As if moving to a new town or new state isn’t stressful enough, assuming things about where you and your Marine will be stationed won’t help.  Life has a funny way of working itself out, and you might be surprised to find everything is going to be OK – that is, once you figure out where you’re living.  Here are four things I was wrong about before moving to base.

“It can’t be that big.”
I heard it from people other than my husband that military bases were big, a lot like their own city.  When Jason was stationed in Pendleton, he admitted more than once he had never seen the whole base.  He didn’t have a car until he moved to North Carolina, so it would have been hard to explore it all in California.  The naïve small town girl in me refused to believe Lejeune would be difficult to navigate.  I was wrong, but for every time I get lost, it’s another chance to learn where things are.

“I won’t fit in.”
This is a pretty normal insecurity when you’re undergoing a big life change, like moving out of state or starting a new job.  But the thing is, other spouses know what it’s like on move-in day.  They understand how it feels to be jittery in a new house.  Even if you don’t make friends with every neighbor you meet, almost all of them have “been there, done that,” which is comforting.

“We’ll be able to spend more time together.”
Maybe this sounds cynical, but just having the title of married isn’t going to change your day-to-day life.  It would be ideal to spend all day with your spouse, but it just isn’t practical.  I don’t know if I thought working hours would automatically become shorter, or if our attitudes would change, but my husband and I have to work harder than ever to balance our relationship and careers now that we live together. One way to make time together more special is to set aside plans once a month or so, and include a back-up plan in case of surprise field training or travel, which is what we were blessed with a week after moving in.

"We won’t have a lot of space.”
For some reason, I thought base housing meant small, and in some families, it is, but it’s just the two of us right now.  We were more than lucky to get a lease on a house with three bedrooms, which is two more than I was expecting.  For now, one room is an office and the other is a guest room.  A lot of living on base is luck of the draw, so this is only example, but I’m happy to say I was wrong on that assumption.

If you’re new to the Marine Corps, try dispelling more misconceptions about the Corps, life on base, and other acculturation topics by checking out the L.I.N.K.S program, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!
 


Kelsey Stiglitz received a B.A. in English from Gannon University in Erie, Pa and works as a freelance contributor.  She is married to a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune.