The plethora of viral homecoming videos adored by millions of Americans paint a romanticized picture of what family life is like for military personnel.
But surprise! Romance is dead! Alright, maybe not entirely, but Frank Sinatra’s “love and marriage — they go together like a horse and carriage” lyrics don’t necessarily apply to the majority of today’s service members, at least according to the results of the 2018 Personal and Professional Choices Survey, completed by almost 13,000 Navy respondents.
The survey, one which will live in relationship infamy, suggests that the allure of marriage and family has been significantly disparaged due to the unique demands military culture imposes.
Long work days, frequent deployments and the ever-present threat of the patron saint of chicanery — the one they call Jody — have knocked the state of harmonious matrimony down a few notches on the priority pole of service members.
Completed every other year, the survey helps the Navy “track the trends and impact of personnel policies, not only on individual Sailors and their families, but also on Navy readiness,” the release said.
Of the survey’s participants, 45 percent of unmarried men and 52 percent of unmarried women reported that life as a sailor diminished the likelihood that they would tie the knot.
And for personnel with no kids, 41 percent of men and 49 percent of women reported that years of being forged by the sea decreased their likelihood of forging a family by having or adopting children.
In the category of those who have already repopulated the planet, results show that 55 percent of women believe that having a child has adversely effected their careers, while 26 percent of men maintain that belief.
Of female officers who conceived during military service, about 76 percent of those pregnancies were planned, compared to 47 percent among enlisted. Once transferred after becoming pregnant, 51 percent of women felt valued by their new command. Only 34 percent, however, viewed their transfer as a step up in their career trajectory.
Additional survey results can be found in the Navy’s release.
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