How to Navigate a Short Engagement When Your Fiancé is Deployed

I'm so excited to be featuring an interview with our friends Allison and Thomas today! We met through a church life group, and Taylor and I have watched (and admired) as they have grown through several different seasons—deployments, graduations, moves, job changes, and more!

photos: Amy Daring Photography

We actually got to know Allie while Thomas, a Marine, was still deployed. At the time, I was a little in awe of the fact that she continued to regularly attend our couples Bible study despite her husband's absence. While I would like to believe I'd do the same if Taylor was serving in the military, I think the reality is that I would frequently back out of couples-centric commitments, bounce on community, and bury myself in unhealthy pastimes like mindless social media scrolling and drowning in my own self pity. Allie is a rock/star, though—as in, a rock AND a star—and continued to show up, engage, and build community on behalf of both herself and her husband until Thomas returned. Wow. 

In short, I just love their hearts for the Lord and for each other. If you're engaged to someone in the military and doing a little unconventional wedding planning of your own, I know you'll find encouragement in their short engagement story! 

Marriage and the Military: How to Navigate a Short Engagement When Your Fiancé is Deployed

Allison + Thomas | United States Marine Corps

How long was your engagement?

We were engaged for 7 months.

What made you decide on a shorter engagement timeline?

We were so ready to start our life together—but to be completely real, it’s also when Allison's lease was ending. 

Was Thomas home or deployed during your engagement? How did that impact your planning process?

Thomas was gone for 4 out of the 7 months we were engaged. Two of which, we had absolutely no contact. That forced us to talk early on though, and I knew what was important to him and what kinds of things weren’t as important. That allowed me to make decisions, if necessary, when we couldn’t communicate in that moment.

Best and most difficult part of being engaged:

The best part was the anticipation of finally getting to do everyday life with each other. The hardest part was trying to please our families’ wishes and desires for our wedding day.

Best and most difficult part of being married:

The best part is being truly known on such an intimate level, and being loved despite your imperfections. The most difficult part is realizing how selfish we can be and dying to the mindset of life being just about you.

What is the number one thing military brides-to-be should know while planning their weddings?

Make sure your fiancé is in open communication with his chain of command as you plan dates and timelines for your special day. Also, having the ability to adapt and change plans with grace will serve you, your spouse, and your marriage well.

Beyond the wedding and looking toward marriage...what do military brides-to-be need to know about the life they are committing to? How can they mentally and emotionally prepare for this?

My advice to any military bride is that when you say "yes" to someone that is in active duty, you are essentially saying "yes" to this lifestyle. You are saying yes to many lonely nights and meals for one. You are saying yes to missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and more. You are saying yes to so much sacrifice, and sacrifice is not glamorous. But, you are also saying yes to multiple honeymoons (AKA every time they come home from being away). You’re saying yes to the honor of supporting and sacrificing time away so that every person in our country can live in freedom. You are saying yes to being a physical and emotional safe haven for them to come home to. What an honor.

Is anyone else openly weeping right now? Pin Allie's beautiful words below, and be sure to download a free copy of our 6-month planning timeline, soon as you've dried your eyes and can see straight again. 



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