Female Troops and Their Shocking Divorce Rate

Divorce rates among enlisted females are tracking downward. But why? http://wp.me/p1d7d0-8na

Do female troops love divorce?

Probably not. I can’t imagine anyone loving the excruciating pain that is divorce. But the military divorce statistics released yearly by the Defense Department tell a story of a group of people who struggle to keep their marriages together.

Divorce rates among enlisted females are tracking downward. But why? http://wp.me/p1d7d0-8na

Ever since I won a journalism fellowship in 2010 to study and write about military marriage support I’ve been carefully following the military divorce rate. On average for the entirety of the force — men and women, enlisted and officer — the rate pretty much matches what is seen in the civilian world.

You can read more about that over here

But when you start looking at the numbers split up among those groups, the story changes. Far and away those that suffer military marriage problems the most are enlisted female service members.

Here’s the bad news: the divorce rate among enlisted married female troops, 7.4. percent, is still about 2.5 times higher than the rate among enlisted married men — even though there are over 7.5 times as many married enlisted men than women in the service. That’s a big burden for the ladies.

But here’s the good news: The rate among enlisted females is the lowest it’s been in 10 years — even with 2005 rates. At 7.4 percent it is 1.5 percent lower than it was in 2011.

And that has researchers at last saying that yes, there is definitely a downward trend in enlisted female divorces. One year moving downward doesn’t make a trend — neither does two. But three? That’s a pattern.

Now the big question is “why?”

That’s something no one yet has the answer to. But there are a few possibilities.

1. Male spouse self-support may be working.

Male military spouses make up a small fraction of the total military spouse population — somewhere around 13 percent at the beginning of 2014. And about the same break down is true among just the enlisted population. So spouse support services are, understandably, traditionally aimed at women because they serve the majority.

Still, the male spouse population is ever gaining traction. That’s thanks, in part, to private support organizations and the work of male spouses like Chris Pape, who founded MachoSpouse, and Jeremy Hilton, an outspoken military benefits advocate. We are more aware than ever before that there ARE male spouses and that supporting them means supporting their service members and their marriages.

2. Family support from the military is doing the trick:

As the divorce rate climbed between 2007 and 2011 among both men and women, military leaders realized that they really needed to start doing something to better support families who had already dealt with almost 10 years of war and multiple deployments. A myriad of marriage support programs, such as the Army’s Strong Bonds, were paraded out with the hope that they would give exhausted couples the boost they needed. Leaders also started pushing the programs available through MilitaryOneSource, such as the free in-person counseling.

Now, eight years later, we can see that there is a downward trend that appears to correspond with the roll-out of those programs and support. Are they to thank for the rate drop? Perhaps.

3. Females are getting out of the military before getting divorced, skewing the statistic.

According to the data released by the DoD, there were almost the exact same number of married enlisted females in the military at the beginning of fiscal 2014 as there were at the beginning of 2000 — before the wars started. That’s a drop of about 2,600 troops since 2011 when the divorce rate among that group peaked at 8.9 percent.

Since the DoD does not track the divorce rate of those who were formally in the military, there’s really no way to tell if the draw down is what is impacting the divorce rate. It could be that those who are getting out are simply waiting to dissolve their marriages until they do so.

(I sincerely hope that is not what is happening. I like it when people succeed).

4. All of the above.

This seems like the most logical option to me. It’s unlikely that a rate trend like this can be blamed on just one thing — like free marriage counseling from MilitaryOneSource, for example. It’s far more probable that some of these things make the rate go down, others make the rate go up and the result is the change that we are seeing.

Tell us — what are your tricks to staying married in the military?
Photos courtesy U.S. Air Force.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com 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 CNN.com, 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.
  • jojo613

    Here’s my two cents (probably 50 cents), please note I love my husband dearly and I am not saying this to be mean to men…

    A lot of the times men’s egos are tied to being the provider for their wives. Many men (not all, not most) do not want their spouses careers to be center stage. My mom and dad are a perfect example. My dad earned a TON less than my mom. My mom supported our entire family with her job. She even funded my dad’s failed businesses. My dad suffered for years from depression, because he was not the provider and my mom made more than she did. He would undermine her, and try to take the decision making away from her, because his ego was tied to how much he earned. I know in my career with the military it was assumed that I would be the one giving up the career, and my husband was the one who continued on. It was assumed (correctly) that my husband would rise higher in the ranks, faster than I would. If I had stayed in, we would probably be divorced too. In the military usually one career goes– and often times it is not the man’s career. And often times the woman ends up getting out of the military, sacrificing her own ego for her husbands.

