Living Together In The Military

living together in the military

[Guest post by Tracy Steel. We met online (where else?), and quickly became friends after we realized we both shared similar stories of staying single for longer than we both wanted too. Her story is quite touching and I couldn’t wait to have her share about her life in the military.]

Loving and living with a military man is no easy task.

I realize that you may not be married, or living together in the military– yet all of us are called to love the spouse, family, or friend we live with. This is no easy task either!

But based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, here is what living with my military man in a loving way means:

“Love is patient…”

3 months into our marriage, I found out that I was pregnant. Then my husband deployed into a warzone for 102 days. Over the past 5 years we’ve moved 4 times, birthed 2 babies, and endured the declining health and death of my mother.  Patience towards each other is a must.

“…love is kind.”

The stress of a young family, coupled with the demands of a military in perpetual war, begs for a kind touch or a soothing word.  Fixing something festive for dinner or giving a shoulder rub after a long day does wonders for the morale of our marriage.

“It does not envy…”

Some say the grass is greener on the other side, but it is probably because the other side uses a different kind of fertilizer. Seriously, envy breeds contempt. Envy has no place in marriage, or in friendships. I am constantly fighting the urge to compare my marriage to others. But I trust that God has us exactly where He wants and needs us. In fact, the one word God has given me to meditate on this year is: settle. {smile}

“…it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others…”

As one moves up in rank in the military, it is easy to become conceited. However, rank and influence can be gone in a heartbeat. Chad has taken me to gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery, where countless men and women no longer boast. This reminder is the ultimate testimony that you cannot take rank or power with you when you die.

Boasting then has no place in a marriage, except if it is directed at the greatness of your spouse. So honor them with your words, and make ample effort to do so in front of others.

“…it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…”

Shortly after we were married, the wife of Chad’s commander told me to direct my frustration over deployments and moves at the Air Force, and not onto Chad. This is the best marriage advice I’ve been given!

Her words have replayed in my mind since we journeyed through a short notice deployment, and a 1 day notice to move our family across 4 states for 5 months of training. These “surprises” ruined my plans. Canceling commitments is pure torture for a type-A gal like me.


I am the one who said, “yes” to Chad’s proposal. I chose the military lifestyle. The stressors of life are not Chad’s fault. Likewise, you also made a choice to live with your spouse or friend. With God’s help, we can overcome being easily angered when “surprises” and “stressors” happen.

“…it keeps no record of wrongs.” 

In 2010, I attended the memorial service for Pedro 66 at Davis-Monthan AFB. Five of Chad’s Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) comrades-in-arms had been killed in action after their HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter was shot down by insurgents. This moment, seared into our memories, taught Chad and I that issues cannot come between us. Let “stuff” go… life is too precious and short.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

Living together makes it difficult to hide our un-lovable qualities. They will surface, and when they do, we must ask God to help us rejoice over whom He has created us to be, and who we have yet to become. Scripture is clear that God is transforming us into His likeness (Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). THIS is Truth we can rejoice in, whenever one (or both) of us is acting un-lovable.

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

The motto of the Air Force’s CSAR mission is, “These things we do, that others may live.” Although Chad is trained to pick up downed airmen behind enemy lines, we also mold this motto into our marriage. Chad and I must protect the dignity of each other, place complete trust in each other, hope for one another, and persevere through the tough times.

If we “love” our marriage will not fail. It will not only survive the military, but thrive for “as long as we  both shall live together.”

Tracy is proudly married to Chad, a pilot in the United States Air Force. Whenever they are not being relocated, she loves to drink green tea and watch re-runs of LOST. Tracy graduated from Phoenix Seminary in 2005, and served as the Director of Student Women at Scottsdale Bible Church from 2005-2007. She is also the author of Images of His Beauty, a newly released Bible Study, for young women who struggle with self-image issues and eating disorders. You can find out more information about the study and follow her blog at

[Picture: DVIDSHUB, Creative Commons]