Top Military Officials Reveal Their Happy Marriage Secrets

What's the secret to a happy military marriage? These Army officials share theirs'.

Sometimes making it in a long military marriage seems like an impossible task — all those long separations, stressful deployments, sporadic TDY trips, and unplanned late nights really start to wear on you. If you’re going to go the distance, you’ve got to have some tricks up your sleeve … right?

The Army’s two top leaders have both been happily married for more than 20 years. So what are their secrets to making it work?

For Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, the secret is two-fold: communicate and set aside time to be with your spouse, he said at the 2015 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual conference. While he said he may not always be good at keeping the balance, he knows that those two basic tenants are something to always go back to.


“Being able to communicate back and forth, I think, is fundamental to the health and strength of many marriages,” he said. “And then time — you’ve got make time for each other.”

But Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey, said the secret to staying happily married while staying Army is a little bit more complicated for him and his wife than just time and communication. Instead, he said, you both have to love the Army life enough for it to make you happy, and be willing to put up with the pain it can cause.

“I tell soldiers all the time … you’ve got to live this, you’ve got to love what you do and that’s no joke,” he said. “Because if you don’t, unfortunately you have to do something else. Because you cannot have a happy life without a happy wife.”


Photos courtesy AUSA.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • john bradford

    I heard and saw General Dempsey’s wife and you spew forth about your fabulous life with benefits at a spouse seminar while very young e-1 to e-5 spouses (not me) were crying in the audience regarding their lack of support. You were both uninterested and inattentive,

    This current article highlights four to five white men on a stage who have a host of women and staff to serve them (the unspoken workforce of the enlisted) which my wife and I have witnessed for this ilk, and continues to be reprehensible.

    The fees paid to your publicist and representatives through “non-profits” could be better served as donations towards institutions advocating what spouses need — mental and physical therapy.

    Tell the the truth on what you have witnessed.

  • anon

    where did all the comments go? I miss the old SpouseBuzz…we can’t even have that now…this site is just a buncha bologna now.