Debra Gould considers herself an equal in her marriage. Her husband,Dylan, is a sergeant at Ft. Bragg. He may bring home the paycheck, but the work Debra does cannot be measured in dollars.
"It took me a long time to understand that even by staying home, I was still contributing to the relationship," Gould says, "I have to keep the house. No one has to raise my daughter. We raise her. I'm there for him if he needs it."
Military leaders have long recognized the importance of keeping a soldiers spouse happy.
"If the family's not happy, then the soldier's not happy, and you will probably not have that individual re-enlist or stay in the Army," explains Ellen Bowman of Fort Bragg Community and Family services.
That's why places like Ft. Bragg offer support services and volunteer opportunities that can keep people like Debra happy and busy in the event her husband gets deployed.
The support is geared to keep the family self-sufficient so a soldier can rest easy when he or she is away from the family for an extended period of time.
"That person then, no matter where that person goes will be able to say 'Okay, I don't have to worry about my spouse and child because I know they can take care of themselves,'" Bowman says. That helps keep military life desirable for families like the Gould's.
Many soldiers showed their spouses appreciation by taking them out for dinner. Restaurants in the Fayetteville area were packed.
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