Love Letters Protect Happily Married Soldiers From PTSD

military couple embracing

Deployment is one of the most challenging things a marriage can endure, and risk of one's spouse developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't make the loneliness, displacement and jealousy any easier to overcome. Fortunately, a new study posits that the solution lies within something as simple and classic as romance itself: penning love letters

According to the research published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, "delayed" spousal communication (such as letters, emails, and care packages) contributed to reduced PTSD symptoms in happily married male soldiers after they returned home. Male soldiers in unhappy marriages, however, actually suffered from them more intensely with frequent spousal communication. 

We've noted before that only 1 out of 11 people has written a love letter, so if you're a happily married military spouse, you might want to consider spending more time with a word processor than with a webcam. Scientists found that the benefits of communication were less effective with real-time interactive methods like talking on the phone, using FaceTime, or chatting online. 

Although technology has gifted us with convenient, inexpensive ways to hear your long-distance spouse's voice or see his face, letters provide a more permanent sentiment than a ten-minute phone call. Why do you think that the king of schmaltz, Nicholas Sparks, based his military romance novel (and eventual movie) Dear John on a letter the protagonist received while deployed?

Nowadays, the quickness of texting and chatting have become so integral to our love lives that it's easy to forget that the gratification of receiving a letter justifies the time it takes to write it—and love letters don't need to be long. If you're at a loss of what to write, you can ask your child to scrawl a note or draw a picture, and spritzing stationary with your perfume can make the impact more profound.

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