Military Deployment Relationship Essay Examples

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Military Deployment and Marriage Success

Research Proposition

The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between military deployment and the effect it has on the significant other. Since 2001, deployment has been longer and more frequent than in the past. In addition, military marriages have been under high levels of stress following changes in the deployment trends. The level of danger, the amount of stress, and the lack of communication could all be crucial factors that affect the success of a marriage. Marriages are at higher risks of separation and divorce. Under these conditions, maintaining a successful marriage requires effort and hard work to keep the marriage working. Both effort and work done in maintaining these marriages are hard under these conditions of stress.

Marriages under stress face challenges in communicating than couples relatively free from stress (Karney, 2007). On the other hand, couples facing chronic difficulties such as financial strain are at higher risks of facing divorce as compared to couples under supportive environments. More so, challenging events affecting couples such as natural disasters and separation resulting from work conditions such as deployment of military are associated with the elevated rates of divorce among the affected couples. I will perform a systematic review of literature on the effect military deployment has on marriage to answer the following research questions.

Questions presented:

To what extent does deployment has a significant negative effect on marriage that can be linked to divorce?
Does stress play a significant factor or is even the cause for separation for a couple where one member is deployed?
If so, are there general stress factors?

Literature Review

Impact of Deployment to families

Almost all military members are married. This implies that they their responsibilities of looking after their family members. In United States, at least 1.86 million children have either both of their parents working as military officers. In United States, the average length of deployments is 12-15 months. Within the past few years, this trend has changed. More deployments are done, and the length of deployments has also changed.

As a result, more families are facing the effects of deployment. Different effects of deployments are clear from observation of trends taking place in military families. Deployment cause emotional changes of military families. During the deployment period, both military officers and families experience a sequence of emotional changes (Karney, 2007). Emotional changes that they experience results from a sequence of situational changes they go through. Emotional changes begin from notification of deployment to post deployment (officer’s return, resetting and getting back to pre-deployment).

Pre-deployment is the period between notifications of the deployment to deployment period. During this period, it not only brings a feeling of anticipation of loss but also denial to the leaving military officers. The officers face a change in the daily schedule as he is required to train for more hours ads he tries to have his family affairs in order. This leads to an increase in arguments within the family. This has an effect to the children. Many children demonstrate regressive behaviors due to the change in relationships between parents (Karney, 2007).

During deployment (after the military officer leaves), the family experiences mixed emotions of anger, relief, loneliness, feelings of overwhelm and as well sadness. These mixed feelings result from the transition of strain that family members were having while the military was preparing for the deployment and when he leaves. In severe cases, family members may have the feeling of neglect after the spouse leaves. It is during this period that family members have difficulties in sleeping (MacDermid, 2006).

After deployment (period after the military officer leaves), family members adjust to the officer’s absence and develops new routines and ways of living. As a result, family members feel more in control of the situation and less overwhelmed by the officer’s absence. Communication challenges, which result from unreliability and failure of emails and other communication media used makes communication with the deployed family member difficult.

Different reactions from family members arise. Children’s reactions such as refusal to eat may make them be enervated. This leads irritability and sadness within the family. In serious cases, arguments resulting from different reactions among family members may arise. This makes spouses and children remain to be in search of temporary happiness in order to deal with these emotional changes. Among teenagers (children), they engage in aggressive behaviors such as drugs. On the other hand, it may lead to activities aimed at creating temporary happiness among spouses. These activities are aimed at erasing memories of the deployed family members (MacDermid, 2006).

The main source of marital problems between family members if failure of communication. On the other hand, separation may play a role in contributing to the family issues after deployment. After surveying different Canadian military officers, Hiew found out that wives perceived a loss of social support after their spouses were deployed. More study on family trends after deployment shows that separation of spouses contributed to poor physical well-being of family members (Hiew, 1992). This is due to continuous worries on the security and as well frequent relocation of the military officer during the period of separation. According to researchers, they highlight that separation is the most important tool in determining the effects of deployment to families.

