Normal adults can not begin to understand how different military life is until you are living it. Even the children of military parents (known as military "Brats") do not understand how different it is from civilian life. Military members and their spouses however are immersed from day one in a new culture with different customs and traditions that can be challenging and even scary at first. But with time (years) and experience, this new life can become fun and exciting as you understand it better and learn about the many "perks" available for military members and their families.
Or, you can read Part I of "A Family's Guide to the Military For Dummies" and skip the years of time and experience and go right to the "fun and exciting" parts.
We, my spouse and myself, entered USAF active duty in 1973 and lived the military life for 20 years. I say "we" because your spouse, even though she may not have a military rank or duty, will have almost as much to learn as yourself, but without the benefit of formal training. For her AND myself, I wish this book had been available for us when we began our 20 year military experience.
Breaking it down for you
Part I covers what makes military life so very different. It explains the obvious differences such as traditions, ceremonies, the jargon, and getting a military ID. It also covers many more subtle differences such as shopping and eating on a military installation and many services (some would call "perks") available for you and your family (some my wife and I did not even know about until we had been in 10+ years)
Part II does a great job of explaining the military pay system, military health and dental care options, and how to take care of your finances, housing and education while in the military.
Parts III & IV cover ways to deal with the aspects of military family life that can be really tough on spouses and kids...the frequent moves, long deployments, and the ever present danger that something could happen while you are apart from your loved ones.
Part V provides a lot of good advice on how to make your move out of the military a good move for you and your family.
Part VI is a great wrap up of the top ten benefits for military spouses, the top ten financial military benefits, and the ten worst scams that military members should know about and avoid.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone (spouse AND military member) about to enter the military or that is in the military now. Even if you have been in the military for years and know everything in Part I, I promise that you WILL learn a lot in Parts II through V that you did not even realize you did not know.
You can purchase A Family's Guide to the Military For Dummies at the following links: