National Guard Marriage Retreat

Saturday, August 27th 2005, 6:24 pm
By: News On 6

The war in Iraq is taking an emotional toll on soldiers. The Army reports divorces among officers tripled from 2002 to 2004.Now programs are popping up all over the homefront to help soldiers save their marriages.

The Oklahoma National Guard says its divorce rate is not mirroring what's going on with soldiers around the nation. But they're still trying to combat the problem, before it gets worse.

It's kind of like marriage basic training. But instead of doing drills to prepare them for deployment they're doing exercises to strengthen their marriages. More than 30 Oklahoma National Guard couples signed up for this retreat at the Heart of the Hills resort in Cherokee County. The two-day retreat is designed to arm couples with communication skills and remind them how to put the fun back into their relationship. The couples played role-playing games, added a little comic relief with cartoons, and they even had homework.

Captain Brad Hanna a guard chaplain, says he hopes the techniques will help whether they're here or abroad.

Capt Brad Hanna, OK Guard Chaplain: "whether they're deployed or whether they're at home we want them to know that we are concerned about their families and we want to work to keep their homes intact so they're prepared for whatever may come."

One guard member at the retreat today says this is one of the biggest issues she faces working with soldiers.