Military to Civilian Transition

8 Lessons Learned in Year One Of Living Together After the Military

It’s amazing how much change can happen in just 12 months. This time last year I was starting to panic because after 3 1/2 years of marriage and geo-bacheloring, my husband and I were FINALLY going to be living together. He was getting out of the Marines, I was finishing up the last few months on my Navy contract and we were packing up everything to move into our very first apartment together.

We were going from being very independent and very sure of where our paycheck was coming from to being on top of each other every day and searching for our next career moves. It was a scary time for someone who doesn’t exactly love change. All I could see was the “what if’s” but today I look back on this last year and am amazed at how much we have learned about each other, about compromising and about laughing even during the toughest times.


I have learned….

  1. Cabinet doors are just for decoration. Apparently closing them is optional. Wonder how long it would take me to remove them all just so I don’t walk into the kitchen and see a bunch of half closed doors and drawers.
  2. That if I want to find my husband I just need to follow the lights. Our apartment is all of 950 square feet and yet someone he seems to be afraid that if he doesn’t leave me a trail of lights I can’t possibly find him.
  3. Compromise means throwing on a sweatshirt in July because one of us likes the apartment to be cold enough to build an igloo. And it means never eating at the dining room table because that is used at a laundry drying rack and gun cleaning station. Who knew that line dry dresses went so well with a Sig 9mm!
  4. Weekends are for catching up. Much like when we were stationed apart, we seem to spend the majority of the week on our own thanks to opposite work schedules. Luckily we learned in the 3 1/2 years of geo-baching how to squish as much quality time into short periods as possible. At this point we are old pros at the quick kiss between shifts.
  5. My husband has a work ethic to rival mine. In just under six months he received a major promotion that made it possible for me to stop stressing what is going to happen when my temporary teaching position ends after finals. He didn’t even tell me about the possibility because he knew I would just stress about what could possibly happen! The man knows how to help me stay calm and boy do I need that!
  6. Quickly planned trips can result in some of the best memories. This year we went to Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina and even hit D.C. twice! I don’t think any of those trips had more than a month’s notice. But every time we got on the road or on a plane we had great adventures. From the MSOY events in D.C. to the worst flight ever (our suitcase ended up in a different city than we did!), I look at the photos from this past year and realize how lucky I am to have someone willing to take off on a moment’s notice with me.
  7. Happiness weight is a real thing. If I get any happier I am going to have to buy a new wardrobe. While I lived alone, dinner often consisted of popcorn and wine. Now I’m turning into Susie Homemaker and whipping up real meals and cookies by the dozen.
  8. And above all I have learned that my bug killing, noise investigating, couch cuddling partner is my best friend. Some of the things we have been through this year tested us and our marriage. That is no different for any couple that moves in together for the first time. But after spending our first 3 1/2 years apart I can’t help but be thankful for every fight, every light that is left on and even the cabinets I have to close for the 100th time this week. Because you know what? Having those little annoying things to deal with means my husband and I are finally living together and I will never take for granted the ability to just share my life with the man I married.
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