Despite much of the media portrayals and assumptions by civilians, military marriages are not as negatively impacted by deployment as often depicted. The first deployment is known to be the hardest, but if the marriage survives that, then it has a much higher likelihood of making it through additional deployments. Military marriages suffer from the same issues as civilian marriage, with fights over quality time, child rearing, money, or sex. Deployment may deepen these already existing issues, ultimately causing a divorce, but a strong marriage will withstand arguments and deployments alike. The key is to build a strong, stable relationship from the start and go into deployment with faith and commitment.
5 Tips for Keeping a Military Marriage Strong During Deployment
If your spouse is leaving on deployment, or if you are leaving your spouse to serve away from home, there are ways to solidify your relationship, commit to keeping in touch, and make the time pass more easily.
Plan for the separation: Discuss your deployment during scheduled, quality, alone time with your spouse. Get a sitter if you have children so that you are not distracted. Have an open, honest, and vulnerable conversation about your fears about the deployment, things that you want to do to stay strong together, and plans for when you return.
Coordinate correspondence: Set up ways to keep in touch and share daily activity including funny things your children say, how they are doing in school, things happening at work, or what’s going on with your mutual friends.
Prepare for potential trauma: If your military service member spouse is deployed and in combat, be prepared with plans for if the return home brings trauma. How will the trauma affect your marriage? Do you have plans for treatment or counseling, or have you considered learning about how to support a spouse dealing with PTSD or other combat related traumas?
Establish trust: A strong foundation of trust is imperative for spouses that are apart for any length of time. Conversations must be open and honest, and trust must be the common thread through all types of communication.
Send care packages: Send musical reminders of home (CD or flash drive), snacks, small tokens, notes, photos, or other items that will remind your spouse of home. Consider sending an unending note back and forth to write a story together that allow a more natural flow of communication as with at-home banter.
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If your marriage has become too strained to save, a military divorce may be your only answer. Know that as a military service member is protected by The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which allows deployed or active military personnel to postpone divorce proceedings until they are better prepared to protect their best interests. This act also protects military members if they are unable to respond to divorce correspondence due to deployment. Our team of military divorce attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP can work with you to navigate the complex military divorce process. Our Certified Family Law Specialist comes from a military family and has a deep connection to and love for the military service members of San Diego, making her an excellent choice for these cases. Contact our team for specialized, personal counsel when you need a compassionate ally on your side.