Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Battles at Home- Military Marriages Need You + Giveaway!

It sounds like a headline right out of a newspaper- TROOPS RETURNING FROM IRAQ FACE NEW BATTLE AT HOME. It's sad, but very true- the Military divorce rate has risen 42 % during one of the country's longest wars.

 “When troops return home, civilians think ‘OK, that’s it. It’s over.’ But that’s not true. The stress on our marriage of 13 deployments since 9/11 has been immeasurable.” – Valerie Gaff, former Air Force Senior Airman, wife of Air Force Master Sergeant. The divorce rate among military couples has increased 42 percent since the Afghanistan-Iraq wars began in 2001.

This staggering statistic comes as a result of thousands of couples who have endured multiple deployments resulting in years of separation. What’s worse, plans to pursue divorce or separation have shown to increase with each subsequent month a service member is deployed.

When Air Force Master Sergeant Todd Gaff received orders to deploy to Afghanistan in 2001, he and his wife, Valerie, never imagined it was only the first of 13 tours of duty in the region. With each return home, a new challenge is presented. “We had to renegotiate our roles, routines and relationship,” says Valerie. “While Todd was away, I was totally in charge and fully responsible for our children and household. When he returned, it was hard to let go of some of those roles. It was also scary getting reacquainted. By necessity, we both changed each time we were apart.”

According to FamilyLife, a nonprofit leader in marriage conferences since 1976, the first 90 days post-deployment are the most critical for military marriages. “That window is the proven time frame during which people develop habits and will set the tone for the future of the marriage. It’s critical for military couples to establish healthy habits quickly as they struggle to reconnect and restructure their families,” says FamilyLife founder and president Dennis Rainey. To help the transition to home and family, FamilyLife wants to provide military couples with The Art of Marriage, it’s proven DVD program for strengthening marriages and preventing divorce through simple, yet effective, insights.

“We would like to help spark a nationwide movement to ‘give back’ to those who have given so much to our country,” says Rainey. Because FamilyLife wants to help military couples to view The Art of Marriage, they are asking the public to consider three donation opportunities:

  • TEXT $10. Make a $10 donation right now by simply texting OPS to 80888 to help a military couple to attend The Art of Marriage. 
  • DONATE. For a donation other than $10 donate online, go to
  • HOST AN EVENT. Help a military couple in your community or church by hosting an event yourself! Text HOST to 85005

The importance of The Art of Marriage and the movement to help married military couples has caught the attention of Grammy-nominated, American Music Award and multiple GMA Dove Award winners MercyMe. “Trying to keep military families together is something I take very seriously. [This] gives us all an opportunity to offer these couples a fighting chance” -Bart Millard, Lead singer MercyMe.

Because Valerie Gaff has experienced the challenges of an 18-year military marriage, she understands the storms she and her husband have faced and encourages people to make a donation. “Civilians often don’t understand that though the battle overseas may be over, our troops must now come home and fight for their marriages,” says Gaff.

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It's very easy to take your marriage for granted- when your spouse is not deployed or serving your country. I have many friends who have husbands and wives which are currently serving in different military branches, and I often find myself wondering how they have the strength to survive deployment.

I encourage you to take a few moments, watch this video- donate if you can- but simply share it with your friends, family, pastor, church, Mom's group, etc., to help spread the word about this great program that helps give back to the people and families which sacrifice so much for our freedoms.

To read more about the program, and ways to help, please visit

GIVEAWAY: To help celebrate marriage, and spread the word, we are giving away a $20 Applebee's Gift Card to one lucky couple. To enter, simply fill out the RaffleCopter widget below. If it is not loading properly, please click here, and give it a moment.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  


Candie L March 21, 2012  

The boys are just now getting old enough where we can leave them home alone for brief periods of time. Our last date night was around Christmas and we went shopping at Wal-Mart. Woo Hoo. Thank you


Dawn V March 21, 2012  

I can't remember the last time my husband and I went out to dinner without the kids. It would be so nice to go out on a date with him!

rosannepm March 22, 2012  

He works from 8:30 am to 7:30 p.m so we are both exhausted. Maybe on a Sunday when he's home

kyl neusch March 22, 2012  

havent had one for awhile

April March 22, 2012  

My husband is an active duty soldier, he works 24/7 no weekends, no holidays due to the MOS he has. Would love to have a date night with him when his schedule allows :)


Anonymous,  March 22, 2012  

My husband works a lot of hours so we usually eat fast food.

Mysharona March 22, 2012  

we are both so busy with work, kids, and volunteer activities, we need a night out.

susan1215 March 22, 2012  

We haven't had a date out in years so this would be a nice treat

s2s2 at comcast dot net

EMMAHORTON March 22, 2012  



barbara.montyj March 22, 2012  

We need a date night because we have a family member with stage 3 cancer.
Yes a break!
Thank you.
barbara dot montyj at gmail dot com

Anonymous,  March 22, 2012  

It's been a really long time since we've had a night out. It would be so nice.

sarah March 22, 2012  

we deserve a date night out because it would be nice to have a conversation that is not constantly interrupted by the kids
Sarah Hirsch

sksweeps March 22, 2012  

Need a date night out because there have been so many, so stressful things going on for so long... just need a break!

sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

tia March 22, 2012  

We need a date night out because with 3 boy's we don't get out by ourselves much.
tmoyer6980 at charter dot net

