Military chaplains: Strong marriages key to strong military
Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 3:08:31 PM
Divorce is on the rise across the nation, and the military is no exception. That is why military chaplains are working to help servicemembers build and sustain stable, healthy marriages, so they can better serve the nation, the Christian Post reports.
A report released in February by the Department of Defense and the Treasury states that there are more than 600,000 civilian spouses of active-duty military members, and 72 percent of them have children. Although the divorce rate among military families is much lower than the national average, which hovers around 50 percent, it went up to 3.9 percent in 2011, which is its highest since 1999, the news outlet reports.
Strong Bonds is a marriage support program started in Hawaii more than 10 years ago by a brigade chaplain and his commanders. It started small, but has since helped more than 160,000 soldiers and their families, the news outlet reports. Other marriage support programs have cropped up across all forces. The Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation began 41 years ago to help Vietnam vets with substance abuse, but has since grown to include marriage enrichment programs as well as those to help with family issues, personal growth and deployment.
"In order to have a strong army, we also need to have strong families," Lt. Col. Carleton Birch, a Strong Bonds chaplain and spokesperson, told the publication.
This is a message reinforced by First Lady Michelle Obama's Joining Forces initiative. Joining with the USO, Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have called on Americans to show their support for military families, since they sacrifice so much for the wellbeing of our country. The initiative has been working on a number of services and programs to support and strengthen military families, according to its official website.
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