    • Katie

      I absolutely agree with you. I am a divorced woman who was married to an officer. I made at the time and still do 3-4 times more than my ex husband. He wasn’t able to come to the terms with the fact that I was the breadwinner, at the center stage in most occasions because of my line of work… And eventually his need to control and be in charge on family matters, especially ones related the financial decisions, drove us apart. When two egos collide, it is likely that the relationship will not last, or it will be very challenging.

      I would imagine several women in the military have strong egos and they are used to be in charge, which can very easily become a battle in a relationship. It takes a lot from a man to be able to put up with a woman who is not sacrificing her ego for a man…..

      • James

        Katie I’m sure more than just me will catch what you just said, ‘when two egos collide’. Here is the thing, What’s being missed, whoever I’m married too, I want them to make equal or more money than me, but when we’re at home, I’m the king. I make the final decision, however I take the advice of my queen, she advises me and leads me to the best decision.

        This can be flipped in anothers relationship, maybe the pants go to the woman, but you gotta pick your spouse correctly-a job is a job, once you come home it’s a different world.

        • Kevin

          So, you want her to make AT LEAST as much as yourself but ultimately you get final say (being kind enough of course to factor in her input) simply because I assume, you’re the man? Quite the catch right here ladies.

          • Katie

            That sounds a lot like my ex husband :-) And for that very reason he became an ex. Obviously, there are priorities: bills must be paid and food needs to be on the table before anything can be spent to other stuff. And if there are commonly agreed saving plans those need to be taken care first…. But after that it doesn’t matter to me if my husband spent his leftovers the best he sees, and I sure do not need his input on what I do with my income.
            After being married once, I am very hesitant to make the same move again. I have been dating some and there sure are lots of men like James out there – ones who want to be “king” of the house. Well, these kings make this girl run and fast.

        • jojo613

          You made me spit my drink through my nose. Your twice divorced, right? No wonder. There are no kings or queens in my house, we make decisions as partners. And sorry sweetheart, if I’m making more money, I get the final vote. The first time my husband ever pulled that Bullsh!t, I would kick his butt to the curb…

        • Mo

          James, I agree. The terms king and queen usually put a negative, dominating view on things. But it is true that the man is the head of the house.I’m no Bible thumper but truth is truth.

    • ophiolite

      As a woman in a different male-dominated profession, I have observed the same trend. My spouse and I have face a lot of challenges as I have continued to progress in my career, despite the military’s disruptions, and he has progressed in his. As I now make more money than him, it is a challenge to his ego and he is very distressed about it, but we’re working through it.

    • Don

      I would love for my wife to make more than me. That way I could sit around and do nothing all day.

    • Angela Durrett

      Angela Durrett slepted around on her husband while he was deployed. This so called pious women is a whore. She’s minipulative, selfish and narcissistic. She’s a horrible mother and does everything to put down the people around her. She slept with a boy that just turned of age. Hide your children people. She might come after them. Taking advance of the weak and feeble minded is the only way she could get someone to sleep with her fat ass. She uses her God and church as it fits her needs. Don’t walk away from this women. Run!!!

  • household6

    I agree with the statement above. It’s not being judgmental nor a fact describing all men. However, most men’s identity involves their career and how they provide for their family. They need to be needed. Women can feel fulfilled in other roles more easily, such as mother, spouse, homemaker, as well as professional. Societal stereotypes still exist and play a part of this, but the basic psychology of the male brain is also a huge part. (Especially when it comes to such a traditional macho field like the military- they stay home while their wives are soldiers). Frankly, I think it is understandable, don’t we all need to feel needed in some way?

    • CDS

      I remember there was an article somewhere after “50 Shades of Grey” came out that talked about how, as women tend to be objectified for their bodies, men are often objectified according to their wealth or status. Not only is there is a heavy emphasis on men to be a provider, but it tends to specifically focus on providing financially. The pressure is to derive our sense of personal value and worth by the money we bring in.

      Even if they get past the idea of being a sole breadwinner or the primary breadwinner and are fine with their wife working and earning more than they are, if something interferes with the male’s ability to provide, it weighs on them. We all know that a military career can cause interruptions and stoppages in the spouses’ career. Society will allow women to focus on being mothers and on the domestic sphere, although those who equate empowerment with employment will not be pleased. But it’s very hard for men to feel society’s okay with them being a non-breadwinner.

