Marriage Enrichment

Engaged couples, newlyweds, and those celebrating many years of marriage can all benefit from marriage enrichment programs. As life changes, with the addition of a child, experiencing a deployment or living far from home, couples are presented with new challenges and obstacles to overcome. Don't be afraid to seek out a marriage enrichment program to add a bit of "spark" to your relationship.

Marriage enrichment programs are available through the Services as well as local communities. Some programs are tailored to couples in crisis and others offer general tips for effective communication, understanding money, and renewing your marriage commitment. Take some time to research programs and find a good match for you and your spouse or spouse-to-be.

Service Programs

Each Service offers marriage enrichment programs, generally sponsored by the installation chaplain.

Air Force
Marriage Care is a weekend retreat program designed to help Airmen and their families reintegrate into family life after a deployment. Marriage Care is open to active duty, reserve and National Guard Airmen and their spouses.

Army Program
Strong Bonds offers single Soldiers, couples and families relationship building skills to thrive within the military lifestyle. The Strong Bonds couple weekend retreat is offered by Army chaplains and is designed to strengthen relationships, inspire hope and rekindle marriages. Strong Bonds is open to active duty Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Air National Guard families. To locate a retreat near you, go to www.strongbonds.org.

Coast Guard, Navy & Marine Corps Program
Chaplain's Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO) Spiritual Fitness Division provides Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps families with four programs offered at 10 locations worldwide. Retreat options include Personal Growth retreats, Warrior Transition retreats, Marriage Enrichment retreats and Family Enrichment retreats. Additional retreats and seminars vary by location, but past topics have addressed Spiritual Growth, Women, Single Service members, and returning Individual Augmentees (IA's) and their families. All CREDO retreats are free, including meals and lodging. Registration is required.

National Guard and Reserve Programs
National Guard and Reserve families are eligible for the Service programs listed above as well as marriage enrichment programs within your state of assignment. Marriage enrichment programs vary by state. For example, the Ohio National Guard offers the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) as well as a follow-on to PREP called LINKS (Lasting Intimacy through Nurturing, Knowledge and Skills).

More programs are becoming "purple" and welcome families from all Services. If there isn't a marriage enrichment program specific to your Service in your location, don't be afraid to ask a sister-Service if you can attend their program.

Contact your family support center or chaplain for more information about the programs listed above.

Community Resources

Don't forget to look outside the gate. Marriage preparation and enrichment programs are offered by local churches, non-profit organizations, and community groups. Some organizations have partnered with local installations to offer services to military families. Two organizations serving military families include, Operation Military Family and Military Marriage Enrichment. Operation Military Family offers workshops, retreats and seminars in Washington State and Military Marriage Enrichment provides marriage preparation and enrichment programs in the state of Texas. Unit chaplains or the state Joint Family Assistance Center may have suggestions for programs in your area.

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