By Elizabeth Sekkes
It should come as no surprise that young military couples are deciding to get married before one or both of those involved leave for active military service. After all, as horrible as it may sound, the end results of the military term are not guaranteed to be favorable.
There are also certain benefits in marrying before deployment for the spouse of an active military member, such as medical coverage and money benefits, in the unfortunate event of he or she dying while in active service.
Sue, a junior Philosophy major who did not want her full name used in the article, was previously involved in the military and said that ensuring medical coverage and monetary benefits for one’s loved ones is a common priority among active service members.
“What we’ve seen is a lot of young soldiers being deployed at the time and they wanted to protect their loved ones,” said Sue. “And maybe realized that they really loved this person and didn’t want them to miss out on any opportunities while they were gone for the benefits that soldier’s families can receive while they’re gone.”
Despite its perks, some members of the military look down on hasty marriages before deployment, because they are not guaranteed to work out once the service member returns from active service.
Willie Roberge, a current E4 Specialist and junior History major said that while some swift military marriages may work out, they are generally not the best decision to make.
“I know a lot of people got married before getting deployed,” said Roberge. “I honestly think that some people it works out fine, but a lot of people they’re making a hasty decision.”
Roberge said marrying before deployment can complicate situations, because in some instances what would normally have been a relationship which would have ended once he or she returned from active military service, would now be a joyless marriage that would need to be resolved somehow.
“It’s not always the best,” Roberge said.
Sue said the military now recognizes these abrupt marriages are taking place, and they are likely to be a problem once a military term has been completed. In response to this problem, the military has created marriage restoration programs.
“When soldiers come home from these deployments there are a lot of steps taken to ensure that the relationship is solid,” said Sue. “In the guard they have these retreat weekends.”
Surprisingly, the younger generation continues to express that marriage would not be a first option, regardless of a partner’s affiliation with the army.
Tori Sarsfield, a sophomore Education/Communication major said that she would probably not marry her boyfriend before he left for service, if he was in the army.
“I don’t think the benefits are necessary at such a young age,” said Sarsfield. “You can still be bound in a relationship with them. It doesn’t have to be through marriage. If he proposed, I wouldn’t have the wedding before he left; I would be engaged and faithful to him the entire time he was gone.”
Spencer Lord, a senior Communications major, personally challenged the definition of marriage as something that does not necessarily align with what is felt between two people.
“Marriage is just a term,” said Lord. “Whereas as long as your emotional ties to each other are strong enough to last, the term ‘marriage’ shouldn’t be an issue.”
Roberge said if he had married his wife before leaving for Iraq, his reasons for doing so would be based primarily on feeling secure in their relationship, rather than urgency or the unknown.
“If I knew my wife before I left for Iraq I may have married her before I left,” said Roberge. “Sometimes you just know, sometimes you don’t.”
Sue said that her reasons for marrying were simply due to wanting a family.
“I had been in the military for about fourteen years already when we got married,” she said. “It was just time to settle down.”
While careful consideration is important, Roberge said waiting for ideal conditions before marrying is also a pointless action.
“Some people wait for the perfect time to get married. It’s not a space shuttle launch,” said Roberge. “It doesn’t have to be perfect to get married.”