Relationship Problems Facing Military Couples During Deployment and How to Overcome Them

Military couples are tough. They knew the risks, and went for it. But military relationships are inevitably bound to experience problems at some point. Deployment is a common time period for marriage problems, but with a little help you can learn to manage and nurture your relationship (even during times of physical distance).

Common Relationship Problems & Triggers During Deployment

These common triggers and events can lead to lasting turmoil in military couples. But it is important to note that all relationships are susceptible to these emotional triggers if one spouse is away for a prolonged period of time. The trick to overcoming these is communication, even if you cannot physically touch them or see them on video. Care packages, hand written notes, messages, recordings…these are all little things that can go a long way to show or remind your spouse how much you care.

Relationship Problems Military Couples Face & How Marriage Counseling Can Help

Life as a military family presents a whole new set of challenges, not the least of which is marriage and relationship problems. Many of these family and relationship issues are not the norm for civilian families. Military members returning from active duty are more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, flashbacks, night terrors, and disassociation stemming from these personal injuries can be quite destructive to relationships. One way to prevent relationship problems from happening is to seek marriage counseling.

About Military Couples Issues

In the military, a married couple are isolated from the rest of their extended family members in almost every case. When this happens you lose the sense of community and network, along with the very beneficial social aid, that comes with being close to family. This becomes a critical concern when your loved one is dealing with a common medical issue in the military–a TBI or PTSD.

TBI and Relationships

Just take a look at traumatic brain injuries or TBIs among the members of the reserve and active duty. Soldiers are around blast explosives, suicide bombers, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). When exposed to loud and terrifying conditions, along with the everyday noise of heavy machinery, motorcycles, and airplane engines, this only exacerbates the stresses these individuals face on a consistent basis.

According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, active duty and reserve service members are at “increased risk for sustaining a TBI compared to their civilian peers” and “men between the ages of 18 to 24 are at greatest risk for TBI.” One of the resulting symptoms of TBI is PTSD.


More inspiration for military wives looking for military marriage counseling:

I’ve been married for three years and my husband is in the military. We’ve got some marriage problems that have shown up before, after, and during deployment. He has said that he wants to get a job where he can travel and is afraid I will be lonely so he suggests we get divorced. I told him that I am committed to him no matter what. He has asked for me before for a separation after fights. He also talks to his ex-wife sometimes and I’ve discovered that he’s told her that he still loves her.  Should I fight for him, or give up (and leave him before he leaves me)? I do love him but I see he’s not fully committed.

Marriage problems during deployment? Or an affair?

There’s several details here that seem to be missing, like if he’s having an affair with his ex or with another woman, hence the urgency to leave. At face value though, it seems like he wants out of the relationship and is trying to make excuses for wanting out, in this case, he’s saying that he’s worried you would be lonely so therefore he wants a divorce before leaving. I don’t know the details of his first marriage and why that ended but that may be coming into play. I’m also concerned that he still has feelings for his ex.

I have worked with plenty of couples in the military where there are issues with deployment but if the couple is committed, they are able to maintain their relationship despite the distance. It takes work, but we’ve seen military couples rebuild their relationships when they were on the brink of collapse. Before you start trying to find out what you’re entitled to in a military divorce or separation, get in touch with us to learn more about our imago relationship therapy technique.

Commitment is the first step in our marriage help book and there’s a reason it is the first step.

A marriage that lasts cannot be without commitment.

In this case, it’s not so much about the marriage problems before, during, and after deployment as much as his wanting to leave. I do think it would be beneficial for both of you to do some work together on your relationship so you can process your goals as well as the fears and get to the bottom of this because it is likely to repeat. There are usually deeper reasons for such abrupt behavior that seemingly comes out of nowhere.

It is worth getting more conscious about it so you both can create the future you want together.

If you’re facing deployment, or your spouse is currently deployed through the military, arm yourself with tools that will keep you both strong and connected despite the distance. Experiencing our amazing 2 day No Blame, No Shame Marriage Restoration Retreat via Skype is an amazing tool for you while you are deployed and will make the return home that much more positive. We often have Skype sessions with couples in different locations, and our screen is open to 3 people viewing each other all together on one screen. Learn more about how you can do this via Skype.

Seeking Marriage Counseling in the Military

The Marriage Restoration Project provides military couples with marriage counseling services. We provide imago marriage counseling, which is considered highly effective for managing relationships both in and out of the military. For your convenience, we have locations in NYC, New Jersey, and Maryland.

Contact The Marriage Restoration Project for more information. You can also request a free guide titled “The 60 Second Plan To a Happy Marriage” and start better understanding common issues among military couples today.

Contact Us

There’s nothing quite like the power of gaining clarity on a confusing situation. Complete the form below to talk with Rabbi Slatkin to see what he thinks would be best for you and your unique situation.

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Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact or