Friday, January 6, 2012

Iraq War Drives Military Divorce Rate Up

A study released Jan. 2 by the nonprofit group Family Life shows that since the Iraq War began 10 years ago, the divorce rate among military service members has shot up by 42 percent.

Family Life Founder and President Dennis Rainey said in a statement that the first 90 days of a deployment are the most critical, because that’s when couples develop new habits that set the tone of their marriages.

But Corie Weathers, a licensed professional counselor who is the wife of an Army chaplain stationed in Georgia and the mother of two, said the first 90 days after a soldier comes home are just as critical.

“The younger soldiers don’t have coping skills to deal with what they saw in battle, so they come home and get into video games, pornography and social media,” she said. “Women develop this mentality that says, ‘I don’t want to relinquish control, even though I really want you to take it from me.’ “

Reintegration — which can take up to a full year — is a key time to take advantage of a chaplain-led military marriage retreat.

“You’ve got to get to know each other again, so the first 90 days are when we try to throw in a retreat, to learn new coping and communication skills,” Weathers said. “It’s like hitting the re-set button.”

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