Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Divorce and the Iraq War - In the News

War has many casualties but the Iraq War seems to have marriage as a casualty. I don’t know if it is because the soldiers shuttle back and forth instead of being away for a longer periods of time or that it is a longer war or that we have more women serving or the nature of the soldier serving or for some other reason. An April 6, 2008 article in the New York Times by Leslie Kaufman entitled
After War, Love Can Be a Battlefield discussed the problem. You can see the entire article at

The article says that "These days the Army is fighting a problem as complex and unpredictable as any war: disintegrating marriages." The Army has a pilot program to address marital stress after soldiers return from long tours in Iraq. It is part of the Army’s "Strong Bonds" programs, which are for families and couples and run by its chaplains. The program addresses the stress that war places on marriages - where stress often first manifests itself and where it can take the greatest toll.

The article states that soldiers are trained to endure extremes. When it comes to problems in the marriage, "He is saying, ‘We are not really at the worst-case scenario,’ " the article said. "For the spouse, it is like: ‘Yes, we are. To you, it is a small thing, because it is not life, or death, or bleeding. But if we don’t talk about these things now, it may feel like we are bleeding. I’m bleeding.’ "

"Divorce rates for Army personnel have been on the rise since 2003, the first year of war, when they were 2.9 percent. In 2004, divorce rates in the Army soared to 3.9 percent, propelled by a sharp rise in divorce among the usually much more stable officer’s corps. That rate has dropped, according to Army demographics, to 1.9 percent for officers and 3.5 percent for the entire Army in fiscal year 2007 — which represents roughly 8,700 divorces in total. Female soldiers are the exception; they divorce at a rate of about 9 percent."

The Army is worried about the effects of combat on its core soldiers, the ones who are supposed to be lifers. Internal studies show that couples are deeply stressed by the war and contemplating divorce at a much higher rate. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/16/08

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