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Military divorce rate rises again

They serve their country with honor and bravery in times of war. But when the troops return home, they sometimes face other struggles on the home front.

The rate of military divorce was 2.6 percent in 2001. By 2009, it had increased to 3.6 percent. And statistics released this month by the Department of Defense show the rate has risen yet again, this time to 3.7 percent.

Fueling the increase, experts say, is the difficulty veterans have as they try to recapture their place in their marriage and family. While off at war, the spouse develops new routines, does household tasks the other spouse usually did, and sometimes crafts a new family structure. So when the veteran comes home, that home is not the same.

Veterans with children might find that their kids don't follow directions as their soldiers in combat did. They might find that their spouses and children don't understand that war has changed the veteran, too, due to the sometimes horrific experiences that come with deployment in a war zone. Veterans accustomed to orderly surroundings might snap at a spouse and children if the house is in disorder.

Counselors, as well as families who have been through a military-forced separation, say the key to returning to the family fold is communicating and giving the situation time to heal. Both sides will need to understand that life does not go back to the way it was as soon as a veteran returns from war and to be patient during the adjustment period.

Source: Military.com, "Military Divorce Rates Continue Steady Climb," Amy Bushatz, Dec. 14, 2011

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