  • guest

    To the author: the introduction to this article is insensitive, disrespectful, and boring.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      But thanks for reading anyway. Always nice to hear from a fan.

      • ophiolite

        And this response seems a bit flippant. I love you but seriously? Guest has a valid point. I thought it was really inappropriate as well.

    • Mike

      I have to agree. The title is more befitting a checkout stand tabloid. It belittles the information in the article.

  • guest

    Probably because enlisted females cheat on a regular basis.

    • guest

      Agreed. Especially on deployments. There are too many males around (both enlisted and officer) during training, TDY, deployments, FTX’s, etc., and when the infidelity happens, the male spouse finds out and hits the road. As he should.

    • jojo613

      That’s an awful generalization. Spouses sure do complain when military service members call us “dependas” and accuse us of cheating. Same thing goes for those who are active duty.

      • guest

        Dependas cheat too.

        • jojo613

          Anyone can cheat, but to assume that it’s always the females fault for cheating is horrible… It’s another sexist way to keep women lower than men.

          • James

            if you’re the wife, and you cheat-it’s your fault. How can you get around that? I don’t care if the other guy lured you in-apart from rape accept fault, you cheated-you’re at fault.

          • jojo613

            If you cheat it is 100% your fault…

            BUT I have real issues with using a stereotype to describe a behavior as a reason for divorce. There are plenty of women AND men who cheat. There are also several OTHER reasons that couples divorce.

            – Getting married too soon
            – Contractual marriages for BAH and housing
            – Abuse
            – Too much separation– I can vouch that my marriage was in jeopardy because we were geobachelors for YEARS.
            – Falling out of love
            – Any number of reasons other than cheating…

      • DDustin

        It may be a generalization but it’s generally true. Young enlisted females typically aren’t known for their prudishness, same goes for young military spouses that would qualify as dependas. These statements sound sexist but they’re coming from experience. It’s not a male or female thing it’s a personality type for each role issue. Most men who join up enlisted and get married young have the personality of someone who irresponsibly gets married early but loves the feel of respect and honor that the military and being married in the military brings. They’re more likely to be obsessing over their spouse while deployed while the young wife typically is the type to like the prestige of being a military wife because military guys are hot and cool. Then you also get the ones that wear the rank and are willing to “move up” so to speak. It’s not all obviously, just a lot. It’s also made worse by the other personality type that joins the military, which is the guy that wants to be a bad a$$ and can usually spot the wives that are a bit slutty and take pride in being with someone elses spouse.

        As far as young enlisted females go, they typically act like young college girls because that’s usually what they are. They also suffer from a big issue with a lot of these types of jobs which is defiminization (don’t get offended by the term, look it up). They basically shed a lot of their feminine attributes to be “one of the guys.” Unfortunately it’s usually the TV stereotype of a guy which is someone who makes cat calls and screws everyone they see. So they end up seeking those guys out and acting out what they think is the cool thing to do on deployments and what not. Some are also just easy.

        I can tell you from experience that it wasn’t hard to get my 2 wives to cheat (a lot) nor is it particularly difficult to get females that are in to go for it. It is though, more difficult to get the guy to cheat on his wife back home or whose deployed. You have to really find the douches. If that wasn’t a big reason for the higher rate I would have to think it’s because most women don’t feel guilty and spill it afterwards and most men in those situations have been taught it’s bad to ever question suspicious things.

        Also it’s worth noting that most higher ranking and older NCOs or Officers don’t really seem (to me) to fall into any of these categories.

        • jojo613

          I do not believe this to be the case. I dated my husband from high school through college and got married quite young at 21 years old. Even at 15 when we had started dating, I had no intention to cheat on him. I was in a male dominated major, I lived in a co-ed dorm, my campus was a “wet” campus, and there were many couples my age and older who had no intention of cheating. We geo-bached for nearly three years, I was in a male dominated field, and again no cheating here from either of us, and again we were both young. Cheating does happen, and no one is denying this, but the attitude that the majority of young spouses and military women are cheaters is what causes the issues with sexism, and sexual assault that plagues the military. It’s reason there is an environment of victim blaming in the military. Further stating this is justifying the divide between military women and military spouses. The majority of female veterans I know are honorable people, who never cheated on their husbands, and were good at what they did in the military. And I can assure you that I know more female veterans than you do– I am one.

