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Although everyone hopes for a happily-ever-after romance, all couples are bound to experience conflict from time to time. Military couples in particular have unique pressures that most civilians do not have to deal with. In fact, relationship issues are the top reason service members and their families seek non-medical counseling support through Military OneSource.

Couples can strengthen their partnership by enhancing communication skills, addressing challenges early, learning how to resolve their differences and developing healthy relationship habits.

If your service member is having relationship problems or is trying to pick up the pieces after a breakup, help is available.

The importance of addressing relationship stress

An unhappy relationship can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including their physical and mental health. Studies show that people live longer, healthier lives when they have positive emotional connections. For service members, relationship issues can affect readiness by making it difficult to stay focused on the mission at hand.

Not everybody is willing to seek help, however. As a friend or family member, you can let your service member know that it’s not only OK to reach out for support, it’s a sign of strength. Share a time when you were in a similar situation. This will help your loved one understand that problems like theirs are not uncommon. Talk about the ways you and your partner repaired your relationship. Or if your efforts weren’t successful, mention how tapping into available resources might have helped.

Help for Relationship Stress

Your service member and their partner can seek help at any stage of their relationship, whether they are just starting out or have been together for many years. Resources for service members include:

Non-medical counseling. Non-medical counselors are experienced professionals who understand the unique issues service members and their partners face. They will meet with couples or individuals face-to-face, or by phone, online chat or video. Sessions are free and confidential.

Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations. These consultations focus on the area of a relationship that needs attention. Common issues military couples may seek assistance for include communication refreshers, reconnecting after deployment and staying connected while away. The sessions include coaching, practical tools, resources and problem-solving techniques. The Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations are free and confidential.

Love Every Day. This interactive tool helps couples practice their communication skills in only a few minutes each day.

Marriage enrichment programs for military couples. Each military service branch offers programs designed to enrich marriage by helping couples develop their communication skills and rekindle their romance. These programs are either low-cost or free.

If your service member or their partner feels unsafe in a relationship, they can reach out to the Family Advocacy Program or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-787-7224.

Your service member can learn more by contacting Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. International calling options are available for those outside the continental United States.

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