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How can the stresses on military families be addressed?

What sort of pressures do military couples face that their civilian counterparts do not? For starters, there are the constant worries distance and violence can bring, especially if a spouse is stationed overseas in a battle zone. These alone can cause a Louisiana couple to consider a military divorce, especially if they are poor at communicating or not dedicated to one another. But couldn't it be easier for couples to stay together if the active military member had more say over his or her stationing, as well as other factors of a military career?

That is what one veteran of the Iraq War is arguing. He believes that the recent admission of infidelity and subsequent resignation of former general David Petraeus highlights two things about today's military. The first is that many women and men are devoted to their positions as active members and that our military is strong. The second is that his acts of infidelity underscore the necessity of changes for service members to continue having healthy relationships with their families that are left behind.

According to reports, Petraeus was married for 37 years during which he and his wife relocated two dozen times. His deployments often found him in heated combat zones and the pressures of being a major player in the American armed forces likely got to him. With his family continually supporting him and his military career, it may be surprising to some to find that he had an extramarital affair.

But many stressors can lead to improper behavior. Relationships can only take so much strain and many military couples have been affected by the decade of deployments that the U.S. military has been a part of. Some say this is why there are reports of the military divorce rate being at the highest level it has ever been. To address this, the aforementioned Iraq War veteran believes that service members should have more control over their duty stations and should be allowed more frequent leave during overseas tours.

Source: Tribune-Review, "Improve military families' lives," Rob Mercuri, Dec. 1, 2012

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