          I firmly believe that the reason for the majority of military divorces is because of ego and money issues rather than infidelity. Money is the number one reason for any divorce, and given the amount of money the military makes points towards that rather than cheating.

          • James

            jojo money is definitely an issue in an average relationship. However I tend to lead torwards infidelity also-people want affection,they crave it. So when one get’s stripped away it is tempting for one or both to find it elsewhere-may be temporary or a permanent elsewhere. This is the military, we get shipped to places for 3 months-1.5 years at a time. The army does 400 day deployments in it’s reserve. No one should leave their family for more than six months, you miss everything and it’s hard to last 180 days without affection.

          • jojo613

            There are a LOT of reasons that people get divorced. But as a female veteran I resent the stereotype that women in the service are cheaters. When I was in, I fought tooth and nail to defeat certain stereotypes of women in the military.

      • CW3

        As well as being completely unsubstantiated.

    • Radio Grunt

      You are probably correct. After 20 years as a cop, the divorce rates for female cops on my department was almost 100%. They were bird dogged by many guys and eventually left their husbands and got divorced. Many that remarried…..got divorced again.

    • NavyVet65

      When I was in the navy there was a sign posted on the women’s barracks in New Port Rhode Island

      “If your going to have sex do it with another sailor they are just as clean as you are”

      Being a Kiddie cruiser 17 -21 years old I must say over 87 women took it literately. When I went to several naval bases it was amazing learning experience how women go nuts when their spouses are not around

    • Fred Youngs

      I am Retired E-7 Army 24 Years and Male.t My Daughter a PFC at the Time her Newlly Wed Husband he went to Iraq and she went to Afghanistan. He screwed around immediately while in Iraq and continued after they came back to the States. So quit putting it all on the women. Men I think screw around more than the women do.

    • Dave


  • Nelson

    I don’t stay at home when my wife is serving
    our nation in the USAF. My time is spent
    with the Family Support Center volunteering
    proudly my skills. I bust my butt.
    I love doing and giving my time to the USAF.

  • KenLand

    I wonder if the husbands are looking for chicks while the wife is deployed.

    • RRF

      Mine was and he has other children as proof. I caught him and divorced him. It was really hard to get divorced while stationed in Germany. He also did a lot to try to damage my career after I filed for divorce. He is the reason we are divorced and the reason I left the Army.

  • I am going through a divorce after 25 years. He is a civilian and entitle to half my retirement pay. Except I turned him into the police. A pedophile. Guilty on all 26 charges. Serving 488 years in prison. Nothing in the books to save my pay! Not a damn thing!!!!!

    • guest

      You need a better lawyer! It’s not LAW that he gets half, it’s part of a final divorce settlement and is up to the state and the judge to decide whether or not to divide it as property. I don’t imagine a judge awarding it to a man that will never be able to use it.

    • James

      So you knew about him sleeping with young women or boys but never said a thing, but then when you go to divorce him you turn him in? You should’ve turned him in years ago, you’re pretty sick and twisted -_-

      • Guest

        How do you know that she didn’t divorce him upon discovering that he was a pedophile? Stop judging people you know nothing about.

    • alsharptonjr

      get a good family law lawyer. in some states you may be able to challenge the property award under these circumstances.

    • Gordon Bishop

      If He is in PRISON, HE is not eligible to ge NOT ONE RED CENT, even though you were married for ever how many years, He DOES NOT QUALIFIE FOR ANY OF YOUR BENIFITS, not even Comminsery. SSG E 6 Bishop

    • Dick Lancaster

      Welcome to gender equality.

    • Martin Shelton

      That is the law. Marriage is based a solid hold foundation. It goes both ways men and women, if you served and marry your spouse is entitled to half of your retirement, if you marry for 10 years while you in the military. Cannot complaint, you made that decision to get marry.

    • Don

      you need to re-check the federal laws. People entitled to military retirement pay of any sort are not suppose to get the pay. It is to go back in your pocket.

      • Don

        Not suppose to get the pay if jailed….

  • Hector

    He’s not entitled to any federal monies while incarcerated….that’s a federal law.

    • Mike

      Technically, he (or she) is not ENTITLED to anything. What the law actually says is that the court CAN divide retired pay in accordance with the federal statue and the military will honor the order at face value. As a practical matter, most courts do assume it’s an entitlement, but they are incorrect.

  • Hector

    Or you could just stay married to him but move far away and ignore him.

