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Marriage challenges in the Air Force: Deployment ranks high

Married life in the United States military for couples in Arkansas, nationally and around the globe is, in many respects, not dissimilar from the shared lives of civilian couples.

What predominates in most military marriages are the same things that are important in couplings outside the service -- children, the family home, earnings accumulations, career progression, vacations, continued education and so forth.

Throw in the word "deployment," though, and many military marriages start looking comparatively distinct. Most civilian couples do not experience anything similar; an apt comparison might be that of a relationship in which one or both partners necessarily relocate to other areas frequently and for lengthy periods at the behest of company officials.

In the military -- and, as it turns out, especially in the Air Force -- deployment is a marriage killer. One recent study shows a direct nexus between deployments and military divorce: as cumulative deployment time rises, so too does the prospect of marriage failure.

For a number of reasons that will undoubtedly be further examined, Air Force marriages fail at a higher rate than is the case for marital couplings in other branches. The toll is especially high for marriages in which a partner is engaged in notably busy and high-profile work that is often of central importance in combat deployment areas. That includes positions like security personnel, clinical nurses and intelligence officers.

Enlisted women’s marriages suffer more than others; reportedly, the divorce rate for that group has been higher than for any other group every year for well over a decade.

A number of programs aimed at helping military couples work through issues and strengthen their relationships have been established, with many of those involved -- both program leaders and participants -- noting that sustained social support is a key ingredient for helping those with strained relationships.

Divorce in the military entails a number of singular factors and considerations. An experienced military divorce lawyer can answer questions and act with dispatch and empathy on behalf of a divorce client.

Source: Army Times, “Divorce and the Air Force: Who stays married and who doesn’t,” Oriana Pawlyk, April 28, 2014

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