Many life stressors stem from relationships. Whether in a dating relationship or married, relationship problems leading to distress may result from difficulties in communication, parenting, sexual intimacy, finances or immaturity. The average age of married enlisted Marines is 28, the youngest of the four military services. Additionally, 40% of Marine Corps spouses are under the age of 25, again the youngest of all military services. Coupling this young age with the demands of a military lifestyle can result in significant challenges for Marine couples. There is a tendency among some supervisors and commanders not to interfere in a unit member's personal life. Experience suggests, however, that relationship problems can quickly interfere with duty performance and personal readiness. Relationship problems have been identified as a significant risk factor associated with suicide in the Marine Corps and can be a major source of stress in a deployed environment. Combat and operational stress reactions have been compounded and sometimes precipitated by relationship difficulties at home.
The Marine Corps takes a proactive stance in supporting healthy marital relationships. Most leaders are keenly aware of how relationships can impact mission readiness. When Marines are confident that their relationships are in good standing and their spouses are supported, they are able to focus on the mission at hand.
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