In no particular order, here’s a common topic military couples may fight about.

The Future
You talk to military couples and you’d probably be surprised how many of them don’t have plans for “the future”. When I say “the future”, it really means “after he or she leaves the military”. You know, when you’re just… regular people. You think about your situation financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. What will the job market be like? Will your roles reverse? Where do you guys want to live? If you don’t agree by a certain time, the “future” might just sneak up on you.

If you have kids, you’ll have to think about their future as well. I wanted to pay for our kids college as my parents helped me. My husband wants to transfer some of the GI bill to them, and not pay a cent (because he had to figure out a way for himself for his education.) So thankfully we compromised and agreed that we would pay up to a certain amount, and if our kids go to a more expensive school then that would be on them.

From the spouse’s side, I tend to think “When he’s out, it will be my turn. I will be breadwinner and decide where we live, but he will still have to contribute as I did”. When my husband wants to retire, he basically wants to do the bare minimum and supplement with his retirement pay. We somewhat agree on what we want for the future, ours is a wait-and-see scenario.

How to resolve:

-Both parties need to explain what their ideal situation is once you guys are done with military life.

-If they are conflicting, work at compromising to meet a happy medium
Remind yourself that something are contingent upon other things and your plans may change.

-Remember that “luck favors the prepared”. I’ve known a lot of families that were blindsided when the military gave them the pink slip, or they were denied that promotion so they couldn’t stay in the military. Things happen, and “the future” may come up sooner rather than later. Don’t rely on that military retirement. Give yourself a better chance with 401Ks, or IRAs. Have a backup plan in place.

-If you guys don’t know the first thing about retirement planning, start here to learn the basic of IRAs.

-Talk about your roles as well. If one partner stayed home, and one worked, will you guys switch places? Or perhaps both of you work? Do you see yourself traveling a lot or staying in one spot?

-Saving enough. There’s a fine balance between living in the moment vs blowing your savings. Find the balance to be able to live comfortably and still build your nest egg at the same time. Almost every active duty person and veteran I know has a USAA account. They have some of the easiest set-ups for additional retirement plans SPECIFICALLY for members of the military.

-Pursue some goals now. Some wait until they’re done with the military to do all the things they want. I say a fun goal during active duty time can still be accomplished. Take that cruise. Run that marathon. Travel to another country.

See other common conflicts military couples have:

The Military
Division of Labor