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Attention Military Men and Women:  Don't Marry a Jerk


Military life is full of jargon. An MRE, for instance, is not a missile or a tank. It's one of those dehydrated meals for soldiers in the field. MRE: Meals, Ready to Eat.

But some plain talker must have clout in the Pentagon these days, because its newest initiative has a name that anybody, anywhere, can understand.

Some background: Commonly in wartime, some service personnel rush to marry their sweethearts before shipping out. Or they fall in love in combat zones abroad and bring home what used to be called war brides. With thousands of women serving abroad, war spouses would be a better term for it these days.

Many times these marriages do not last, because of cultural differences or because the partners did not get to know each other very well.

That's why the U.S. military has never been wild about marriage in wartime. If the Army wanted you to have a wife, goes one old adage, it would have issued you one.

Faced with the more than 56,000 divorces among Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve soldiers serving in the Middle East and Afghanistan since 2001 -- and worried about high levels of domestic violence in military families -- chaplains are aggressively warning men and women in uniform to chose potential spouses with great care.

The program has a typically bureaucratic name: Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge. But official Pentagon publications also refer to it by a refreshingly clear title as well. It's called, How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk!

Three cheers for candor. But we do wonder how the chaplains are handling one ticklish aspect of this initiative: What if it's the soldier, not the spouse, who's the jerk??