Separation, which results from deployment, is an indirect contributor towards divorce. Aspects such as spousal relations, financial and parenting support that arises from separation contributes to thoughts of divorce among many spouses. Studies of married Army members deployed overseas indicate that there is a decline in marital satisfaction during the deployment period. That is during the pre-deployment period, deployment period and post deployment period. Researchers indicate that marital instability is common during this period. Marital instability during the deployment period contributes to divorce of many families (MacDermid, 2006).

Survey shows that deployment occurs within a large context in early families. This implies that children mostly faced by deployment range from the age of 2-3 years. During this period, there is social mobility among children. Deployment leads to disruptions of normal routines within the family. This disruption affects children’s social association while at school and as well influences the spouse’s interrelationship with other people. This environment puts the spouse and the child at higher risks of mental ill health. This may contribute to desire of divorce as spouses search for suitable environments (Hall, 1985).

Stress from military deployment

Expectations and disappointments contribute to stress among family members. Challenges faced by the spouses during the separation period contribute to stress. Among many spouses, there are high cases of anticipation as the military officer is preparing for the deployment (Burrell, 2003). This may lead to continuous arguments among family members as they try to adjust to the leaving spouse.

During the transition period, spouses engage in different activities aiming at dealing with the absence of the family members. These activities aim at raising funds required to cater for their daily lives. During the preparation period, spouses have an expectation of spending, more time with the leaving military officer (MacDermid, 2006). However, their expectations may not be met. This is because the leaving military officer is required to train more.

As a result, he gets home while he is exhausted and requires time to rest from training. Researchers state that failure of meeting these expectations among many spouses leads to arguments among the family members (MacDermid, 2006). As a result, spouses end up having minimal expectations with each other. On the other hand, while the military officer returns from deployment, he gets home while he is exhausted (Gibbs, 2012). Therefore, the military officer requires a home setting that prompts a high adrenaline rush associated with a war theater.

Once this expectation is not met, the officer faces a challenge during the transition period. This makes the family members have a different way of carrying out their duties as a result changing the family setting (Karney, 2007).

On the other hand, there lie some stressors that the military officers face during the deployment period that affect their family life. Stressors such as pressure from their leaders and strenuous training, long working hours and lack of privacy during the deployment period are highlighted to influence the military’s attitude towards their spouses and responsibilities in the family. Witnessing injuries and deaths make military officers experience an intense trauma that contribute to stress and depression (Karney, 2007).

As a result, after the deployment period, they may demonstrate a change in their behavior and caring nature. As a result, spouses and children experience this change where some ends up opting for a divorce to save themselves from the non-caring nature of the spouse (Burrell, 2003).

Stress has an influence on the interrelationship that lies within a family. Families under stress are more prone to stress as compared to stable families. Stress arises from changes in roles, failure of meeting expectation and as well emotional changes experienced during the deployment period. Arguments within a family arise from feeling of insecurity and failure of family members. On the other hand, separation is another contributor towards marriage divorce (Gibbs, 2012).


Hall L, Williams CA, Greenberg RS. (1985). Supports, stressors, and depressive symptoms In mothers of young children. American Journal of Public Health, 75, 518-521.
Hiew, . C. (1992). Separated by their work: Families with fathers living apart.
Environment and Behavior, 24(2), 206-225.Hillenbrand, E. D. (1976). Father absence in military families. The Family Coordinator,25(4), 451-458.
Karney, B. R., & Crown, J. S. (2007). Families under stress: An assessment of data, Theory, and research on marriage and divorce in the military. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation
MacDermid, S. M. (2006). Multiple Transitions of Deployment and Reunion for Military Families. Purdue University
Burrell, L., Durand, D., & Fortado, J. (2003). Military community integration and its effect on well-being and retention. Armed Forces & Society
Gibbs, D. A., Clinton-Sherrod, A., & Johnson, R. E. (2012). Interpersonal conflict and referrals to counseling among married Soldiers following return from deployment. Military Medicine, 177(10), 1178-1183.
Allen, E. S., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2011). On the home front: Stress for recently deployed army couples. Family Process, 50(2), 235-247.
Baptist, J., Amanor-Boadu, Y., Garrett, K., Nelson Goff, B., Collum, J., Gamble, P., & ... Wick, S. (2011). Military marriages: The aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) deployments. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 33(3), 199-214.