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Army Program Helps Build Marriage, Family Bonds


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Army Program Helps Build Marriage, Family Bonds
[3/16/2010]

Source: The Montgomery Advertiser

Between kids, keeping house and work schedules, there isn't a lot of family time. Sprinkle in deployments and military cou­ples don't have much time for each other.  The military has recognized the importance of family and has adopted the Army Strong Bonds program that includes marriage enrichment retreats.

By Jenn Rowell

Between kids, keeping house and work schedules, there isn't a lot of Family time. Sprinkle in deployments and military couples don't have much time for each other.

The military has recognized the importance of Family and has adopted the Army Strong Bonds program that includes marriage enrichment retreats.

Capt. Jared Corsi and his wife, Katherine, went to one of those retreats in Hilton Head, S.C., recently and said it was a chance to focus on each other.

Jared Corsi is with the 926th Engineer Brigade, an Army Reserve unit with its headquarters in Montgomery, and returned last year from a yearlong deployment to Iraq.

"When I come home from work we have our son Benjamin, we make dinner and read books and there's really no time for Katherine and I," Jared Corsi said.

The Army pays for couples to attend the retreat, which includes sessions on communication, intimacy and conflict management.

More than 70 married couples and about 30 single Soldiers attended the Hilton Head retreat for Army reservists. The single program helps Soldiers develop healthy relationship skills.

The Alabama National Guard has similar programs and is hosting a marriage enrichment retreat in Orange Beach this weekend for about 35 couples, including Guardsmen who are returning from deployment or preparing to deploy.

Chaplain (Col.) Robert Hicks said the goal of these programs is prevention -- preventing divorce.

"Realistically, we have some people who come to these that are on the verge of divorce," Hicks said.

The Corsis said learning tech­niques and new ways to communicate or cope with deployments and everyday life was useful. But for Katherine, the best parts were spending so much time with her husband, and sharing with other couples.

"It was nice to see that other couples go through the same things," she said. "A lot of times you feel like you're the only one."

Hicks said the marriage en­richment retreats, programs for singles and the Yellow Ribbon programs for deploying and re­turning troops and their Families offer support and help keep Families strong.


That's one way they're addressing the rising suicide rates in the military, he said.

"One of the things we don't have a handle on is there's no pattern. It's about the same rate for those that have deployed and those that haven't," Hicks said of the suicide rates.

The poor economy, job loss, marriage and parenting issues and the stress of deployments are all factors and the military is trying to help alleviate some of those stresses, Hicks said.