No marriage is simple and every couple has to overcome challenges, but there are unique
circumstances for military couples which make the situation significantly more complicated.
You are often on the move and are having to integrate into a new community, start a new
job, make friends and help the children find their feet again in a new school, all while being
separated from your spouse for months at a time. While there are plenty of positive aspects
to being married to a serviceman, it can’t be denied that it is not ideal for everyone. Here are
6 challenges facing military wives.
1. You Move Around a Lot
Military families are often moved on to new bases in line with the armed forces strategy. This
can be an exciting way of life which opens up new opportunities and fresh environments, but
it can also mean that nowhere really feels like home. Depending on where you are moved to,
you may also need to get to grips with a new language and culture, too.
2. You Need to Make New Friends Regularly
Military wives need to be able to make friends quickly or they run the risk of feeling isolated
wherever they move to. There can be a fantastic support network amongst the military
families, but it may not suit every personality.
3. It’s an Unsettling Life for Children
Children can find the nomadic lifestyle challenging as they are regularly changing schools
and leaving their friends behind. They may just be getting comfortable somewhere when the
family needs to move to a completely new place. Some children can take this in their stride,
but others can feel the effects of the uncertainty and instability for many years to come.
4. It’s Difficult to Maintain a Career
Moving around has another consequence for women who are interested in building a career.
Certain employers are reluctant to employ people who are not in a stable living situation so
women may need to rethink their career ambitions in favour of a profession which can be
5. Divorce Rates are High
Military marriages have a divorce rate of around 30%. When your husband is away on duty
for long periods of time, it can be difficult to maintain a close relationship. In some cases, the
parent who is at home with the children may also start to feel like they are raising them
alone. Concerns about infidelity during the periods of separation — along with feelings of
isolation — can turn to resentment. Some army wives describe the feeling of being
unimportant as they will never be more important than a soldier’s duty to his country. Getting a divorce when you are in the armed forces can also be more complex, particularly if the
family is living on the base.
6. Stresses Can be More Intense
In addition to the issues around separation, there is also the potential for traumatic
experiences for both spouses. While death can strike any couple, military couples face this
possibility in a much more intense way. Soldiers risk their lives and witness their friends
being killed in action and may return with PTSD, depression or anxiety as a result of their
experiences. If they are injured, their spouse may be required to become their caregiver
which can place a lot of pressure on the relationship.