How-To’s of Military Marriage Counseling


We’ve all been there – stuck with our spouse between loud, ahem, “discussions” and trading the cold shoulder. Maybe we feel like we’ve lost the ability to communicate after a deployment, or that we feel stuck in reintegration – still! – after he’s been home for almost a year. “Is the problem me?” you may ask yourself. Or instead you may think, “the problem is definitely him.”

One thing is clear: there is a problem, and the likelihood of you figuring it out on your own is pretty low.

This may come as a genuine surprise, but you’re not alone on this one. Chances are that every military couple, whether they want to admit it or not, has had those moments in their marriage. The question here is over how we choose to tackle it. Do we deal with it on our own, or do we seek help?

As someone who has been there – just as so many of us here at SpouseBUZZ have – let me offer you this free advice: seeking help won’t hurt and, in fact, it may be just what you need. My husband and I have sought military marriage counseling together in the past through an Army referral program, and I actively see a counselor who helps me deal with my own, special personal garbage. Sometimes I think it’s the golden ticket to my sanity.

Getting military marriage counseling does not mean you are on the fast road to divorce. It does not mean that you are weak, bad at being married, a bad person or destined for a life of weepy sessions with a psychiatrist.

Here’s what it does mean: that you are courageous enough to admit you need help. It’s a sign that you know that you are not an expert on life and that you are willing to hear someone else’s ideas. It’s a sign that you want to someday have it all together but, for now, you know that you don’t.

What you can you expect to get out of marital or personal counseling? An hour with an unbiased person who has no desire to immediately take sides on any issue in your life. You’ll get level headed advice on how to handle even the most befuddling of circumstances (believe me — I’ve tested this theory with some real doozies over here).

Best part? Counseling is free – yes, FREE – for every active duty, DoD military service and many National Guard and Reserve members and their spouses.

It’s much more difficult to make excuses not to take advantage of something that is free, isn’t it?

Here’s how to get help for everyday life and relationship problems:

  • Call MilitaryOneSource and get a referral for a face-to-face counselor in your area. This is one of the services I have used in the past. To get the referral you simply explain why you would like counseling the attendant. You can request a local counselor based on religious preference, location, gender and variety of other qualifications. The screening call to get the referral takes about a half hour. You can get up 12 sessions with a private counselor per referral.

Army: Army Community Service

Air Force: Airmen and Family Readiness Center

Navy: Navy Fleet and Family Support Centers

Marine Corps: Marine Corps Community Service

National Guard/Reserve (and their spouses): Call Military Family Life Consultant referral service toll-free at 888-755-9355.

If you need more help (or don’t like the above options) with finding an MFLAC you can call the   DCoE Outreach Center at 866-966-1020 or visit Real Warriors Live Chat for free, confidential help on contacting Military Family Life Consultants. I’ve personally used the MFLAC service and find it to be a really low key way to meet with someone on your schedule and your terms.

  • Call your base chapel. A chaplain’s assistant there should be able to refer you to your local chapel community’s family support chaplain. This is one way to make sure that you get to meet with a qualified counselor who is also a minister.

Find more information on marriage counseling at here.

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.

4 Comments on "How-To’s of Military Marriage Counseling"

  1. Wow great post! My husband and I just started counselling via MOS and are really liking it so far. It's tough though since the stigma is still so strong for military couples. Counselling is nothing to be ashamed about!

  2. jacey_eckhart | February 23, 2012 at 11:29 am |

    I think counseling in a military marriage is like getting a tune up for your car. Every 100,000 miles, you gotta go in and make sure everything is up to speed.

  3. Part 1.
    We went to a counselor in November of 2004 after a great disaster in our marriage. She gave the best advice ever… "This relationship has to be over. You have to close that book and end the bad. Then you can start over. Whether "You Choose to start over together or seperate is your choice and I will be here either way." That was the hardest choice of my life… But We did chose to start over together.

    to be continued….

  4. Continued from part 1… (someone please expand the max character count!!)

    I remember praying when I was about 17 (1989) that I find a man to love me as much as my Grandpa loved my Grandma. This was while I watched him puree food for her as she battled cancer and a stroke. I now know that God was like Kevin Kostner's character in For Love of the Game… late in the game w/ a tired arm… but a young rookie up to bat looking to end his perfect game… the catcher calls for a fast ball and Kostner shakes him off but then realizes that he'd crush off speed… so he tells himself, "this is going to hurt a little bit" and thows the perfect fast ball and strikes him out. God listened to my request and said, "Rookie, this is going to hurt a little bit, but here is exactly what you asked for. You just have to work hard (including counseling) and trust me to get it". Today, We have an amazing marriage. Hope my share will encourage someone to get counseling, it's the best thing we ever did!

Comments are closed.