CAMP ARIJAN, Kuwait — Dual military couples have unique stressors that other married couples do not necessarily face. But these challenges do not prevent many dual military couples from having happy, healthy, successful marriages throughout their military career.
Deployed U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers Sgt. 1st Class Bennie Pringle, a maintenance management sergeant, and Sgt. 1st Class Sharla Pringle, an operations sergeant, serving with the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command celebrate thirteen years of marriage this year.
The couple met while deployed in Iraq, serving with the 520th Movement Control Team in 2008 and later married in 2010. Thirteen years later, they are deployed as husband and wife in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
They have each deployed twice, separately, since they’ve been married. Having a shared knowledge of what it’s like to be deployed has helped them establish boundaries that assist with work-life balance.
“We have a routine because we are around each other so much in this environment. When we get off work and come out of the building, we have dinner and talk about work. When we get to the room, we’re done talking about work,” Sharla said. “By the time we get to our room, we’re talking about family, finances and everything else.”
Sharla shared how planning is key in their marriage, which is why the couple tries to keep their downtime activities like what they would do outside a deployed environment.
“It’s easier for me this time because she’s here with me,” Bennie said. “We have date nights, which might be a movie night, depending on what’s playing,” Bennie said.
“We also go off-post,” Sharla said. “I enjoy it because it’s an opportunity for us to be out and be together.” She explained that even in marriage one must be intentional and continuously date.
The Army has offered dual-military couples possibilities to pursue their purpose and build a lifelong community.
Sharla conveyed that had it not been for the Army she would not have had the opportunity to meet her husband because of how different their backgrounds were. “In the early '90s, you didn’t see a lot dual-military couples. The Army has made it possible for marriages to grow.”
Bennie expressed that he’s grateful that there are resources available to married couples and their families in the Army. “There’s a community of married Soldiers even in this environment that also provides support. I see that we can both be in the Army and accomplish the same goals that we had when we were single, but together as a married couple. One career doesn’t have to stop for either one of us to succeed.”
The Pringles represent the three percent of dual military couples serving in the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard.