- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

You gave a female Army major some advice a few weeks ago, and I liked what you had to say. I had to write you for some advice for my dilemma.

I’m a major in the Army, too, but unlike the female major, I’m unhappily married.

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My wife and I married two years ago. We have no children to our union, although she has a child by a previous marriage who lives with her parents. She understood that I wasn’t prepared for a ready-made family. I needed time, so her parents agreed to care for her child, at least for now.

I thought I was ready for marriage, but I realize now that I’m not. I’ve tried to be an honest man, and tell my wife that I don’t want to be married but she doesn’t want to hear my request for a divorce. She keeps crying and saying, ‘What in the world am I going to do, I don’t have a job or any way of supporting myself?’

Here’s my point. I didn’t tell her not to go to college and get educated, and I didn’t tell her not to train to get some real job skills. I don’t think it’s my responsibility to take care of her after our divorce; she is on her own. My mother even told me not to marry her, but I did it anyway. My mother said I wasn’t ready for marriage and she knew my wife wasn’t the one who would steal my heart. According to her, ‘A mother knows these things.’

Ms. Vicki, I am a fast-tracker in the Army and have a stellar career. My last rank was made ahead of my other peers. I just don’t want anything to hold me back from making all of my dreams come true. Any advice would be helpful, as well as anything you think would help my wife.

- Proud Major

Dear Proud Major,

What are you proud of? I’m confused by your letter. You are a fast-tracking officer who is ahead of his peers. But you defied your mother’s wishes and married the woman she objected to. Let’s not forget your wife has a child, whom you don’t have time for because you aren’t ready for a child or a ready-made family. Dude, get real and grow up, OK?

I think the best thing that has come out of this mess is your stepdaughter residing with her grandparents.

You say you are an honest man? I totally disagree; you are not honest. You feel marriage is like Burger King, you can have it your way. Well, wrong. This is real life.

I can’t make you stay in a marriage that you are not happy in. However, it’s time for you to stop hanging on to your mother’s coattails and stand on your own. If you have such a stellar career, get some counseling so your personal life can start reflecting the same.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I read your column often and know you get most letters from military writers, but I hope you can help me.

We are a civilian family and can barely make ends meet. I personally think the economy is very bad. No matter how hard my husband works, it does not seem to pay off for us.

We have been married for eight years and have three children. We often have to depend on our parents to help us out financially. We recently avoided foreclosure.

My husband is a hard worker, and I wish there was more that I could do. This leads me to our problem.

Ms. Vicki, I hear the benefits and entitlements are great in the military. I’ve met a few women over the years who say they have thoroughly enjoyed the many perks military families receive. I am envious because I think this could be us.

I have been telling my husband for over a year to join the Army so we could have a better life with better benefits and receive free housing, better schools, et cetera. But he is refusing. He keeps saying, ‘Are you kidding? I´ll get sent to Iraq and I’m not about to go over there.’ Boy, is he a wimp. So many others are doing it for there families, why can’t he? I hear they are giving great bonuses for joining.

Ms. Vicki, you are a military person, what can I do?

- Unhappy Civilian Wife

Dear Civilian Wife,

I think you should join the Army.

How can you demand this of him? Yes, I’m a military family member. I have great respect for my husband and for others who serve. However, I am humble enough to admit that I could never step up to the plate and serve as they do. I guess this makes me a wimp, too.

Our service men and women are enduring a great sacrifice at this time. I’m sure many have received incentives, but I’ve never met one who bragged about any bonus or entitlement. I think you need to join the military service, or get a job and stop badgering your husband who, by your report, is working very hard in this bad economy.

• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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