  • Vet/Spouse

    This is a hard one. As a former Enlisted female Army member, my opinion- and my opinion only- is that being one of the few women in a company, BN, etc, makes it very easy to cheat, have work relationships, and that leads to divorce.
    We live on post right now, next to a dual Military couple. The female Sr Enlisted that is my neighbor is on her 4th marriage. Her spouse is on his second. They have 5 kids in between them, that all live with their previous spouses. No judgment here, their lives are their lives, but that has got to be rough.
    Yes, I deployed. And yes, many of my fellow female Soldiers cheated. With males, who cheated. There is no higher burden of blame upon female Military than male; both sexes cheat. And of course, not all women who serve in the Military cheat. But a very high proportion do.
    If you do not agree with me and have a different opinion, that is fine. I am sure we have had different life experiences. But I was stationed forward with Infantry and Armor units. Out of hundreds of men, there was I, and my battle buddy, another female. We didn’t cheat. However, at units that have more women, such as MPs, medical, etc, it is easier to have the interaction that leads to cheating. It is really common and one of the reasons I ETSd.

    • jojo613

      In general, the women I served with did not cheat, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t happen. I know that many women in the Army infantry units cheated, because my husband, who was in the Air Force was in a TAC-P unit with Army infantry, and there was a LOT going on during deployments.

      But I adamantly disagree that it’s primarily the females fault.

      • James

        I posted this to your earlier comment regarding who’s fault. If you’re a wife, and you cheat-it’s your fault.

        Me as a Husband, I can’t sue him, I can’t divorce him, so it’s 0% his fault, it’s 100% yours-which is why the divorce will reflect it. There is rape and duress but those are so few and far in the scheme of cheating it’s not even a factor in this discussion.

      • Vet/Spouse

        There is nothing to disagree with. If you would carefully reread above:

        “And yes, many of my fellow female Soldiers cheated. With males, who cheated. There is no higher burden of blame upon female Military than male; both sexes cheat.”

        And James is more astute. We are talking about a marriage; not females in general. In marriage, husband or wife, the cheater is the cheater. If a married female soldier cheats, she is the cheater. if a married male soldier cheats, he is the cheater.

        There are very few females in Infantry units. We were forward attached for a period of months during deployment. I was attached to an Armor unit in garrison for a period of months as well. No sexual harassment, no rape, etc. The Platoon Sgts and Command of the Infantry unit and Armor unit were respectful and protective of us and we were treated very professionally. Infantry units, as with Combat Arms units, are more professional and have higher standards of conduct, as the trigger pullers have to do their job as lives depend on it.

        Units with a mixture of females and males, in my opinion, have more interaction, laxer standards, and is where more work relationships are formed.

        As usual, my opinion, my experiences. yours may vary. However, as I was stationed in units that were a mix of men and women vs mostly male units, I have an educated opinion. In my experience, the male dominated units were better to be in. The standards were higher. The commanders were no nonsense and mission oriented.

        My platoon sgt in my first unit, which was mostly women and a few men, was relieved and reassigned for talking about his female Soldier’s a@@es. It was so gross.

    • CW3

      Interesting that you CLAIM YOU do not cheat, just those OTHER females CHEAT. Do you really think that any adult who has served in the military will belief that little falsehood?

      You ETSed because you wanted out of the service. Don’t expect anyone reading to believe any differently.

      • Vet/Spouse

        Okay, internet stranger.

  • Vet/Spouse

    Oh- and my neighbor? She is a rank higher than her 4th spouse. He is very proud of her. He doesn’t seem the slightest put out she is “higher” than he. She will retire soon, and then he will still be Active.
    On the right side of us, is another dual Military couple. She is an E7, and her spouse is an E5.
    Although I am sure many Military men have egos, I have never heard or sensed that these “lower” ranking men resent their wives. Maybe Officers have more of a power trip when it comes to rank and egos? *I don’t know this nor am I stating it is factual. Just supposing because my Enlisted neighbors don’t seem to be upset with their higher ranking spouses.*

  • Retvet

    I am a recently retired enlisted female Sailor. I’ve never cheated on my husband(USN retired also) and I believe he’s been faithful. We have been married for 20 years. Although many military personnel find themselves involved in unfaithful relationships they ARE NOT representative of ALL. Honor, Courage and Commitment are core values to a successful relationship as well as the Navy. Women can have a healthy relationship and a healthy military career. I am living proof.

