After working on an Army base, I’ve met all kinds of Army significant others: Army wives, Army fiancees, Army girlfriends, Army divorcees. As part of my job, I had to brief all incoming Soldiers and families to the installation. I’ll always remember one girl in particular.
She came up to me after the brief and said out right… “I feel like I don’t belong here.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I’m just a girlfriend,” she said.
I looked at her and smiled.
I replied “You’re more than just a girlfriend. You are his love, his support, his foundation. He chose YOU to support him in one of the most difficult life experiences in the world: military life. He chose YOU because he knew you could handle it. He chose YOU because he’s on the way to choosing to spend the rest of his life with you.”
I meant every word… because I was that girl. I was “just the military girlfriend”.
I’ll never forget when that Army girlfriend looked at me with a humble smile.
“Thank you,” she said.
I then saw the patch on her boyfriend’s arm… “infantry”.
I’m writing about this girl today because I get a lot of emails from Army girlfriends asking for advice and support. There are questions about deployments, career choices, pcs moves, benefits, etc. For military girlfriends, it can be hard getting the answers you need because the “girlfriends” are not officially dependents so the amount of resources are limited.
So for the Army Girlfriend, here is some advice and a few quotes to help you in this crazy journey.
- The relationship will not be easy. It will be hard. But if you can get through these tough times together, then the foundation for the future of your relationship will be that much stronger.
- A dependent card is just a laminated piece of paper. It doesn’t measure love or support or trust.
- Marriage is not something you just jump into. Anyone that tells you that you “have to” get married just because he’s in the military must not think very highly of marriage.
- There might not be a ring on your finger to symbolize your commitment but if you’re truly committed, do you really need one?
- Use this time to enjoy your love without worrying about the “business” of marriage.
- Some may call you foolish, crazy, or naive. “A successful woman is one that can build a strong foundation from the bricks that are thrown at her.”
- “You didn’t choose this life, you chose HIM”.
- You’re going on a life journey with another human being and that means compromise and sacrifice. But it also means love, companionship, trust, and mutual respect.
- You’re not giving your life up for him. Think of it this way “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell.
- “True Love doesn’t mean being inseparable. it means being separated and nothing changes.”
Above all, you’re not “just” an Army girlfriend.