You make a lot of sacrifices when you decide to pursue a career in the military. You give up stable housing and autonomy, as you won’t have control over what work you do or even where you live. While you may not realize it at the time, you may also reduce your likelihood of entering into a lasting marriage.
Statistically, military servicemembers tend to have a noticeably higher degree of risk for divorce than civilians with similar backgrounds. Many factors influence how much divorce risk your family has specifically. For example, women who serve in the military are roughly twice as likely to get divorced as a male servicemember.
Why is military divorce so common?
People get married for different reasons in the military
When civilians decide to marry, it is a choice made out of love or a sense of obligation because of a child on the way. For those in the military, there is a different motivation for early marriage and even adding children to the family.
The pay and benefits that servicemembers receive are a direct reflection of the size of their family. Some people will make a commitment to a relationship that they otherwise would not because of the financial benefits that decision may carry. Such marriages may be more likely to ultimately end in divorce.
The stress of military work is impossible to ignore
Even if someone never sees active duty in a conflict zone, the demands of military service put a lot of strain on relationships. There is a level of secrecy often involved, as spouses not in the military may not have the right now about what their loved one does at work.
Beyond that, the long shifts and seemingly unpredictable demands of military service can put a lot of stress on the individual serving and also strain the relationships they have with their family.
Instability impacts emotional health
When your family has to frequently move or endure lengthy separations, those adverse experiences can cause trauma. Both those who serve in the military and their spouses may have trauma responses to active duty service or too frequent relocations.
Especially when there are children in the family, frequently moving will put a lot of the transitional work on the spouse not serving in the military. The instability that comes from a military lifestyle can push people to consider divorce for their own happiness or their children’s.
If you think you are headed toward a military divorce, you need to learn more about what that may mean. Educating yourself about the unique demands of military divorces will help you protect yourself as you near the end of your marriage.