Our take: U.S. military chaplains say stable marriages make for a strong military. To help support marriages, programs like Strong Bonds, which was started in Hawaii by a chaplain, were initiated to help soldiers and their wives maintain a solid relationship and to address persistent issues soldiers face that can affect marriages, like PTSD, drug use and depression, as well as the amount of time spent apart during deployment.
A strong U.S. military depends on more than just high-tech equipment and highly trained soldiers; it also depends on soldiers having a stable marriage, according to military chaplains.
Strong Bonds is a program that began in Hawaii over a decade ago when a brigade chaplain and his commanders realized that soldiers needed a way to receive help with their marriages. Although it started at a grassroots level, Strong Bonds has helped over 160,000 soldiers and their family members through over 2,600 events last year.
"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 CP.
A report released jointly by the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of the Treasury in February says there are over 600,000 civilian spouses of active duty service members. These couples have been married, on average, for just under eight years, and 72 percent of them have children.
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