  • Some Dude

    The conversation was started and taken to another level. That is why the rate is changing.

    I once heard “if you want male military spouses to be part of the military community, you must first give them a sense of their own community.”

    There’s also that whole “iron sharpens iron” thing which goes with #1.


  • Dan Murphy

    From my observation, the majority of failed marriages for the female enlisted ranks have been due to simply getting married for the wrong reasons, Many are young, between the 18-22 year range, and think the attractive male service member is everything but slice bread. They decide to get married to be together (not really truly in love) and for the incentive of extra money in the form of BAH and to live off-post and not in the barracks. The majority of new marriages have been with men that they only have known for a few months. I witnessed marriages happen when a female Soldier meets someone in the war zone and then goes on R&R with him and gets married. I have seen women re-deployed after a year in war and immediately marry the man they met online. I think the author should have provided a better breakdown to better amplify the reasons why this occurs.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Well, as I noted, researchers don’t actually know the reasons this is happening themselves. This post wasn’t meant to be a be all, and all on the subject.

      • CW3

        Well, you apparently are being paid by the word but you might try doing some actual research before submitting that ‘fluff’ piece for payment.

    • 26578392

      The military does incentivize marriage, whether to a civilian or another servicemember. The people who are probably the least likely to be “ready” for marriage are junior enlisted, and their incentives to get married a large relative to senior enlisted or officers. Being allowed to live off post is a handy example. A good friend of mine, an E3 at the time, hastily married his girlfriend. Getting BAH and Tricare for his girlfriend and her children was a motivating factor for both of them. Maybe the should add a week to basic training to be spent exclusively on showing new servicemembers the horrors that can arise when you marry someone you barely know, allowing living off post, BAH, tricare, and commissary access to influence your decision.

      • jojo613

        I agree with you! I think that there should be financial management and marital classes to troops who are getting married. It shouldn’t be as easy to get a marriage license and run to the JOP to get married and then get the incentives. There should maybe even be a grace period before the benefits start.

  • Ms Lonell Dunhoft

    I am a US NAVY WOMEN VETERAN. SERVED from 1974-1978. I can not believe most of you believe its the women who are cheating. Also now days its ok if the women make more money. Women’s Lib is here and is doing well not set it back ladies.

    • ophiolite

      Best Comment EVER! *applause*

    • Terry

      Keep in mind how “Womens Lib” and feminism has destroyed the traditional family. So I hope you are proud of what you have “accomplished”

      • chibi_sarah

        Actually, it’s more the cruddy economy and the fact that two people in a household need to be working nowadays that has destroyed the traditional family where the woman stays home to have and raise kids and the dad is the breadwinner. At least for my generation, our purchasing power not being what past generations have had…that’s killed the traditional family values. Women’s Lib has just made it socially more difficult, put pressure on women to do more than stay at home…you can still do that if you can afford to, but ya you are more likely to be heavily judged for that. Than say if you work and have kids. But reality is just that moms have to work even if they have a husband earning too…but that’s just my generation’s reality.

    • Guest

      That was almost 40 years ago when you were in the military. Times have changed, and both men and women cheat more frequently than not. In the military, it’s easy to do so, as you’re always TDY, deployed, on training exercises, etc. Rules are put in place; however, that doesn’t stop people from doing so.

  • bob barker

    I think contract marriages have something to do with that divorce rate also. There are also “serial brides” I know allot of 20-30 year old military women who are on their 3+ marriage.

    • CW3

      And how does that compare with ‘civilian’ women? You might be surprised that the stats are fairly similiar across the same age spectrum.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      A recent study found that contract marriages constitute FAR fewer of military marriages that we may assume. https://spousebuzz.com/blog/2014/12/study-young-mi

  • Peter

    Let the comments fly. I wouldn’t be surprise if at least 40% of the married female service members joined in looking for a service mate. And i don’t blame them whatsoever. Women want children and have their financial needs met by marrying a service member in these uncertain economic times. It’s not the only reason on joining, but it’s high up there on the buck list. I just hope they select the right mate when having children.

  • SteveB

    I did 21 years in the Army, and yes, 99% of enlisted females I knew cheated, and were on second, third, or fourth marriages. We had two get pregnant in Iraq and then “miscarried” (had abortions) when they got sent home. Hell, my ex wife was sleeping around on me every time I left. I divorced her sorry ass as soon as I found out. I don’t trust females as far as I can throw them.

