Melissa Wallace of Camp Pendleton, California is a tall, wispy woman, with a soft voice and gentle smile. The wife of 25-years to a Sgt. Maj. in the Marine Corps, Melissa and her husband John talk wistfully about the life that is soon to be behind them, as Sgt. Maj. Wallace prepares for retirement. Melissa and John were married in 1976. Several years later, following the birth of their first son, John enlisted in the Marine Corps in hopes of finding a better life for his young family. Together the Wallace's have seen four states, two countries and added three more sons to their family. They have survived two overseas tours, one that was unaccompanied, and an average of three deployments a year for the last 20 years. They celebrated their silver anniversary this past fall. There is no doubt that Melissa and John have faced challenges that have crumbled lesser marriages. Yet, looking at them today, there is no doubt they are as much in love as the day they married.

Melissa reflects, "Throughout John's service to the Corps, I've often been asked what it's like to be married in the military. At first thought, I'd reply that marriage is marriage no matter the circumstances. But to say so would deny all the positive effects the military has had on our life together, and there have been many. Marriage in the military is tough. It is full of every challenge and adversity you could imagine. Yet, it's those challenges that make us stronger and ultimately make our marriage better."

Emily Travis can relate to challenges. A new bride of the military, Emily and her husband Todd are currently undergoing a six-month separation, just two months on the heels of their nuptials. Emily is 20-years old and away from home for the first time in her life while her husband, Naval Petty Officer Travis, is "on a big, gray boat, oceans away."