Today, I want to share some common challenges for Dual Army National Guard Couples. Sometimes in the National Guard you will find a husband and wife both serving in the National Guard at the same time. While this is by no means a bad thing, it can create a unique set of challenges that most Soldiers don’t have to deal with.
What I want to do in the paragraphs below is share five of the most common challenges that dual National Guard Couples deal with and provide some insights and tips to help deal with it.
# 1 Working Together in the Same Unit – One of the biggest challenges that dual National Guard Couples have to deal with it is working in the same unit. To be quite frank with you, I personally see no reason that a husband and wife should EVER serve in the same unit. That’s just my opinion, but I think it’s a bad idea. If for some reason your Commander lets you both serve in the same unit, make sure you are in different sections and make sure that one of you does not supervise the other person.
# 2 Child Care – If both people have drill weekend on the same weekend, they will need to find child care (if they have kids). Finding child care on the weekend can be difficult to do, so make sure you find someone who is reliable and also have a person on “reserve” or “back up” so you can call them if needed.
# 3 Deployments – Although this goes hand in hand with the previous issue, I think that dual couples need to be prepared for deployments, especially in today’s Army National Guard. Make sure that you have a game plan for your family ahead of time and talk with your spouse and kids to let them know what the game plan is.
# 4 Career Decisions – This is another tough challenge that lots of dual military families deal with. Should you stay in or get out? Should one person focus on raising the kids while the other focuses on their career? At the end of the day, every person and every family situation is different, so the two of you need to TALK and decide who is going to do what. It’s possible for both of you to have a successful, fulfilling career, but it won’t be easy.
# 5 Differences in Rank – Some couples might struggle with the rank differences. For instance, if one spouse is an Officer and the other is enlisted, or if one spouse is higher ranking than the other spouse, this could create problems at work. The bottom line is to always be professional, and while you are in uniform make sure you show the other person the respect they deserve, based upon their rank.
In summary, there are many challenges that dual Army National Guard Couples have to deal with. The five listed above are probably the most common issues. If you and your spouse are both serving in the Army National Guard right now, make sure that the two of you communicate and come up with a game plan to manage your career, prepare your family for deployments, and discuss what each of you want out of your career.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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