At the beginning of the war in Afghanistan (2001) the overall military divorce rate was at 2.6 percent and at the end of 2011 that figure rose to 3.7 percent. In terms of raw numbers it was something like 30,000 marriages that ended during the 2011 fiscal year. This puts the military at a higher divorce rate than US civilians, which was last recorded at 3.5 percent in 2009 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These numbers can seem dramatic and troubling, and while they are obviously a signal that something is wrong, it is good to know that organizations and groups are also taking notice and measures are being taken to help military enter into healthy relationships and keep military marriages strong through rough times.
From 2010 to 2011 the increase in divorce rates for the military was only 0.1 percent, but certain groups within the military still saw a more drastic increase. For example there was a 0.4 increase for females in the navy while females in the Marine Corps saw a 0.4 percent decrease.
Even though the increase from 2010 to 2011 was minimal in comparison to past years, it is clear that divorce rates are still climbing among military personnel. One of the Army’s more well-known intervention programs, Strong Bonds, saw this trend and donated over $100 million to marriage support. That money directly funded more than 4,000 support events at bases in the US and overseas.
Nearly one in 10 marriages ended for military women in 2011, revealing that women in the military are more than twice as likely to experience divorce with their spouse, according to the Department of Defense. So far no one has conducted research to figure out why these numbers are so high.
The most common reason pointed out is stress. The stress soldiers experience while they’re serving their country and the stress military spouses endure while their loved ones are away. Dealing with this stress is different for every individual, that’s why it is important to be open with asking for help if you’re experiencing stress within your military marriage.
A number of organizations and websites believe in devoting time to helping military couples through these hard times. Here at Veterans United we’ve created guides and articles with this strengthening of military marriages in mind, here are a few to look through:
- Defend Yourself Against Deployment Depression
- Vent Anger Without Secondhand Stress
- Say AHHH! A Check-Up for Your Marriage