If you’re considering getting married while in the military or getting married to a military servicemember of the military, you likely already know that this is a big decision. However, do you know all the military marriage requirements that make it such a big decision?
Learning these requirements can help make your relationship and transition into married life successful. You may be wondering, “Are there any military marriage license requirements or laws I don’t know about?” SpouseLink is here to help!
Eliminate some stress by reviewing these important things to keep in mind when you’re considering getting married in the military.
Military Marriage Requirements to Know
When it comes to military marriage laws and marriage license requirements, you’re in luck. There aren’t actually any marriage laws that are unique to military members. Military marriage license requirements are the same as those for civilians. However, there are some rules that you should be aware of:
1. Cadets Aren’t Permitted to Marry
Cadets in a military service academy cannot get married until they graduate or leave the academy. This is the only rule regarding when a servicemember can marry.
2. Military Fraternization Is Prohibited
Fraternization rules forbid a servicemember from marrying an officer. There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if two members of the military are already married and one gets promoted. That relationship is deemed acceptable.
3. Civilian Spouses Aren’t Allowed on Deployments
This rule isn’t necessarily a military marriage requirement, but it’s important to know before getting married — especially if you’re marrying someone so you can live together 24/7. Civilian spouses are not allowed on deployments and are prohibited from some duty stations. You more than likely cannot go visit them there, either.
While there are some exceptions to the rule, the military prohibits civilians from living on and visiting most deployment bases. This is because they’re either too dangerous or there’s not enough room for families. Of course, you’ll still be allowed to live together on base when your partner is home.
Make Sure You’re Military-Marriage Ready
It’s important that you make sure you’re ready to navigate what military marriage requires — both logistically and emotionally — before jumping in.
If you can say “yes” to everything on the list below, then you might be ready for a military marriage:
- You share the same basic life values.
- You are prepared to handle deployments apart.
- You fully trust one another.
- You can imagine yourself together for a lifetime.
- You agree on the topic of children (whether you want them and how to raise them).
- You communicate well with one another.
- You’re aware of each other’s career goals.
- You’re on the same page financially.
On the flip side, if you answer “yes” to any of the following points, you might want to rethink a military marriage, because it may not be the right decision:
- You want to get married just so you can be eligible for military benefits.
- You’re worried your relationship will deteriorate over a deployment so you want to rush and get married before your partner leaves.
- You’re hoping marriage will change you or your partner.
- You and your partner don’t communicate well when living apart.
Basically, if you think marriage is the solution to any fundamental relationship problems between you and your servicemember partner, think again. Like any marriage, it’s best to enter a military marriage with realistic expectations without sacrificing all of your own values and goals. A military marriage can test the strength of your relationship and bond like no other.
What Is a Military Marriage Actually Like?
If you’re considering getting married in the military or marrying a military servicemember, you’re likely wondering what it’s actually like. So many people do it and seemingly manage the relationship with grace and love… but is it all rainbows and sunshine? Or is it all terrible deployments?
Here are some things to expect out of a military marriage:
1. Time Apart
Long deployments are a real part of military relationships. Expect to be separated from your spouse for months at a time, even over holidays, family events, and during times of family crises. Consider what this lifestyle would look like for you and your future children, as you will be the only parent in the home when your spouse is deployed.
2. Frequent Moves
When you marry a servicemember, you marry the military and have to be ready to go wherever a PCS order takes you. This brings a lot of goodbyes and stress, as well as many new friends and new beginnings — sometimes in beautiful new places!
3. A Lot of Responsibility
Since your servicemember will be away for long deployments, you must be prepared to handle finances, home maintenance, and raising kids on your own.
4. Military Obligations
Being a military spouse means being prepared for certain military obligations, which means adapting to new social situations, making new friends, and finding new ways to get involved in new places.
5. Military Benefits
Yes, these are real. Never feel shy about applying for military benefits (including education benefits) or asking for military discounts at your favorite places.
Sharing the rest of your life with someone is one of the biggest commitments you’ll make. Committing to a servicemember means committing to the PCS moves, the deployments, and all things the military lifestyle entails.
However, sometimes the biggest risks can result in the biggest rewards. As long as you put in the effort to understand the military marriage requirements and feel ready for this new chapter, chances are you’ll have a happy ending!
If you’re thinking about getting married in the military, don’t hesitate to reach out to other military spouses to start building your community and getting some honest married-life information.
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