Strong army couples: A case study of rekindling marriage after combat deployment

Kristal C. Melvin, Jennifer Wenzel, Bonnie Mowinski Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), occurring in 15% of combat-exposed military personnel, are associated with a decrease in couples' relationship quality. The purpose of this analysis was to describe reintegration in Army couples with high couple functioning, despite PTSS in one or both partners. Reintegration refers to readjustment after deployment; returning to previous role(s). In a mixed-methods case study of Army couples with a history of combat deployment, we used existing quantitative data to define sampling boundaries, select cases, and guide interviews. Couples scoring high on couple functioning, resilience, and couple satisfaction were interviewed (N=5 couples, 10 participants). "Rekindling marriage" required strategies to overcome challenges during couple reintegration. For participants as individuals, those strategies were allowing negative emotions, giving each other time and space to do the work of rediscovery and accepting a changed reality, and recognizing and addressing individual needs of the other. As couples, strategies were to go with the flow, open your heart, become best friends, maintain trust, and communicate effectively. As families, strategies were to normalize schedules and protect family time. Findings offer a preliminary basis for interventions to promote strong relationships for military couples with PTSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

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Marriage
Military Personnel
Appointments and Schedules
Emotions
Interviews

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Coping
  • Couples
  • Military
  • Mixed methods
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Resilience
  • Veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Strong army couples : A case study of rekindling marriage after combat deployment. / Melvin, Kristal C.; Wenzel, Jennifer; Jennings, Bonnie Mowinski.

In: Research in Nursing and Health, Vol. 38, No. 1, 01.02.2015, p. 7-18.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Melvin, Kristal C. ; Wenzel, Jennifer ; Jennings, Bonnie Mowinski. / Strong army couples : A case study of rekindling marriage after combat deployment. In: Research in Nursing and Health. 2015 ; Vol. 38, No. 1. pp. 7-18.
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