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Couples Therapy 101: Military Couples in a Foreign Duty Station

military couple, boots, sunset

Couples who are stationed together on a military base in a foreign country may face specific challenges in their relationship. Here are some common issues that arise for couples in this situation and that they may be able to address in couples therapy:

First, dual career challenges: When both partners are pursuing their careers, it can be challenging to find suitable employment opportunities in a foreign country. This can lead to one partner sacrificing their career aspirations, which can create tension and dissatisfaction. Couples therapy can help couples navigate the complexities of dual careers, explore potential solutions, and support each other in finding a balance between personal and professional fulfillment.

Second, role strain and identity adjustment: Living on a military base in a foreign country often involves unique roles and responsibilities. The active duty spouse may have demanding work obligations, while the non-serving spouse may find themselves in a new and unfamiliar environment. These role shifts and adjustments can affect the dynamics and individual identities within the relationship. Couples therapy can facilitate discussions around role expectations, identity development, and finding a sense of purpose and fulfillment for both partners.

Third, parenting and family dynamics: Military couples stationed in a foreign country may also be raising children in an unfamiliar environment. Navigating the challenges of parenting, education, healthcare, and maintaining family connections can be stressful. Couples therapy can provide a space to discuss parenting strategies, address any conflicts or concerns related to raising children in a foreign country, and strengthen the bond between parents.

Couples therapy can offer a supportive and understanding environment for military couples stationed in foreign countries to explore and address the unique challenges they face. By working together, couples can enhance their communication, develop coping strategies, and foster resilience in their relationship while adjusting to life abroad.

Hugh Kwon, MA
Licensed Professional Counselor

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