Why relationship counselling is part of the RNRMC's grant funding strategy

16 October 2018

“Because of the constant time away from the family and the fact that I am left to handle everything by myself, divorce is one of the options I am considering.”

Statistics provided by Relate shows that relationship problems have been in the top five problems presenting in each of the last ten years. In the Tri-Service Families Continuous Attitude Survey (FAMCAS) 2015, 52% of respondents stated that they felt that their relationship with their serving partner would be better if they left the Royal Navy / Royal Marines. 68% had started a conversation with their serving spouse about leaving the Service.

The impact of not addressing this issue could be catastrophic for the Royal Navy in terms of performance and retention, but tackling such a highly sensitive and confidential problem and getting people to admit to a problem within the Service environment was challenging.  

So the Royal Navy, with support from the RNRMC decided to look externally to Relate, recognised experts in relationship counselling. Over the past two years, the RNRMC has allocated almost £250,000 to enable naval personnel to access free relationship and marriage counselling services through Relate with promising initial results. 

Case Study:

“We have been married for over 35 years, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been rows and arguments and sometimes it’s been tough; but because we have had so many great years together, and we have a lovely daughter, we wanted to make our marriage work.

I saw Relate’s partnership with the RNRMC advertised in the Homeport Magazine, so we both agreed to seize the opportunity and booked seven free sessions of counselling with Relate.

The sessions were arranged conveniently close to where we live, which really helped.  Generally we attended for an hour once a week. 

Most sessions we attended as a couple. Talking together with a counsellor allowed us to express issues without getting argumentative. We were also able to have one private session each, without the partner present, which we had never done before. We both felt that this helped the counsellor understand us better individually and allowed her to shape the following sessions.

All in all, counselling with Relate was very helpful. We are still together and slowly our relationship is getting better and better.  We do still have our differences.  We can both be strong-willed and stubborn.  But now we try to resolve our differences calmly, and we both think that Relate has helped us to do that.  We’ve learned to nurture our marriage, to talk about our issues.  We still need to vent off sometimes, and that’s healthy, but we forgive, we move on together, not apart!  Most of all, we’ve learned to set aside time to work on our relationship.

We would both recommend that RNRMC continues to offer the Relate service. It’s important that people get independent help early, and don’t wait until the situation is irretrievable.”

Every single one of the RNRMC-funded clients have reported improved communication; 87% reported that rows and arguments were occurring less often; 88% reported being better able to manage conflict and 87% reported that issues around taking each other for granted were better.