Dual-Military Marriages Face Unique Stressors

The number of dual-military married couples has gone up over the past few years. There are now about 84,000 service members who are married to another military member. Because of this increase, a Pentagon advisory committee issued a report in 2017 calling on the Department of Defense to do more to accommodate the needs of dual-military couples.

The good news: Many couples report that, despite the challenges, they’re satisfied with both their military careers and their dual-military marriage. In fact, a handful of studies have found there’s not a greater rate of marital discord for dual-military couples.

But a report from the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services does not that dual-military couples are subject to “unique stressors in navigating their work and family roles because they must contend with family separations resulting from deployments, temporary duty, and Permanent Change of Station.”

(source: “Troops are Marrying Each Other More Often, Creating New Challenges for the Pentagon,” by Steve Walsh, Texas Public Radio: https://www.tpr.org/post/troops-are-marrying-each-other-more-often-creating-new-challenges-pentagon) 

For all couples – military, non-military, dual-military, first-responder – developing a healthy marriage relies heavily on two vital elements coming together.

First, at some point you must draw a line in the sand. In so many words, proclaim to God and to each other, “We are committed to building a Christian marriage and family. Divorce is not an option. We will have nothing of the world’s approach to marriage. We are committed to keep our love fresh, new, and growing—for the sake of our marriage, for the sake of our children, and for the cause of Jesus Christ. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In the way you talk to each other—today and every day, you affirm the fact that you would choose each other all over again. You say to each other, by words and actions, “You are my one and only.”

Second, God took you at your word when you said your wedding vows and is working through you to fulfill that commitment. Your marriage will grow deeper and stronger because God will empower you to strengthen your marriage. The two of you are not alone in this battle to ward off the world’s twisted view of marriage because yours is a marriage of three—you, your spouse, and Jesus. We urge you both to settle for nothing less than God’s best in your relationship.

Here are some other guidelines for building a thriving marriage:

  • Assist your spouse with his or her more menial tasks, such as making the beds, taking out the trash, cleaning, yard work, or whatever.

  • Communicate how important your spouse is when you talk about him or her instead of grabbing the spotlight for yourself. Always speak positively and constructively about your spouse around your children. When you are with other adults, make a point to bring up complimentary tidbits about your spouse. And you should share your positive comments as generously in private—alone with your spouse—as you do in public.

  • Never berate, demean, or humiliate your spouse in public or private.

  • Try to outdo your spouse with courtesy and kindness.

  • Make time alone a priority. Nothing says ‘You are number one in my life” like putting your spouse first with your time. And nothing communicates second-class status (or third or fourth) more than elevating your schedule and activities above time spent with your spouse. You would be wise to carve out significant portions of your week for one-on-one conversation

  • If you want your marriage to thrive for the long haul, you can start by putting your spouse first.

*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!