Why Are Military Marriages So Strong?

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Navy photo / MSC 2nd Class Tiffini M. Jones

A Navy wedding in Coronado, California

There’s a head-turning article in the latest edition of the Journal of Family Issues (admittedly something rarely found on Battleland’s nightstand) about how well military marriages are faring after 10 years of war.

After all the stories about PTSD, TBI, depression and suicide, it’s fair to wonder how the average American military wife-and-husband are getting along. It comes as something of a surprise that – even after a decade of combat and lengthy separations – military families break up less often than their civilian counterparts. How come?

One possible answer is that the population of service members differs from the civilian population in ways that protect marriage but were not controlled in these analyses. For example, the decision to serve in the military may be associated with specific attitudes (e.g., traditionalism, commitment to institutions) that, in addition to motivating service, might also motivate remaining married even when facing lengthy and frequent deployments…Another possibility is that the package of benefits and compensation that the military offers to service members, and to married service members in particular, act as incentives to marrying and barriers to divorcing that comparable civilian marriages lack.

…write Benjamin Karney, David Loughran and Michael Pollard. Fascinating stuff. h/t Tom Philpott at