How To Work With Your Spouse in the Military

I always felt lucky to be able to work in the same career, and even the same office, as my spouse. We actually met while I was in training at one location and he was on his way out the door to another location. We’re not alone, over 20% of all relationships start in the workplace. It’s easy to see why; you’re trapped with the same people for eight hours a day, five days a week, trying to make it to Friday afternoon.

Separate Spaces

When my husband and I were first at the same base we both worked on the console, which meant shift work, 12-hour days and nights. Our management helped us by scheduling us for opposite shifts on the same days. So, he’d work from 6am-6pm and I’d work from 6pm-6am. It worked for us, because we’d have our days off together.

After a few years, my husband started working as the lead on a program that was run from our office, while I stayed on the console. He began a 7:30am-4:30pm job, while I was still doing shift work. This was where things got a little difficult because we were around each other a lot during work hours. We had to establish boundaries and understand each other’s authority. It was important that we never undermine each other in front of coworkers.


There were plenty of positives about working in the same office, we could see each other often, share lunch, complain about the same people, but there were a lot of drawbacks.

  • For one, the stigma of an office couple is a battle to endure. People always had their opinions on whether office relationships should be okay or not. They had usually seen couples break up and leave the office a war zone.
  • It always took a lot of planning to get the same time off. Since we were shift workers, someone always had to cover our shifts. This is hard enough with one person.
  • We could never work the same shift or on the same program. This was a rule from one of our chiefs. He would simply not allow us to work too closely. While we were very professional, it was probably for the best. It was a good precedent to set.
  • You can’t be mad at work. You can’t bring in an argument that you haven’t finished to the work place. You have to find a way to accomplish the mission.

Make Sure It’s Legal

In the military, there is a zero tolerance policy on fraternization; which is when an officer and enlisted personnel become more than just friends. Each branch has different standards and conditions of fraternization. There’s a certain point when lines get blurred and it harms the mission.

Also, make sure your relationship doesn’t become unprofessional. When my husband and I first started dating, our Command Chief had a big issue with it even though it wasn’t technically unprofessional. He wasn’t my supervisor, or in any management status, we were simply coworkers. Thankfully our immediate chain of command didn’t have an issue with it, mostly because he was PCSing in two months.

Leave Work at Work

We had a pretty good system where we would not talk about work when we got home. There was enough time to discuss things while in the office, so there was no point to continue them on our own time. Although, if there were a particularly stressful or eventful day, we would fill each other in on what happened. It was nice to not have to explain acronyms, personalities, and operating procedures to someone.

The chance that you’ll meet the love of your life at work is fairly high. As long as it’s okay with your chain of command, and doesn’t interfere with the mission, follow your heart. Be prepared for lots of hardships, opinions, and explanations. Establish boundaries and expectations early on to have a successful, lasting relationship.

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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