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Local History

Valentine's Day Event Aims to Help Military Couples

Divorce rates for military men and women who are deployed are on the rise.KMSU’s Ryan Farmer has more.

A report that came out last year from the U.S. Army Medical Department shows that in the first few months of deployment, up to 6% of Non Commissioned Officers say they plan on getting a divorce. That figure goes up to twenty percent for those deployed 14 months or longer.Because military couples often face unique challenges like deployment, Ozarks Marriage Matters and Operation Us are teaming up this weekend to give couples a chance to reconnect for Valentine’s Day.“Couples in Arms” is a program that will provide a day of workshops for any interested military couple, those dealing with deployment AND those who are not.Derek Gwinn, the Project Manager for Operation Us, says the response to this event from military couples has been positive.

“The people who have signed up for the event have been pretty excited about the opportunity. That this is all in one day and includes the evening activity really has some appeal and has been appreciated that they can do on Valentine’s Day that’s special and is something they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise,” says Gwinn.

Gwinn says there’s a reason for reaching out specifically to military couples—they’re often in high stress, dangerous situations. He says sometimes it can be difficult to communicate with your spouse after spending the day communicating with commanding officers.

“The workshop will be talking about good communication skills and about an active listening approach to communication, which is not something you necessarily do in the Army. You don't necessarily get to turn around and say to your commanding officer or your drill sergeant, 'so what I hear you asking me to do is this?' You don't get the freedom to do that, you just do it. And if that's the kind of communication style you are used to during the day, that can certainly be something that grates against someone else whose not apart of that environment during the day,” says Gwinn.

The event includes workshops for military couples led by Dr. Jennifer Baker, Program Director for Operation Us, and those begin at 8:30AM this Saturday and run until 4:30pm.The evening activities begin at 6 and include dinner, a presentation and dancing.For more information you can call Operation Us at 417-823-3469.

For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Farmer