25 Nov 2014
Marriages and the Military
“Military divorce rates rose by .1 percent -- to 3.4 percent -- during fiscal 2008, with 492 more divorces than the previous year, Army Lt. Col Les’ Melnyk, a Pentagon spokesman, reported. Military-wide, 25,750 marriages ended in divorce last year” (Miles). The numbers speak for themselves; thousands of military marriages are ending all over the world. Marriage itself is hard, but spouses who have significant others in the military also have other obstacles to overcome such as deployments, being away from home, and in some cases spouses with PTSD. On the other side there are plenty of reasons why getting married to someone in the military can have advantages such as health benefits, BAH, and secure employment. The military provides support groups and organizations to help families stay together during difficult times in the military. Although the military cannot help every marriage, it is important that the couple is aware of ways to help reduce divorce rates
Marriage is hard as it is, but when you look at marriages in the military it is on a whole different level. Being married while in the military or married to someone in the military is tough for various reasons such as deployments, not being together on holidays, and being away from family. “Tracking the marital status of more than 460,000 U.S. service members between 1999 and 2008, researchers found that the specter of divorce increased with each passing month that a spouse was away at war”(Manfer). Many people don’t realize what goes on during a deployment and how the factors for divorce seem to multiply. First service men and women are told that they will deploy months before they will have to leave overseas which gives little time to prepare their families for the time apart. While they are gone the communication is little and the time differences makes it nearly impossible. Finally when they are back although it is the happiest day for both the spouse and the solider it is hard to make that adjustment. Although these factors can be present in marriages they are intensified while married to someone in the military.
During deployments spouses miss out on holidays, birthdays and sometimes the birth of their new child. It may be hard for new spouses to cope with and may be even frustrating feeling like they cant spend these special moments with the one they love the most. The days that were missed cannot be recreated and spouses have to be able to adapt to this lifestyle of not knowing when or if they will get to spend the next holiday together. Then as if deployments weren’t hard enough the life after deployment continues to be an issue that couples face on how to get back to that life of living in the same household. While the soldier's been away, the spouse may have become more independent. Everything he's used to changed and he may not be sure where he fits into the family situation. Again communication can help resolve this issue for spouses to be open to discuss the changes and how they can help one another with this transition. Providing mutual support can help military couples tighten the bonds that were stretched during the their time apart.
Military life can stretch even the best of marriages to their limits. Between the frequent and lengthy separations with limited communication, the personal transformations experienced individually because of those separations, and the challenges of reintegration as they learn how to live together again, they have their work cut out for them as these obstacles can sometimes overshadow the feelings they felt toward their spouses before the military stepped in.
Recognizing the hardships military life often imposes and the challenges it can place on family relationships is important. As military services are aware of these struggles they provide a range of programs to help relationships stay strong. The programs are