Military divorces are making headlines with a reported decrease in divorces. Last year the divorce rate declined to 3.5 percent according to data recently released by the Pentagon. Officials within the military are hopeful that the trend will continue, especially since military divorces increased over one percent in the last decade.
Divorce has increased in the last ten years in all sectors of the military. Enlisted females experienced three times the rate of divorce to their male counterparts. Though the new data sheds some hope, it may be the beginning of a new trend.
Data from one year is not enough to predict a continuation in a declining trend of divorce levels in our military. In addition, divorce attorneys have not reported having a significant decline in military clients. They have stated the reasons for most of their military divorces are the inability of service people to cope and their age.
There are a couple of hypotheses of why military divorce has declined in the last year. Researchers are pointing to the decline of war. Thus, deployment is currently lower than in the past few years. The time and frequency of spouses being separate has declined and could also be adding to marriages remaining in tact.
The RAND Corporation, which has studied military divorce, commented on the fact that the economy is starting to improve. The correlation between the economy and military divorce could be a factor in a new possible trend. With a stronger economy couples may be less inclined to focus on financial issues as a breaking point in their marriage. Also, being employed brings individuals higher esteem and less stress, which often trickles into the marriage.
Military officials have been highlighting marriage enrichment programs, such as the
Strong Bonds army program as possibly having an impact on the decline of military divorces. The core belief of the program is that if family bonds are strong then army bonds will be strong.
Strong Bonds is a program based on education and skill building under the direction of chaplains.
The military program is offered free of charge to enlisted members and their spouses. Some of the issues tackled in the program are how to: solve problems, communicate effectively and manage conflict without damaging closeness. For more information soldiers should contact their unit chaplain.