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Deployments do little to strengthen marriages, study finds

Imagine being forced to be away from your spouse and children for months or more at a time. When you are finally reunited, you are told you have to leave again. You have limited communication during these periods of separation, which makes it hard to stay completely connected like you are when you're together. For many married couples, the thought of this is unbearable. For military families in Alaska, however, it may sound like real life.

Military deployments are extremely stressful on married couples. A recent study by the RAND corporation showed that 97 percent of military divorces took place after a deployment. Researchers concluded that the stress of long deployments is often too much for a marriage to handle.

After reviewing the information of 462,444 military members, researchers determined that longer deployments are more likely to result in divorce. Interestingly, researchers also discovered that service members who were married before Sept. 11, 2001, were more likely to divorce because of a yearlong deployment than those who were married after the terrorist attacks.

Many Alaska families know firsthand the challenges that come with a long-term deployment. Even with video-chatting technology and other ways of keeping in touch, couples still often have trouble feeling connected to each other. While one spouse is at home taking care of the kids and the other is living a completely different life in another country, a few hours of communicating each week is often not enough to maintain a sense of unity. Ultimately, some decide that divorce is the best option for everyone involved.

Source: Huffington Post, "Military Divorce Risk Increases With Lengthy Deployments," Sept. 3, 2013

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