Yay, Katie! So exciting that your dh will be home soon.
Yeah, I couldn't hang around somewhere for 2 hours with my LOs. I'd be exhausted by the time my dh was ready to go home. Who would drive?
That was a good thing to say to your friend. You can't mend their marriage. Another thing I just thought of with deployments is that people change afterward. My dh was a very romantic guy. (I'm not much.) He was always doing sweet, little things for me. Mushy cards for no reason, sending me flowers, making a picnic lunch of my fave foods to eat on the living room floor when we couldn't go anywhere. That sort of thing. He would do fun, spontaneous stuff like that for our teenage ds, too, and did a lot to take care of the baby when he came. He almost always cooked dinner and he helped a lot with housework. After he came back from his first deployment he didn't do any of those things. He would leave his clothes and things all over the house. He wouldn't cook dinner unless I really nagged him about it. If he was out and picked himself up a soda or something, he wouldn't even bother to ask if any of us wanted one. Then he'd be surprised that our teenage ds was upset that he didn't get a soda. Or he'd make himself something to eat for lunch and, again, not even bother to ask if anyone else wanted anything and get annoyed when one of us would ask him to make more. Little things like that had changed so that it seemed sometimes he wasn't even aware of us, much less thinking about us the way he used to.
I don't know if it was the stress of what they had done. Their deployment was extended by about 4 months because they ended being involved in the "Fight for Fallujah" and then security while Iraqis voted. He didn't tell me much about what happened during that time but he did tell our teenage son that he had seen a lot of dead people. I know he had to go out on patrols for weeks at a time and got in fire fights. We can all guess the rest. Or maybe it was that he had gotten so used to being on his own that it was hard to transition back to being a family man. Probably a combination of both. All of that made things pretty difficult between his first and 2nd deployments. I changed a lot, too (or so my dh says). Oddly, after his 2nd deployment he was back to his old self.
I can see how that kind of change, especially if it happens a little more with each deployment, could break down a marriage. You get used to doing things yourself in your own way. A lot of women learn that they can do a lot of things without a man and start to wonder if they really need one. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even if their marriage was good and strong before all of the deployments, they may have changed while apart so that things aren't good anymore. Both parties have to be extremely committed to working on making the marriage work, moreso than in civilian marriages. If one person isn't willing to work or change, there's nothing anyone else can do. It is sad but it happens all the time. The divorce rate in the military, especially during wartime, is higher than the general public and that's around 50%, right?