Long Wars Fray Military Marriages

Brief homecomings make healing difficult
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 4, 2009 4:10 PM CDT
Michelle Obama listens to Retired U.S. Army General Alfonso Lenhardt speak to a crowd in Santa Fe, N.M. on Sept. 4, 2008. Lenhardt was a guest during a roundtable with military spouses.   (AP Photo/Jeff Geissler)
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(Newser) – With the Iraq and Afghanistan wars dragging on, long, multiple deployments are taking a toll on military families, USA Today reports. Troops develop instincts on the battlefield that don’t translate at home, while spouses learn to live independently—and when troops return home, there’s often too little time to heal rifts. Families are “coming apart at the seams,” one spouse told Congress.

Army and Marines divorce rates climbed by a percentage point, to 4%, between the start of the Iraq war and last year, the Pentagon says. The Army provides advice through presentations, workshops, and brochures—but some families say it’s too much information. Rather than more programs, troops need improved access to the effective ones, says a Pentagon official.