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.

Connecting TBI With 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.

About PTSD and Relationships

Post-traumatic brain disorder or PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is only caused by the environment. You are not genetically born or able to inherit PTSD. Instead, you are exposed to a traumatic event, such as a suicide bombing or execution, that you are forced to subconsciously relive. Sexual assault, which disproportionally affects female service members and veterans more in the military but happens to men, too, causes PTSD.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports the following statistics for PTSD among veterans based on their time in service:

  • Between 11 and 20 percent of veterans from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have been diagnosed and treated by the VA for PTSD at some point post-service
  • About 12 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans have or will have PTSD
  • About 30 percent of veterans from the Vietnam War have had PTSD

It is critical to point out a key fact—not all veterans who are suffering from PTSD are seeking treatment from the VA or reporting their symptoms. Therefore, unfortunately, the statistics skew higher. Also, active duty service members and reservists, as well as their spouses and children, may also be suffering from PTSD. This is as a result of their family member’s own experiences in service, which only compounds the problem and adds strain to relationships.

Benefits of Marriage and Family Therapy

By seeking marriage and family therapy for military service members and veterans, you can work to combat the symptoms of TBI and PTSD. Along with identifying and defining the issues associated with personal injuries caused in the military, you and your loved ones can learn to manage these issues. This includes figuring out triggers associated with PTSD or getting medical care for at TBI. It all starts with marriage counseling so that someone can help you identify these issues with the least amount of resistance from you  and your family members.

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.


  1. TBI & the Military, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.
  2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Common Veteran Issues. Department of Veterans Affairs.