    • Vet/Spouse

      We had two females get pregnant in a war zone too! Insane!!

  • Allen Shaw

    Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

    Now I know that this is not what anyone wants to see or hear,; however the fact that Paul was wise enough to understand the sexual needs of individuals we should understand it today. Long absent from each other are going to be the main reason for the failure of marriage. I will let you use your own imagination.

    • rubyrose

      Yes, sir, that is so true and that’s how I advice to other married man and women as much as I can wherever I go. Specially, to the married women those who are working and traveling or their spouses are in that position. I asked them to pray for their spouse diligently while they are gone. I cannot tell them enough in this culture, enough about sex & marriage. Marriage comes first and sex is afterwards. Sex outside of the marriage is not just going to destroy themselves, but the community. It’s because, you get married with a life-long-commitment, not with a short term contract for convience. May the good Lord richly bless you and lead us all!!!

      • rubyrose

        I want to correct my previous comment; advice-advise, convience-convenience. Thanks.

      • Mo


    • guest

      Nope. Not buying it. This is a bs justification for male infidelity and spousal rape. Try again.

  • Allan

    Don’t know if I did the right thing or not but it was my decision. When asked why I waited until retirement to marry, my standard answer is that I was having so much fun, I forgot to get married. Once leaving the service, I married and have two great children. It helps if the wife is 12 years younger and fertile.

  • Spencer

    The premise just does not make sense:

    “…the divorce rate among enlisted married female troops, 7.4. percent, is still about 2.5 times higher than the rate among enlisted married men — even though there are over 7.5 times as many married enlisted men than women in the service.” When you are comparing percentages, do the underlying numbers really matter when there is a significant sample?

    Since the gender population skew favors the female because of a much greater number of available candidates for marriage, it makes sense the divorce rate is higher for the female.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      The rate is calculated based on the number of people who divorced in a year compared to the the number that started.

  • 26578392

    I would greatly appreciate it if the author or someone else could provide a link to the source of this data. I checked out the other article the author has written on the subject, but couldn’t find a link to the data there either.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Hi — Unfortunately the DOD does not publicly post this data anywhere. It’s provided to me on request. However, if you send me an email via the contact us link above, I would be more than happy to forward this year’s data to you.

  • Guest

    Males in general seem to have more respect for themselves and their own lives than moving around the world at the drop of a hat, especially for 20 or more years. It’s just a matter of getting to a point where enough is enough. More women, on average, seem to accept the constant moves and always being a spouse’s second priority. If the service member does not give the spouse the same level of respect and support, divorce often results in situations where the civilian spouse has an ounce of self respect.

  • James B.

    What percentage of women in the military are married to other military members? The military gives dual-military couples some favors in co-location, but living together dramatically limits career flexibility. Dual-couples can have their careers or kids, but rarely both, and those choices aren’t always easy on marriage.

    • Luddite4Change

      DOD has that statistic. Around 10% of married male military members are married to service members, for married women I’ve seen numbers that run between 70% and 90% (depending on the service and if they include women who’s husbands are retired).

      I’ve got to believe that the skew and personnel policies create their own dynamics that tend to impact the divorce rates. I would be interested in knowing what the difference in divorce rates is for both male/female members when the spouse was a member of the service vice a civilian spouse.

      • Guest2

        I completely concur. My perspective is an Enlisted female and as an Army brat with a civilian mom. The vast majority of the enlisted females I know are married to enlisted males. This doubles the toll of deployments and conflicting duty schedules. I went 6 months working 12-hour shifts while my husband was on days, then I was on Swings, then thankfully moved to a day shift where I could take care of our child while he was deployed, and then back on nights a month after he got back because it was my turn. Being dual military can really suck. The only dual-military incentive is getting assigned with your spouse, which for accompanied tours, is also funded as a family PCS for those with civilian spouses, though I understand the hardships of having to look for work at the new assignment. And maybe possibly career women, including women in the military, have a higher divorce rate because they are not reliant on their husband’s income and don’t have to put up with b.s. My husband and I are separated because he behaves like a child.

  • rubyose

    Nevertheless, the affair can never end well that begins with our sinful nature. If we want to obtain peace with others and overcome the obstacle in life, we must turn to God first and keep ourselves in His love, grace and wisdom. Sex outside of the marriage is not love, it’s lust. It’s not just to going to destroy themselves, but the community. Everyone shoud keep their sex within there marriage. Jn.14:6; Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.”

