Marriage Counseling for Soldiers
Marriage is tough under any circumstances, but military life offers special challenges and stresses. Several resources are available to help military couples address their conflict and communication problems through marriage counseling.
Resources include military and private counseling services — a couple can choose which type of counseling they want.
Military and Family Life Consultant
Most military bases have Military and Family Life Consultants that provide free short-term, non-medical counseling for individuals and families. The MFLC program, available since 2004, helps soldiers and their spouses deal with daily concerns by teaching coping skills that help soldiers handle stressors.
Counseling provided by this program is confidential, and the counselors do not keep written records of a soldier’s visits. Soldiers can visit their local MFLC or call 800-646-5613 for details about the program.
Military chaplains are another option for soldiers looking for marital counseling. Military chaplains act as trained counselors for soldiers in their units and offer confidential, free services.
Confidentiality is only waived if counseling reveals a threat to security or others, so soldiers do not have to worry about their counseling appointments being reported to their commanders, even if the soldier sees that unit’s chaplain.
Though chaplains are affiliated with a particular religion, they offer services to soldiers of all faiths.
Some soldiers and their spouses prefer to seek counseling away from their military installations, so the Department of Defense added such counseling services to the list of services provided by Military OneSource, an online gathering of services for military members.
Military OneSource can connect military couples with private counseling with non-military providers. Counseling is available in-person, by telephone or online in a real-time chat format. Military OneSource services are free to military families and are available by calling 800-342-9647.
If a soldier does not want to take advantage of any of the military-sponsored counseling opportunities, he is free to seek counseling through a private provider in the community. However, the military considers marriage counseling to be a non-medical service so military medical insurance, called TRICARE, does not pay for marital counseling.
Soldiers who seek civilian counseling must pay for the counseling on their own. Some counselors might offer free services to military members, depending on the resources available in the community.