Very little about military transition is easy. We all know that the military is more than a career track or job — it’s a lifestyle. And unlike most jobs held by the breadwinner, it intimately involves of the family. If you’re married to a utility worker you likely spend very little time being personally involved in his or her occupation. If you’re married to a military member you entire life revolves around his career field.
Maybe that’s why getting out of the military is so hard on military marriages. According to a study by the Pew Research Center married post-9/11 veterans had a much more difficult time adjusting to transition than those who weren’t married. But the researchers didn’t ask more questions about that, so we don’t know why. They guessed that it had to do with the stress of deployments already making the relationship rocky.
We aren’t satisfied with knowing that little. Because those of us who have been living this life can probably guess other reasons. Moving out of any lifestyle to something completely new and different is hard for anyone, not just the person who had the actual paying job part of it. Transition often involves moving to a whole new location, a whole new pattern of living, potential financial insecurity and so much more.
There’s no way it’s as simple as “deployment caused stress and that stress continues.”
That’s why our (sadly outgoing) editor in chief, Jacey, is looking to study this more. She has organized two surveys — one for military members and one for spouses — to take a detailed look at exactly how military transition impacts military marriages. If we know what is going on we can help policy makers and leaders better assist those going through transition.
And leave whatever additional thoughts you have in the comments!