they do may be more agreeable to the struggles of long work hours or months of separation. This communication also helps develop trust amongst partners in a relationship. Children also should be spoken to, so they are aware of why their parent does what they do. They may be too young to comprehend at times but starting somewhere may help them develop greater understanding as time continues. Last, it is essential a financial plan exists between partners. In civilian marriages financial struggles often cause the demise of relationships, and Marine families are not immune to such issues. Each Marine Corps installation has innumerable resources in order to assist Marines recover from any financial hardship they may have encountered.
Each member of the Marine family is along for the ride of every exercise, deployment, promotion, or change in duty. Marines and their families are the bedrock of the Marine Corps, and Marines have many resources to be successful as they raise their families. A Marine who is stable at home is more effective each day they put the uniform on, and therefore more capable of winning our nation’s battles.