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Hi and welcome back to Coffee with Clare everything Thursday! I am so glad you are here today! 

Dear Clare:

My husband, Jeff, has been in the Navy for 10 years.  We have been married for 5 years, and we had our first child, Stuart, now age 3, while we were stationed over in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We recently got transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, for 3 years of sea duty.  As you can imagine, military life (especially sea duty when my husband is gone for 6 to 8 months at a time) is no picnic – especially when you start a family.  I’ve been through two “deployments” since Stuart was born.  It’s tough being both parents, while working and not having your spouse.  Not only is it difficult, it can be very lonely much of the time.  I want Jeff to get out of the Navy but still stay in the Reserves.  He has about another two years left of his enlistment, and I just want him to get out!  We are arguing over this constantly as Jeff wants to stay in for at least 20 years, so he can get his retirement.  I am tired of sea duty, constantly moving and all the upheaval. What can we do?   

Signed – Discouraged Navy Wife (the toughest job in the Navy) back view of young military family isolated on white background

Dear Discouraged:

This is a very difficult decision, and my husband and I went through this, too, before we had kids and had only been married about a year at that time.  My husband, Michial, already had 9 years in the Navy – but we chose to get out of the Navy as we knew we would have to pick up and move every 2 – 3 years, and the idea of “sea duty” while raising a family was not very appetizing to me. Did we make the best decision?  I am not sure…. And I sure would have liked that Navy pension after 20 years right about now!  But those were different times (early 80’s) and I can’t tell you for sure if we made the right decision…. But I do know, each family has to do what they think is RIGHT for them.

And it’s important to try to be “on the same page.”  You need to really sit down with your husband and discuss all the “pros” and “cons” of getting out …or staying in for the long term.  Express to him how you feel and why.

And ask yourselves, does he have skills and training that can be transferable in the civilian world?  What are your alternatives?  Encourage him to check out all college benefits and VA benefits now.  It is important to get as much education as possible (such as using tuition assistance benefits) as he can while he is still in the military.   If he has military schooling that may translate into civilian employment, look at what potential employers are paying for these skills; will the wages be enough to support a family?  Do the potential employers offer healthcare benefits?  If so, what will this cost?  Have you thought about where you want to live?  What city and state?  How is the employment market, schools, wages and cost of living where you might want to live?  Would your family be better off in or out of the military?

These are big decisions, and if he really wants to stay in, you may have to adjust your thoughts and support towards him.  You could suggest, let’s review our options and discuss them again in six months.  You might also want to talk with other military wives (within your church community, or even online support or chat groups) to see how others are handling the challenges you have mentioned.  Some Navy wives believe that getting involved with people in the civilian community, or working to get orders in the same location (home base), helps to make the Navy a little more family friendly, and a little less lonely.

It’s important to be – and stay – open and honest with him about how you feel.  Good luck!    

Readers – any suggestions for “Discouraged Navy Wife”?

Thank you for stopping in today!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at:   I would love to hear from you!

Until next time~


Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Chris Carter says:

    Oh this sounds so hard to manage! I am so sorry you are in such a tough place with this decision and so divided about it. When you married him, did you know he wanted to remain in the Navy and not go into reserves? I think if you did, that may be the important factor here. You married him and chose to live this life, despite how difficult it is. Things CAN change, but honoring who he is and his passion may be best, if this was who he was when you said “I do.” to this life with him.

    I love the advice Clare gave- find support! And pray pray pray for God to work on BOTH your heart and your husband’s in this matter. Honor your husbands feelings as you forge through these tough conversations and decisions as best you can. Pray for God to offer provision and guidance as you navigate each hard day, until any change comes.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, such important points, Chris, and we appreciate it! Prayer for sure and press through until hopefully change will come! Thanks for sharing!

  • I think she’s only thinking about herself. He signed up to serve his country, and all she is doing is making him feel bad about it and worrying only about herself.

  • Jordyn says:

    I’m such an emotionally needy girlfriend I can’t imagine facing a deployment, especially if there were children involved. I really applaud families and couples that can make deployments work, it takes a lot of courage and dedication! I don’t think I could do it!

    • Clare says:

      I applaud the many families and couples that can make deployments work – it surely takes a special kind of woman… and man….. And truly it does takes lots of courage and dedication. Your words are encouraging and this helps for sure!

  • This is a cool idea to do every week! What a wonderful ministry!

  • Kusum says:

    Its really sad that families have to go through such hard times all because we humans do not know how to live in harmony! I just hope there is an end to all of this. Great initiative!
    xx, Kusum |

    • Clare says:

      I hope there is an end to this for them too and they can get into agreement… but it is not an easy decision for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  • Joy says:

    This is such a tough one. I love the sound advice you give, here. My brother did a tour overseas while dating his now wife. When he returned, he finished school, got engaged, got married, and now has his dream job as a DNR officer. He is no longer on active duty and I think it was the right decision for them. Like you said, it’s important to take both partner’s concerns into consideration. I don’t think it’s fair to say that he needs to serve his country over his wife. Both are important and deserving of time, respect, and commitment. You can do both, but maybe not at the same time. Depends on the couple! Again, very cool series!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Joy! I think it does depend on the couple and this is a tough situation…. especially when you start a family and everyone is not on the same page! I hope they reach peace soon!

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