With the expectation of up to 660 days in every three year period spent away from home for every member of the Naval Service, there are inevitable strains and pressures on relationships and family life, not faced in almost any other profession. The support we provide is therefore a lifeline for those struggling to maintain their relationships while serving. In 2018 some 580 courses of counselling and 1,327 separate counselling sessions have been completed thanks to our funding.
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.
“We have been married for over 35 years, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been rows and arguments and sometimes its 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 were 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 other partner present – which enabled our counsellor to understand us better individually and allowed her to shape the following sessions.
All in all, counselling offered by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity was very helpful. We are still together and slowly our relationship is getting better and better. We do still have our differences and can both be strong-willed and stubborn. The difference now is that we try to resolve our differences calmly, and we both wholeheartedly agree that this programme has helped us to do that. Both of us sincerely hope that the RNRMC continues to offer this type of relationship support. It’s so important that people get independent help early, and don’t wait until the situation is irretrievable.”
At the beginning of 2019, we supplemented the free telephone, online and face to face counselling services we already provided to the serving population and veteran community by launching that RNRMC Building Stronger Families portal, a self-directed online learning programme providing a discreet and easily-accessible way for all naval families to access advice and support when relationships are put under strain.