Dual military relationships aren’t easy. When your career takes the bulk of your time you have to work extra hard to communicate and keep the spark alive.
Life as a dual military couple means facing challenges that others couldn’t even dream of.
Some couples struggle living together, but could you imagine opposing deployment schedules?
Loving a service member takes work. It takes passion. It takes eagerness.
Dual Military Relationships– The expectations and realities.
The following statements are real stories from couples willing to share about their dual military relationships. I included stories from the viewpoints of married couples as well as couples that are just dating.
These statements are real and unedited.
Dual Army Couples
I would say the benefits to a dual military relationship are definitely the ease of communication as far as understanding, but sometimes it can foster unhealthy competition, judgment, resentfulness, and misunderstanding. When you are trying to look at the benefits of being in the military with someone, it does have the effect to make sometimes sweeter, but I feel like it is so hard because you will become accustomed to being independent… Then have to re-custom yourself to being dependent when you live together… Which can make your space often feel cramped because you were used to doing everything on your own, and then you have to get re-accustomed to someone being there. And then you do it all over again, repeatedly, together or apart together or apart together or apart. It’s a never ending cycle of a consistently changing atmosphere for your relationship. You absolutely have to be malleable and completely aware of your feelings before they tunnel or you’re too far gone. Awareness is key!AD Army Spouses
My husband and I met in the military at Ft Riley, KS. We have been married for almost 2 years and together for 3. I have an older son, and together we just had a baby girl 5 months ago. The positive about being dual military is we both understand each other’s career path, jobs, and everything else that comes with the military. We speak the same lingo, so it’s a lot easier than having to translate from military language to civilian language. We enjoy encouraging each other to make it to the next rank. Everything is a fun competition for us. We always know what to expect!AD Army Spouses
The negative about it is, the deployments, the rotations, the 30 day fields. Since we aren’t close to family it’s kind of scary trusting people with our kids. It sucks. one will always miss out on something in the kids life if not both. You always have to have a back up plan for everything. You learn that the Army is not really family first. Sometimes it’s hard to adjust with one parent being gone all the time. It feels like it’s go, go , go and never a time to be a family or to even be a married couple. This lifestyle is very rough and can either make or break a marriage. It’s hard to plan vacations because you can never predict the future of the military.
So I can tell you about doing a military relationship from both sides. The dating relationship and the marriage. I was married for two years and we dated for five and to be candid he had very… unhealthy and unforeseen habits… to put it lightly. For personal reasons, I really needed to get out. So I did. It took an insane amount of courage and even if it doesn’t sound humble, I’m proud to admit it. It was not easy in any way shape or form. We spent three of the five years we were together doing long distance between Texas and Pennsylvania, only seeing each other every couple of months. The unique part about a military military relationship when you are stationed two different places, is that it is often too exhausting to update the other person consistently about all of the minor things happening in your life. But when you stop updating them about the minor things, it makes it harder to explain the major things because they don’t have the details. It is easy to grow resentful and foster bitterness because they miss events, they aren’t there to hold you at night after a rough day, or there is just too much pressure when you are finally together… And because that time is so slim, the whole time it feels like you’re on the clock. The pressure for it to be an amazing visit is sometimes overwhelming and has quite the opposite affect. It makes it very hard to communicate. And you often want to isolate yourself from those around you because you can’t find anyone who also relates to your pain.Ex AD Army Couple
As for when you are stationed in the same place, there are definitely benefits. It’s nice to be able to explain to someone what’s going on at work and have them actually understand what you’re talking about. You don’t have to explain something and then go into another bit for 5 to 10 minutes explaining what acronyms or phrases or policies are and why they affect you. However, I do not want to skip over what I suffered through. I think divorce is ugly and I don’t think it’s what God wants for us and I absolutely pity anyone who has to go through it. It is awful— no matter the reasons for the separation. But there is such a stigma in the military that people get married too young, or too fast, or get divorced too easily, which I feel like pressures people to stay in relationships that they shouldn’t be in just because they will receive so much guilt. Some people receive guilt for not having anyone, and some people receive guilt for leaving someone they really shouldn’t be with. It’s very hard to keep that part of your life private.
Dual Air Force Couples
My ex husband and I met in the Air Force in the 80s. Back then it was like life in a fish bowl because transportation was scarce, and you had to drive an hour to “go on a date”. We only knew each other a short time before we got married. I don’t think it was the military side of things that set us in a downward spiral.. We just weren’t meant for each other. You should really know the person for longer than 3 months before you get married, but being in the military makes you feel like you have to make some important life decisions in a flash. Dual military relationships are challenging.Ex AD Air Force Couple
We met prior to the Navy and have been together 7 years, married for 3. He joined at the end of 2016 and I left for basic August 2019. We work in completely opposite fields: aviation and medical. So our main duties aren’t the same but we speak the same language and have the same thoughts and struggles. Prior to me joining, I had tossed the idea around since high school but we were adjusting to his new schedule and we moved from WA to SoCal, so a new place to call home also. I worked full time and he came and went as his ship did. He also had always wanted to join since high school too and we both just put it off for a while thinking other lines of work or jobs would make us happy. At 24, he enlisted and I at 26. I decided to join so I could make my own way and to feel like I had more of a purpose. He feels the same way. It’s been great financially and the experiences are definitely interesting. But the biggest con is time. There’s never enough of it and when you’re apart it seems to drag. Before I left for RTC, he was home in time for us to have 9 days together. He and I haven’t seen each other since the holidays and won’t again for quite awhile since he is deployed again, round 2 for him.AD Navy Couple
Marriage itself is hard but adding in these extra stressors can make it harder. The biggest thing we do is have 100% open communication. There’s no dishonesty and we try not to argue though it happens. It’s made us stronger though and we’ve learned how to have what would normally be face to face encounters over email or quick calls or letters even. We’ve become more appreciative of the time we do get together and we are more interested in making memories and going on adventures together versus physical objects. We miss a lot of each other’s big moments i.e. birthdays, awards but at the end of the day we have to think about what our big goals are one day- like buying a house, having a family, advancing our naval careers, going to college, so that helps keep our sights aligned and keeps us focused. We’re doing this FOR our family, for each other and for ourselves.
Couples in different branches
We couldn’t do it. Sometimes I wonder what could have become of my military career if I had experienced it without getting married. We met in the service when we were young, dumb, and decided to get married. I was a higher rank than he was, and I think other people held that over his head. He developed a jealousy towards me, and demanded I leave the army. I did it. I regret that everyday.Ex Air Force/ Army Couple
We met after we were both military – I was active duty for the National Guard and he was active duty Army. Our first two years together we were actually stationed several states away from each other. Although it wasn’t the easiest way to maintain a relationship it was well worth the work! There was always this insane excitement during our short trips to see each other and we appreciated every single minute together. Now that we are married and live together, looking back to those trips – I can see it even more. This dual military lifestyle is a lot of work but the challenges it brings to our relationship makes us come out stronger with each new one we face!National Guard / Army Couple
If you are interested in sharing what your life is like in your dual military relationship, then please let me know! You can make a comment on this post or reach out to me on one of my social media platforms.
Dual military relationships deserve their time in the spotlight.
Thank you for all of your sacrifices!
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