The military life can be difficult on even the strongest marriage. With frequent deployments, incredible levels of work-related stress for the military spouse, and loneliness and isolation for the civilian spouse, these (and other) physical and emotional factors may be enough to bring you and your spouse to the brink of divorce. Unfortunately, many marriage therapists and counseling services may not seem to be able to relate to the specific challenges you and your spouse are facing. What are your best options for military marital counseling? Read on to learn more about why so many veterans and their spouses have sought assistance from military-specific counseling services, as well as some ways to find resources in your area.
Do military marriages need special counseling?
Although most marriage counselors are adept at giving out advice and guidance for couples who have found themselves in a variety of disparate situations and industries, there are several arguments in favor of seeking out a marriage counselor with specific experience in dealing with the emotional fallout of a military lifestyle. Many military marriage breakdowns have similar root causes (particularly the growing apart that can be inherent in a long distance relationship), and someone who exclusively serves a military population should be more equipped to provide you with useful feedback and coping and communicating mechanisms.
In some cases, you or your spouse (or both) may be able to benefit from individual counseling as well as marital counseling. An individual counselor can help you sort out the conflicting emotions you may feel toward your spouse, or can help the military member process some of the atrocities witnessed while in combat. Often, a marriage can't be healed until each of the individual spouses have sought constructive ways to address their own mental or emotional issues.
What are your military marriage counseling options?
To seek out a military-based marriage counselor in your area, you may want to contact your local VA office or other agency dealing with veteran-specific issues. If you'd prefer to be a bit more discreet, you should be able to research counselor qualifications and even set up an appointment online after conducting a search for military-specific counselors in your area. And if you and your spouse have children, you might also want to investigate play-based counseling options to help your child sort out any emotions he or she may be experiencing due to the strain in your marriage or any post-traumatic stress being worked through by the military member. For more information about counseling, contact a therapist such as Tim Robbins Counseling.