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NEWS | Dec. 1, 2015

Military marriage: A battle of its own

By Senior Airman Aubrey White 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In 2014, five percent of the U.S. military population was dual-military married couples, a small figure in comparison to 46.4 percent of military members married to civilians, according to the Department of Defense.

Being a civilian spouse married to a U.S. Service member can be a taxing experience when deployments, temporary duty assignments (TDY) and permanent changes of station (PCS) are in the forefront of life. With dual-military couples, the commitment to the nation doubles, often separating families for extended periods of time while one member returns from duty just as their partner takes off.

"First and foremost, 'mil-to-mil' couples are unique in that they both are united not only in marriage, but in their desire to serve our country," said Aillen Ford, outreach manager for the Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE), Virginia, Family Advocacy Program (FAP). "They have a shared cause both at home and in what they do professionally. The shared sense of purpose is just one way couples can connect and be resilient."

Know what to expect

Before entering into a military marriage, it's important to have realistic expectations of the scenarios dual-military couples can anticipate, according to Military OneSource. Some of the challenges these families face include: separations due to deployments and remote assignments; accepting less-desirable jobs just to stay together; and having to ask for extra help from friends, family and caregivers.

"Although all couples with at least one active-duty member share the stressor of deployments - dual-military families have the additional stressor of what happens if both must be deployed," Ford said. "On the other hand, 'mil-to-mil' couples might understand each other's work related stressors better too."

Because of the unique pressures dual-military couples face, the FAP, Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC), and the Army Community Service (ACS) provide a variety of resilience services geared toward supporting these families-in-arms.

The following lists of programs are available at JBLE:


A&FRC services

 -Personal, Work and Family Life Program
 -Give Parents a Break
 -Military and Family Life Counselors
 -True Colors
 -Armor


ACS services

 -The Army Family Action Plan identifies concerns of standards of living for active and reserve Soldiers, retirees, surviving spouses, Department of the Army civilians, family members and tenant organizations.

 -The Mobilization & Deployment Readiness program helps commanders, civilians and families prepare for all of the stages of a deployment through workshops and briefings.

 -Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) is designed to build resilience Army families.

Both installations
 -The JBLE Legal Offices contains resources for creating wills and powers of attorney.

 -Chaplains provide counseling and spiritual guidance.

 -The FAP also offers stress management; anger management; parenting; conflict resolution skills; couples communication; and Marriage LINKS classes for military families.

"Taking a class, such as LINKS, together is a wonderful way for couples to learn more about their relationship, how to keep it strong and to build their resiliency," Ford added. "Doing things together, making it a point to spend time together and communicating positively are essential elements of building resilience."

Whether in a dual-military relationship or not, all relationships take effort. Ford said she encourages families to work on self-improvement and take advantage of the services the Air Force and Army provide, even when there isn't a problem in the marriage.

"The constant effort to support each other and improve the relationship is a great way to stay resilient," Ford explained. "The more resilient you are as an individual, the better resilient you can be as a couple and as a family."

For more information about JBLE resilience services for military couples, visit or, and call the FAP at 764-6840 (Langley) or 878-0807 (Fort Eustis).


For the most up-to-date information about Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, be sure to check the JBLEvents calendar; the JBLE Mobile App, available on Android and Apple markets; visit the JBLE Facebook page and follow @JBLEvents on Twitter; JBLEgram on Instagram; and pinJBLE on Pinterest.