Military Marriage Counseling

Military marriage counseling: what to expect and available resources for military members and their spouses.

It’s no secret that military marriages see higher rates of divorce than civilian marriages. From leaving your support system because of frequent moves to feeling isolated because of deployments to suspected or realized infidelity, one thing is for sure: Being married in the military can be a lonely and sometimes unrelenting journey.

All married couples face conflict and all couples go through low periods in their relationship. However, not all couples have to deal with those challenges while preparing for a last minute move across the country or for a spouse to deploy or be TDY overseas for an extended period of time. Rather than try to deal with problems on your own or give up because it seems like the issues never end, maybe couples counseling is the first step to getting your marriage back on track.

Counselors offer an unbiased, neutral perspective on your marriage and provide solutions and team exercises to work through them. Your best friend back home loves you, but she wants to support you and cannot offer your marriage an unobstructed opinion. Plus, when we try to work out couple’s problems by consulting friends, we typically cast ourselves in the best light by leaving out the bad and the ugly of what was said and done. Your counselor does not know you from Adam and can see the situation as objectively as possible.

If you’re considering couples counseling, it might be helpful to know what to expect:

  • Therapy is often short term, though there is nothing wrong with continuing with counseling for several months. The counselor is there to help you and your spouse understand your differences and work through them rationally. If you or your spouse are dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, or other issues, your therapist may suggest getting additional help through your health care provider to more effectively treat the root problem.
  • You’ll talk about the good and the bad parts of your relationship and work to understand the sources of your conflict. Keep in mind that it might be hard to talk through your problems at first. For the first few sessions, you and your spouse might not say anything at all or you could argue the entire time. Both are entirely okay; there is no “right” or “wrong” way to utilize counseling.
  • You might have couple’s homework. To learn how to better communicate, your therapist may suggest exercises to help you practically apply what you’ve learned during your sessions. For example, you may be asked to be present in your relationship by telling your partner throughout the day how much you appreciate them. This could be as simple as saying “thank you” when your spouse takes the trash out or puts away the dishes.

Military Marriage Resources

Seeking help is just one step away – here are a few resources to help you find the best service for you and your spouse:

Military OneSource offers free, confidential face-to-face counseling. After a screening call with a consultant, you’ll be authorized for up to 12 counseling sessions with a medical provider in your area. This service is available to active-duty, National Guard and reserve members of any activation service, their immediate family members, and survivors. Military OneSource also offers several free webinars for couples looking to build a stronger and healthier marriage.

Seek out help from a Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) on base at your Family Support and Readiness Center. These licensed counselors can help you with training, resources, and information including deployment support, family life education, and relationship counseling among other services. Anything you tell the MFLC is completely confidential; they take no written records. Find a consultant through one of these centers on base:

Air Force – Airman & Family Readiness Center
Army – Army Community Service
National Guard – Joint Services Support Program
Marine Corps – Marine Corps Community Services
Navy – Fleet and Family Support Center

If you’re interested in more faith-based counseling, give your base chapel a call. All counseling sessions are confidential.

In order to address common military marriage challenges before counseling is needed, the U.S. Army also offers a Strong Bonds retreat for couples, which is a unit-based, chaplain-led program. A Strong Bonds retreat offers a safe and secure environment in which couples can take a better look at the personal impact of relocations, deployments, and military lifestyle stressors.


Wedding Military Discounts

Military discounts on wedding products and services are a great benefit that many businesses provide to active duty military and even veterans in some cases. Many businesses promote these discounts and much more so the best rule of thumb is to always ask if a military discount is available. Here is our list of wedding military discounts and how to find even more.