Rebecca Graham March 22, 2012  

It has been a while since we have had a date night.

rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

tavernie March 22, 2012  

Taking care of our 2 grandchildren We havent had a night out!

ptavernie at yahoo dot com

Anonymous,  March 22, 2012  

I would love to win this giveaway so I could give it to my daughter. Her and her husband need a date night out, before their new arrival this May.

smilekisses March 23, 2012  

Years and years and years since we had a date night. :(
dolniaks at consolidated dot net

Kristy Thiel March 23, 2012  

my husband and I haven't had a date night in ages, we have an 18 month old at home!

amweeks March 23, 2012  

I would love to have a night out with my hubby to get away from the kids for a bit. We spend so much time with their acitivites, it would be great to just have some time alone!

coriwestphal March 23, 2012  

It has been a ridiculous long time since my hubs and I have been on a date. This is out 11th year of marriage, and it's been a tough one. A date night might help renew things!

coriwestphal at msn dot com

cowboyswife March 23, 2012  

I can't even remember the last time my hubby and I have had a date night. Not even for our Anniversary or Birthdays, we just can't afford it. It would be nice to sit down and eat and enjoy each others company.

Cyndy March 23, 2012  

We all need a little R and R....

Wendy Rozema March 23, 2012  

We don't go on a lot of dates so this would be awesome to win!!

Laura March 23, 2012  

We love Applebees, it's right down the road, and we never get a night out!!!

Leenburke March 24, 2012  

We need a night out because our 3 kids are driving us nutso!!

lmurley2000 March 24, 2012  

we deserve a date night out we havent been out for a long time

Valerie Taylor Mabrey March 24, 2012  

My hubby has been working so hard he needs a nice night out
vmkids3 at msn dot com

crystalf March 24, 2012  

It's been years since the hubby and I went out without the girls. We could really use some time to ourselves. lol thank you!
crystalfaulkner2000 at yahoo dot com

Alisha L. March 25, 2012  

My husband is Active Duty Navy and living so far from family it's hard to find a sitter to take a date night, we could really use it with a deployment coming up :)

bakergurl02 (at) yahoo (dot) com

erma March 25, 2012  

We deserve a date night cause we have never had a date night.

clynsg March 25, 2012  

This comment is for my daughter and her husband, not for myself. They deserve a date night because they really don't see each other much on most days. He works from 3am-2pm M-F, and she is in college full time, in addition to being the home base for their grown children.

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Erica C. March 25, 2012  

My guy is always super busy with work, and then going to the gym trying to get fit. He deserves a nice dinner out.

ard1977 March 25, 2012  

I would love a date night out w/ my sweetie! We rarely get out w/o the kids and this would give us a chance to just enjoy each other! Thanks! arden0123@yahoo dot com

mrs.mommyy March 25, 2012  

time together..reconnect

Dara Nix March 25, 2012  

We deserve a date night out because we've got a LOT of stuff in our individual & personal lives going on and would LOVE to get away from it all (if only for an hour or 2)!
kitty32504 at cox dot net

Rich March 25, 2012  

With two kids, we don't get much "us" time

WWillows6 March 25, 2012  

I would love for my husband and I to have a date night because between running our small business and taking care of our 4 children we rarely get to have much time alone.

Lisa Garner

Kim March 25, 2012  

With my husband being laid off from his job we don't have the extra money for date night

luvdatmouse at charter dot net

Michaela R March 26, 2012  

We need a date night because we haven't had one since we've zipped up our budget even more. As money is getting tighter and harder to keep a grasp on, we just can't afford date nights anymore. This would help greatly.

Miranda Ward March 26, 2012  

We need a Date After this process of buying a house! Its very stressful!

Lana Bradstream March 26, 2012  

We deserve a night out because we have not had one in a long time!


tlcfromtn March 26, 2012  

We haven't had a date night in years and we both really need one

MsAngelasFinds March 26, 2012  

Thanks for a an awesome giveaway! Me & my honey deserve a night out because we are very stressed financially an cannot afford to treat ourselves to anything.
Angela Michels
lilsweeper76 at yahoo dot com

Jennafer211 March 26, 2012  

Due to my husbands job, we have been living apart in different states for over a year. We are finally going to live together at the end of May, we could use a date night! Thanks!!

jenspurg March 26, 2012  

We have 3 girls and we rarely get a night to ourselves so this would be great.

Teresa Moore March 26, 2012  

My husband and I need some alone time to discuss future plans for our family.

Amber March 26, 2012  

we deserve a night out!

Renee March 26, 2012  

We deserve a night out before we are the parents of two kids (in October) instead of one!

Miss LaMonte March 26, 2012  

We deserve a date night out because we haven't had one in years!

chadro March 26, 2012  

well because we're broke usually and bored with food at home

Heather R March 26, 2012  

I have a 6mo old and haven't really had a break since my son was born. Now that he is older it would be great to have a night out!

Atreau March 26, 2012  

We haven't had one in a while.

imaclutz89 March 26, 2012  

Me and my boyfriend deserve a night out because we only get to see each other 2 days a week. He's in grad school and I'm still trying to find a job so we're tight on money.


Sue C. March 26, 2012  

Rarely get a date night so this would be a wonderful break.

Breanne March 26, 2012  

The next time I see my husband it'll be right after a deployment so we'll definitely deserve a night out!


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