A new study offers strategies for rekindling marriage after a spouse returns home from combat with post-traumatic stress symptoms present in one or both of the spouses.
For participants as individuals, it's important to allow negative emotions, to give each other time and space to do the work of rediscovery and accept a changed reality, and to recognize and address the individual needs of the other. As couples, strategies include going with the flow, opening your heart, becoming best friends, maintaining trust, and communicating effectively. As families, it's helpful to normalize schedules and protect family time.
"This research contributes to the literature by providing a glimpse into the lives of Army couples who have succeeded in keeping their relationships strong in the face of deployment separation and post-traumatic stress symptoms," said Kristal Melvin, lead author of the Research in Nursing & Health study. "Continued investigation of family-promoting strategies, such as those discovered in this study, provides opportunities to educate and support other couples facing military deployment separation or similar challenges."