Engagement Rings with Military Discounts

  • Allurez
    5% military discount on engagement rings, wedding bands, pendants, earrings, and all other fine jewelry.
  • Arthur’s Jewelers
    10% military discounts to Active Duty members, Reserves, Veterans and Retirees of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard.
  • DreamStone
    Military members receive a discount on engagement rings by entering USTROOPS in the discount box upon check out.
  • Helzberg Diamonds
    10% discount to all active duty, retirees, disabled veterans, and dependents of active duty/retirees, on orders placed in-store, online, or at 1-800-HELZBERG. Once verified, those eligible will receive a one-time promotion code. Offer can’t be combined with any other promotion and is not applicable toward loose diamonds from Create Your Own Helzberg Diamond Ring™ or custom gemstone jewelry.
  • James Free Jewelers
    Currently serving military personnel and their immediate family receive 15% off every day. Please show valid ID to store associate or use .mil address when ordering online.
  • Larson Jewelers
    Active duty military members receive 5% off the purchase of wedding rings and bands.
  • Moissante Bridal
    Military members receive 5% off the purchase of an engagement ring.
    Ready to pop the big question and put a ring on it? Get 5% off on an engagement ring of your choice (maximum price of $10,000) by simply providing your US military email address.
  • Tiffany
    10% off engagement rings and wedding bands for U.S. active duty, reservists and veterans plus fiancés, domestic partners, wives and husbands. U.S. only.

    Free Chapels

    • One of the best perks of being in the military when it comes to tying the knot is that the base chapel is typically free including chaplain performing the wedding ceremony with a variety choices including almost any religious denomination, non-religious, military, civilian and casual. Start with the Chaplain’s office to find out more.

    Free or Cheap Wedding Reception Venues

    • Military bases also offer a variety of options to host wedding receptions at significantly lower cost than non-military venues, hotels or resorts. Depending on where the military base is located and the venues available venues can range from the officer, enlisted or joint-rank clubs, chapel, meeting halls, beaches, lakes, mountains and much more.
    • Weddings for Warriors
      Weddings for Warriors provides free vow-renewals and weddings to active duty military couples. Everything is included from bridal gowns, photography, hair and makeup, the venue and food. This program started in Savannah, Georgia but is now done throughout the United States. Apply to Weddings for Warriors to participate.

    Wedding Dresses for Free or with Military Discount

    • Banana Republic – 15% discount for active duty, military veterans, and dependents. Valid in store only with valid ID.
    • Brides Across America Military Bride Wedding Gown Giveaway
      Multiple bridal retailers and wedding dress designers work with this organization to provide free wedding dresses to military brides. Special wedding dress events are held throughout the year where they giveaway wedding dresses. Check out their site for a listing of the next free wedding dress event in a city near you.
    • Dress Barn – Discount and participation varies by location. Have a military ID with you and ask.
    • Larenas, Somerset, PA
      Save 15% on a bridal gown at Larenas by presenting a valid military ID.
    • New York & Company – Receive a 15% discount at participating locations. 
    • Unique Vintage – Military members receive 10% off through

    Local Wedding Venues & Services with Military Discounts

    • Battlefield Bed and Breakfast Inn, Gettysburg, PA
      Active duty military are offered 10% off any room or suite, all year round, at this 12-room bed and breakfast, located in a Historic 1809 Field Stone Farmhouse. Active Duty Military receive a 10% discount on all wedding and reception packages. This includes the small, medium, and large size wedding packages, and elopement packages. Reserve online or call (717) 334-8804.
    • Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, Solana Beach, CA
      Free ceremony site fee (a $1,500 value) for those who have served or continue to serve in the United States Military.
    • Los Verdes Golf Course, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
      A free ceremony site fee (a $2,800 value) is offered for those who have served or continue to serve in the U.S. military. Some restrictions may apply, and this offer is only valid for new event bookings.
    • Marcus Weddings, Milwaukee, WI
      25% discount on any Wedding package or reception for active U.S. Military personnel. Includes the following hotels in the Milwaukee area: Pfister Hotel, Hilton Milwaukee, Intercontinental Milwaukee and Grand Geneve Resort. Cancellation fees will be WAIVED for any wedding receptions that must be cancelled or rescheduled due to unanticipated deployment.
    • True Photography Wedding Photographer, San Diego, CA
      10% military discount on wedding photography to all who have served the U.S. Armed Forces including veterans and active duty personnel.