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Retreats Aim to Help Military Marriages Weather the Stress of War

It's no secret that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been particularly hard on military families. Long deployments don't just bring physical separation; they can cause couples to become emotionally separated as well. All too often, couples have trouble merging their newly-independent lives once the servicemember returns home.

The stress of war has led to strikingly high rates of military divorce. Between 2001 and 2011, the military divorce rate has risen from 2.6 percent to 3.7 percent. In 2011 alone, more than 30,000 military marriages ended in divorce.

Some groups are hoping to reverse this trend by sponsoring retreats for military families.

The retreats are geared towards families - both with and without children - that have at least one spouse who is returning from an overseas deployment. Most aim to provide participating families with a stress-free environment to bond, relax and try new activities. They also offer classes and counseling designed to bring couples closer together.

The retreats started because officials were noticing that military couples needed help changing gears after the deployment was over. Often, both spouses are so focused on "taking care of business" during the deployment that they forget how to relax and work together as a team when the servicemember returns home.

The retreats have had some notable successes. However, they do not work for every couple. Many military marriages still ultimately end in divorce.

If you or your spouse has recently returned from an overseas deployment, and you are struggling in your marriage, know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you. If you do decide that divorce is your best option, be sure to choose a lawyer who is experienced in handling Arkansas military divorces.

Source: MSNBC, "Marriage Retreats Combat High Rate of Military Divorce," Jasmin Aline Persch, Feb. 7, 2012.

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