Soldiers are speaking out about what it takes to stay strong amidst year-long separations.
Communication is key in any relationship but for the more than 287,000 military couples communicating across enemy lines, keeping the lines of dialogue open and honest can make or break a marriage. Military couples face a unique set of circumstances that often times find them miles apart.
The average deployment ranges between 12-15 months while deployment extensions and redeployment are just as likely. With the military divorce rate rising ever so slightly, Soldiers are speaking out about what it takes to stay strong amidst year long separations.
"All marriages have their good and bad times," explains Spc. Michelle Martinez of Clarksdale, Texas in a recent news article, "but if you and your spouse have faith, trust, and open communication, you have the keys for success." For Spc. Michelle Martinez, open communication meant discussing every aspect of her job and duty description prior to her departure to alleviate unanswered questions that might have otherwise surfaced.
But once a spouse is gone and conversations are hard to come by, it can grow increasingly difficult to stay strong. "Take pictures of yourself and your family to mail along with your letters to increase morale," suggests Sgt.1st Class Leroy J. Fontenot of Beaumont, Texas who has been married for 17 years and acts as a mentor for military newlyweds. "Seeing pictures helps keep you in touch," he adds.
Ultimately, the choice to stay positive and supportive during lengthy deployments must be made by both parties and when one falters, the other one must stay strong enough to see them though. Easier said than done, communication is made ever the more difficult when traditional methods of communication, like texting and email, are not always possible.