Her dilemma is nothing new to a military spouse…change. EXCEPT this change is in the form of military retirement.
This is actually a BIG deal if this is the only life you know.
Don’t close your browser just yet if you aren’t part of the military lifestyle because what I have to say pertains to ALL of us, military and civilian alike.
My girlfriend had some valid concerns:
- They will experience a pay decrease.
- What if they can’t find other employment in middle age?
- How will her husband be different without the job that defined him?
- What if she gets what she always wanted?
Here’s what I told her:
Pay decrease: Assess your debt level now before a change in pay happens. What can’t you live without? If you receive a pension, what is the amount you need to make up in a new job to maintain the standard of living you enjoy now.
Unemployment in middle age: This is a very valid concern considering the current job market. I reminded her that he has over 20 years in the military with advanced degrees. She is employable in a field that is experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates. Plus, I reminded her of #1. How much do they actually “need” to make up the difference. What if the only job he could find is the Walmart greeter? Will that make up the difference?
How will her husband be different?: Ahhhh….here was the actual crux of the matter. The rest was just “fluff.” The real looming crisis is how this would change the dynamic of who they are as a couple.
What if he never gets off the couch?
Very, very valid concern, in my humble opinion, and one we ALL will face someday.
Here’s the advice I gave: talk. I know it sounds trite to some, but it is nothing but. If you don’t start communicating your fears and concerns ahead of the impending life change then you will be behind the 8-ball.
“He tells me my fears are unfounded or he tries to “fix” the problem.” Well, then tell him that isn’t fair and you deserve a chance to speak your peace and to stop trying to fix the problem.
Trust me, girlfriends, I know of what I speak on#3. I love The Man very much and we will be married 19 years this September, but communication is our biggest challenge. He wants to “fix” the issue and I just want to “vent.” He gets tired of talking about something and I can hash it out to DEATH! Poor guy HA!
If you feel your Man won’t listen at home, then schedule a date. Or schedule a marriage retreat. This is serious business. Your concerns are valid and you need a chance to be heard.
What if she gets what she has always wanted?: This is a tough one because we all think the grass is greener in someone else’s yard. (Except for me because I have the greenest lawn on my street, kid you not. I take pride in my lawn. I think I am a guy deep down at times. One of my former assistants accused me of that years ago before I fired her….sorry I digress.)
Let’s play the “what if” game here.
- What if he sits at home and does nothing all day? Will that upset you? Why?
- What if you get the dream job you always wanted?
- What if life doesn’t turn out the way you planned?
See, the reality is that life is NEVER what we think it will be, but we survive and thrive anyway.
I have faith that my girlfriend will come out on the other side of this life change as a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see how she blooms.