Broken Homes in The Military

Author: Noah Abdul-Malik Mungo

Military Marriages

More than 13,000 military marriages ended last year, and mine came dangerously close to becoming one of them, but it wasn’t because of some gays getting hitched. Military marriages are at increasingly high risk of failure, and combat is the cause.

Most of the boots on the ground in Iraq are worn by Marines, active duty Army, or Army National Guard. They have served the most and longest deployments, seen the most combat, and suffered the most injuries, both physical and psychological. In 2008, the active-duty Army and Marines also had a higher percentage of failed marriages than the Navy or Air Force, whose rates held steady or decreased slightly.

Divorce rates for women in the Army or Marines were nearly three times that of their male counterparts, which speaks volumes about the effect of war on women, as well as the gender roles, societal expectations, and resiliency of their husbands. The fact that the Veterans Administration has just a handful of gender-specific treatment programs for women, and there’s been scant attention, research, and support for women veterans speaks for itself.

Bannerman, Stacy. "Broken Military Marriages: Another Casualty of War."Alternet. Alternet, 23 Jan. 2009. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.

Military's effect on family

Even when we are not at war, military families often deal with stresses such as frequent moves or the absence of a parent. Deployment to war creates additional issues for a family to handle.

Families face a number of challenges before, during, and after deployment. This emotional cycle of deployment begins when news of deployment is released to the family. It starts with a short period of strong emotions, such as fear and anger. As departure grows closer, a period of detachment and withdrawal may occur. This can happen to prepare for the person being physically gone.

During the deployment family members have a range of feelings and experiences, including:

  • Concern, worry or panic
  • Loneliness, sadness
  • Added family duties and responsibilities
  • Learning new skills, making new friends
  • Fear for their service member's safety
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Financial difficulties
  • Dealing with problems on their own
  • Understanding what your loved ones have been through
  • Concern over being needed and loved

Children's reactions to a parent's deployment vary with each child. Reactions depend on age, maturity and any other behavioral or mental health problems the child might have. The mental health of the at-home parent often affects the child's distress level. This is especially true for young children. If parents successfully handle the stress of deployment, their children are less likely to have mental health or behavior problems.

"How Deployment Effects Families." Www.military.com. Department of Veteran Affairs, n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2016