  • sheilaicg

    I was an enlisted female for fifteen years until I had to medical out. I am married to a man who managed to make it to 21 years. AND I WOULD NEVER HAVE CHEATED ON HIM!!! You males who think you are always right ARE NOT. When I was in it was the MALES WHO COULDN’T KEEP THEIR PANTS ZIPPED!! One reason for that, is because you idiots always assumed and none of us wanted you BECAUSE YOU WERE IDIOTS!!!

  • RRF

    I was the service member and my ex-husband a veteran of the same branch. Yes, we were young, but I was doing everything right for a marriage to succeed. I come from a strong family. I didn’t know my husband was cheating on me the moment I left for training or deployments. In fact, after I caught him cheating, I found evidence that he took a young woman’s virginity while I was in Basic Training!!!! She left a darling note of how she would have not given it to him if she would have known. He used our frequent moves to help break tries and end drama. I found a picture of him just days after I left for my first and only deployment. He was clearly not wearing the wedding band he supposedly could not get off. It wasn’t until year 3 out of 4 that I caught him. The last year of my career was hell since he knew exactly what to do to get me in trouble. Bounced checks, tickets, and on and on. I was a wreck when I left the service and not a single person from my unit helped me. I was shunned. He ended up having one son in Germany and I thought another for years afterwards.
    There were other females that there were rumors of cheating. I never saw since I kept my nose clean and did not associate with them. Glad to see the military doing more to help keep service members married!

  • Pendy

    I’m friends with a recently divorced enlisted female. She says a problem is that there aren’t a lot of guys out there willing move around with a female’s military career. That’s why so many female enlisted end marrying male enlisted. Where as despite increased gender equality, the guys still have a bigger pool of female “homemakers” to choose from that are willing to follow them from base to base.

  • Devildog

    I decided very early in my military career i would not get married, to a service member or non-service member, solely based on the staggering amount of cheating I witnessed from my superiors. Officers were even worse, trolling the enlisted ranks. I saw too many couples on their 3rd or 4th marriage with 5 kids between them. I did not want a patch quilt family. No one in the military has cornered the market on cheating. The females are just as bad as the males and usually have more to choose from. I did marry late in my career and my wife cheated on me every time I deployed yet I forgave her and we stayed married for 21 years, that is until my common sense overrode my ability to forgive.

  • A1RFOrCE man

    The #1 reason for divorce? Expectations.
    When in the dating stages, the expectations for the marriage need to be set. If those expectations of one another are not realistic or unfulfillable, then you aren’t right for each other. It’s sad how in many comments money and earning are tied to decision-making. There is definitely an inherent responsibility to earning good income, but it should not be a deciding factor in who makes the calls. I am the only breadwinner in my family and I always consult my wife before making a purchase that will impact our family. The decisions should always be family-based, I see too much me, me, me here. It’s not ego and money-making that fulfill me, rather the fact that I can take care of my family and support them and see them happy.

    • M_R_R

      I totally agree with this. Period.

  • wash80s

    Well, as I tell my children to this day (we have 4), marriage takes work. My husband and I are both in the Air Force Reserves and met on Active duty. We are about to celebrate our 31st anniversary. We have both been on many deployments some short , some long. I have seen both men and women who are married cheat. I can’t control what other people do. Since we both work in aircraft maintenance most of the people we go with know us both, and that makes it easier when we are away. The reason I say this is because when you come back, those same people have to interact with us both, so the cheating issue while away doesn’t really come up. Plus as a woman in the military, I know who I can hang out with and not worry about any miscommunications. When I am home or away, I’m married, that makes the difference. If you go into marriage thinking you can get divorced if it doesn’t work out, then you will probably get divorced.

  • Guest

    Marry good people.

    I’d never disrespect my wife, nor would she disrespect me.

    She actually has no clue how much we make, I take care of all the finances, and we each get an equal amount of spending money even though we make drastically different incomes (but we’re equals, our incomes are just the dollar amounts the DoD has decided to assign to our service).

  • Tevita

    Where did the author get her statistics? First of all, the civilian sector has about 40-50% divorce rate depending on who you use as your source. Secondly, the statistic shown is lower than 1 divorce in every ten marriages. Having been around the military for almost 30 years, it seems much closer to the civilian sector if not more. The ones I know has a divorce rate of at least 80%. Im not judging them at all but just stating facts. Am I the only one seeing this?