How to be a Military Spouse Part 1: Mil to Mil

You’re one of the lucky ones if you can serve alongside your spouse in the military. Less than 10% of service members are dual military couples. It’s a unique experience that can either create a close bond or become too stressful to endure. Finding a work-life balance that suits both service members is the key to a strong and successful marriage.

Share the Responsibilities:

Just like in a civilian marriage, each spouse has to do his or her share and pick up the slack when needed. When one service member has to work 12-hour days due to an upcoming inspection, the other member may need to take over trash or dinner duty. It’s about helping one another when times are hard.

Emergency Contact:

Service members know that the military has to be the top priority in their life. With a civilian spouse, the service member can almost always depend on them to take care of their home and children. If both members are military, they have to have back up childcare in case both members get called for duty. If family doesn’t live close, consider close friends or church members.

Military FamilyDifficult Career Choices:

It can be difficult to make future career decisions when you’re married to another military member. To advance in your career you have to sacrifice personal time for professional time. When you are both putting in the hours to train, study or volunteer, it can take away from date nights or weekend travel. If you want a specific duty station you may have to volunteer to take a remote assignment for a year in order to get it. Communicate with your spouse to determine if the sacrifice will be worth it.

Time Apart:

Being married to another military member practically guarantees that you will spend time apart. Whether it’s different duty stations, TDYs, or deployments the time will come when you have to be separated. Thankfully technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected while you’re away. Develop a system that you can use through any time apart. Find out what works best for both of you; it could be emailing throughout the day or Skypeing every night before bed.

Knowing What They’re Going Through:

Everyone comes home after a long day and likes to vent to his or her spouse. Nothing will make you more frustrated during your venting than having to explain acronyms or explain the rank structure. Even if your spouse doesn’t work in the same field, they can understand why you’d be mad that an E-3 was trying to bark orders to a room full of E-6s. They can also understand the stress you face on a daily basis from inspections, PT tests, promotion testing and performance reports.

Dual Finances:

Although mil-to-mil spouses have many disadvantages, one big perk is the financial aspect.  Each military member receives housing allowance, subsistence, and basic monthly pay. Along with medical and education benefits, service members can do quite well for themselves. In such an unstable economy it’s a blessing to know that each partner in the relationship can bring home some income.

Mil-to-mil relationships have benefits and disadvantages. There’s the shared bond of knowing exactly what the other one is going through and the possibility of financial stability. However, there are also the hard decisions that have to be made about career progression and the inevitable separation due to deployments or TDYs. It won’t be easy, but if you work together you can become a stronger unit and appreciate each other more than ever.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Emily Ruch

Emily Ruch was born in Minnesota and raised in central California before joining the Air Force at the age of 17. While serving in the Air Force, Emily worked in the Base Command Post specializing in Emergency Management. She didn’t travel the world as expected, but spent time in west Texas, Washington D.C., plus a short deployment in Southeast Asia. Instead of traveling, Emily spent most of her time on education, cultivating friendships with coworkers, and enjoying her surroundings. She was lucky enough to meet her husband of seven years while serving in Texas. Emily left the service after six years and began working as a correspondence coordinator for the Department of Energy. Now she is a stay-at-home-mom with her 10-month-old son and three dogs.
Emily Ruch

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