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Are Shorter Deployments the Key to Stronger Marriages?

We are all about the love here at SpouseBuzz.  We will try anything to increase the understanding of long-term military relationships and to help couples navigate their way to a happier and healthier romance.

But sometimes we miss the most obvious suggestions.  In a recent blog post about the effectiveness of military marriage programs, a reader pointed out something we had not considered:

Maybe these programs would be worth the money if my husband were ever home to attend. Telling me how to make my marriage better when he is gone 3/4 of every year, sometimes more, seem like a joke. Call me crazy, but maybe making deployments more realistic/less frequent would be the real key to making marriages stronger!

Makes sense to us.  In fact, there is actually some data to back up that idea.  In study after study, family separation has consistently been among the top concerns of military members.  Just like us, our servicemembers worry that if they are gone too much they won’t have a marriage when they get back.

The length of the deployment is especially worrisome to us—with good reason.  According to the Office of the Surgeon General United States Army Medical Command, the length of deployment (but not the number of deployments) does affect how many military members indicate that they intend to divorce when they return to the states.

The longer the deployment, the more likely the soldiers were to seriously consider divorce. This tended to be particularly true among younger enlisted members who were deployed for more than nine months.

Please note:  This didn’t mean that these guys necessarily filed for divorce the minute they stepped on American soil.  The military divorce rate (which is about the same as the civilian divorce rate) has had a very slight increase—but not as much as expected considering a decade of war.

So what’s the deal in the era of the Fiscal Cliff? Do we roll back our international commitments so that we can have more realistic/less frequent/shorter deployments?  Do we roll out more and more marriage programs and insist on attendance?  If you were all about the love like we are, what would you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.

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