I married into a military family. Kyle’s dad served for around 25 years in the Marine Corps, his grandfather served in the Navy in Korea, and both his sister and her husband are currently in the Marine Corps. I’m not positive that’s the extent of his family’s military involvement, but it’s enough to illustrate my point.
Both of my grandfathers served in WWII and I have a cousin who is married to a Major in the Air Force. While that is some connection to the military, it is certainly distanced enough that the culture and lifestyle of military families is extremely foreign to me. OIC to me is an inside joke with some old roommates relating to the Disney movie Tarzan (Oh, I see), not an abbreviation for somebody in command. Not having to pay tax when we go on base still baffles me, and the idea of having the government pay for housing, utilities, and a moving company to move your stuff for you astonishes and makes me envious in equal measures.
On the other hand, while Kyle considered for a while joining the Marine Corps while we were engaged, he ultimately decided that it wasn’t what was right for his life. As a result, we occasionally have conversations where I need to point out to Kyle that when you’re not in the military, life is different. The other day he suggested packing everything in our Jeep and driving to Virginia next summer to visit his sister before we move to wherever we’re going to end up.
This mentality isn’t completely bonkers to Kyle’s family culture. Every time their family moved (which was about once every three years), movers would pack up and store most of their stuff for up to a month while his family took personal necessities and moved from Virginia to North Carolina by way of Utah while his dad was on leave. They did this because it was the best time for them to visit family who lived out west. This isn’t a bad way to move when you’ve got some of the advantages going for you that the military provides.
But when Kyle mentioned this, I asked him, “And what will we do with all the stuff that we own? We have furniture you know.”
“We can get rid of it, you know, buy new stuff.”
“You want to buy a new bed?”
This made him hesitate. After the bed-buying and replacing fiasco of last year, buying beds is tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot in our marriage. I suspect we may overspend on our next bed to avoid any further problems.
“What about the kitchen table? Or our couch?” I chose to just stick with only the largest pieces of furniture that we own, avoiding mentioning that when we packed up “everything we owned” in our Jeep to move to Arizona that it has caused us to be without a microwave, dish rack, blender, multiple pots and pans, a baby stroller, a computer desk (our dining room table has been sacrificed for the computer because there’s nowhere else to put it; we eat at the coffee table), and the entirety of my shoe collection because dangit, they wouldn’t fit.
This caused further internal hesitation on his part.
“We’re going to need to rent a UHaul to move wherever we’re going unless you think it would really be cheaper to buy completely new furniture where we arrive. You don’t get to keep those trucks indefinitely. If we want to store our stuff we’ll have to pay for it. And then retrieve and move it again. By ourselves.”
“Who moves their own stuff? We’ll get movers!”
“Who DOESN’T move their own stuff? Kyle, only rich people, people in the military, and people whose company pays for them to move. We are likely to be none of the above unless whatever company that hires you wants to pay for us to move.” We are particularly unlikely to be independently wealthy when Kyle graduates.
Ever since we got married, we’ve kind of been at an impasse about how much we want to move. I have absolutely no problem with the idea of Kyle getting a job, working there for 40 years until he retires and living in the same house for 60 years until I die. I acknowledge how unlikely this is, so I’m still willing to move a few times, but I’d really prefer those moves to be few and far between, or few and clustered at the beginning of our marriage. You know, like my family has done. Kyle is still somewhat sold on the idea of moving every couple of years. You know, like his family has done. I not-so-privately think that part of this is because Kyle doesn’t really know what it’s like to move a four bedroom, three bath house with family room, music room, and living rooms that are all filled with your stuff, without the aid of movers.
And since I was on a roll, and I have a bit of an agenda (at least I’m honest?), I continued on. “Do you know how much it sucks to move your own stuff? Packing it all in boxes, putting it onto a truck you’re paying to rent, driving in said truck to your new home, then arriving exhausted to unload and unpack it? It sucks. Badly.” It sucks, even with the help of the Elder’s Quorum, who privately resent all of your canned food storage, buckets of wheat, and your piano.
I could tell that the conversation got him thinking about some of the realities of not being in the military. I suspect that how much we move in our marriage will end up being more of a compromise between our two extreme views of the subject, and more related to jobs than either of our personal opinions. Who knows the future? In the meantime I will continue in my campaign for fewer as opposed to more moves. Because I’m sneaky like that.