Last weekend (Januray 6-8) my husband and I attended a program known as Strong Bonds
And what is Strong Bonds?
Strong Bonds is a chaplain-led programs for commanders and thier families. Its mission is to increase soldier and the family readness through relationship education and skills training. There is so much pressure on military life today. Today we face more and long deployments that can put a stain on both marriage and family life. Strong Bonds helps the family not only to prepare for deployment and/or post-deployment, but helps the miliarty family to strenghten and keep the lines of communications open.
Couples like Mark and I volunteer to participate in a Strong Bonds retreat. Though it counts as AT for the soldier. It is held offsite, the retreat is design to maximize the family relationship training impact. Also known as a getaway, it provides a comfortable place for training, but for the couple to unwind. It is at these sites, chosen by the chaplens that offer emotionally safe and secure environment, where one can address the effects of miliarty life.
The Strong Bonds we attended was held at the amazing SkyTop Lodge, SkyTop, PA.
We had attended another event here, The Yellow Ribbon Reinteration about three weeks ago and was looking forward to our returning for what we knew would be an amazing weekend.
Strong Bonds first began in 1999, with four events and 90 couples in the 25th Division, Hawaii, Strong has since spread throughout the Active and Reserve Componernts of the Army.
In 2004, the US Code was amended to allow command funding for "chaplain-led programs to assist members of the armed forces--in bulding and maintainging a strong family structure," (Title 10-1789).
In the fiscal year of 2010, the Army completed the third year of a five year longitudinal study evaluating the outcome of Strong . Preliminary outcome shows a fifty percent lower rate in divorce with an increase in marital satisfaction for participants.
Very true. For Mark and I walked away with a few tools in our toolchest. Even though it has been a week, we still are practicing the lessons we learned from Strong Bonds.
So why is this program so important to the Army?
Because strong families are the backbone of the Army. The Army realizes that when the Soldier's family is healthy and secure, the Soldier then can focus on the task at hand. Knowing thier loved ones are recieving the support needed back home, relieves their minds and hearts. Strong, loving marriages and relationships contribute to the maintenance of a healthy Army and a secure future force. While we have not gone through duty relocations, we have felt the stain of frequent deployments, we have had our relationship tested.
The research done on Strong Bonds has shown that the training couples recieves, improves communication skills, imtimacy and conflict management. As stated before, it increases marital satisfaction and reduces the rates of Family violence.
I am so happy to say that the Army sees the need and is going out of its way to help Soldiers and their Families get through the ups and down of Miliarty Life.
I highly recommand the Strong Bond Program to all our soldiers and their families.
It is truly worth the weekend.
If I had an complain, it would be it needs to be one day longer.