By Ms. Rachael Tolliver (TRADOC)April 23, 2009
Once upon a time, when a Soldier in the Army wanted to get married there was a good chance he would hear someone say, "If the Army had wanted you to have a wife, it would have issued you one."
While the Army certainly didn't issue spouses, its outlook on married Soldiers has changed dramatically.
Just ask Warrant Officer Steven Kambouris and his wife, Staff Sgt. Adrienne Kambouris-who he met while in the Army.
The Kambouris' are both from Baltimore, Md., and they even went to high schools that were about five or ten minutes from each other. But they didn't meet until they were in Advanced Individual Training for their job.
Steven and Adrienne met as privates training for the same job. They were then stationed together in Korea, deployed to Iraq, were later reassigned to Fort Carson Colo., deployed back to Iraq, and then came back to Fort Carson. It was on their second time at Carson that the two decided to get married, after dating for some time-a fact mostly unknown to people around them.
Both Kambouris' were military intelligence systems repairers-until recently when Steven decided to apply for Warrant Officer School.
"Being married to a Soldier makes it easier to share in each others' hardships," Steven explained. "It fosters a sense of understanding since we can relate to many of the same issues we encounter on a daily basis."
"It's a different experience," Adrienne added. "We're definitely more aware of the challenges a Soldier faces in the military because we are both in the Army. But it does take a toll when we have different schedules, or we're training at the same time, or people get the perception that things are happening that aren't."
While they have ups and downs like any other couple, the Kambouris' said married military couples have to work through some different type of difficulties.
"In the Army work environment, it is (important for) the two of us to maintain a professional demeanor around each other, even though we are married," Steven explained. "Many people also see us deploying with one another (as a) large advantage. While we may be able to see each other while deployed, it also puts both of us in the same danger...As a male service member, it's true that I've been able to see my wife while in Iraq. However, I also worry every day about indirect fire attacks on the FOB, and about IEDs while she is on a convoy."
"Whenever we deploy, Soldiers see us together and feel that it's unfair that we are able to see each other," Adrienne added. "That does make us (feel) guilty, but at the same time, those Soldiers know that their spouses are relatively safe at home. We have to deal with both of us being in potential danger."
Outside of the Army, the Kambouris' share household chores, develop interests and hobbies as a couple, and set goals.
Steven has been a fisherman since his childhood, which is something that Adrienne has developed an interest in only since being married. They said they also like other outdoor activities like hiking, playing Guitar Hero on their Nintendo Wii., working out, and both of them enjoy shopping.
"We try to get things done at home in small bits," Adrienne explained. "We have two Husky puppies and they need a lot of attention. We take turns walking them at night and (Steven) usually goes home at lunch time to walk them. He takes out the trash and does some of the laundry, and I take care of cleaning the house and cooking.
"In recent months, Steven has mastered making breakfast. But I think that's about all he trusts himself with. I cook everything else."
"Breakfast has become my meal to cook...and I honestly enjoy it," he said.
Their in-laws still live in Baltimore-fairly close together-and get along fine, the couple said. Steven added that the families know the couple is a military couple who are "here for the long haul."
Both Soldiers want successful military careers-Adrienne wants to become a command sergeant major, and Steven wants to eventually become an officer-and along the way both say they hope to have children, but are "waiting for the right time."
"I also plan to have a bass boat by the time I hit 40," Steven added.
Being married and in the military requires clear goals and communication, Adrienne said, and Steven advised that couples considering the dual military path should be mature enough to be married and know what each other want in life.
"You need to set your priorities in order, and take steps in your careers to educate yourself on how best to achieve those goals, all the while communicating with each other," he said.
"You also need to maintain a professional relationship at work," Adrienne said. "There were several people that we worked with before we were married that didn't even know that we were a couple."
Steven agreed and added that married Soldiers also have the benefit of knowing there is always someone to go to for advice and who understands the other person's point of view-professionally speaking.
"However, you must also be aware of the hardships and worries you will encounter that most other people never will," he said. "And above all else, take care of one another.
"If you've found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, keep in mind that nothing else in life that you may (achieve) will fill the niche in your life and heart that they do."