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    Married airmen receive assistance

    Married airmen receive assistance

    Photo By Diana Cossaboom | A ring symbolizes the commitment and love that is shared between two people in...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Diana Cossaboom 

    20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - Marriage mentorship is a common term used within the religious community. Maj. Richard Holmes, 20th Fighter Wing deputy chaplain, is creating an Air Force community based mentorship program here, to help airmen work on their marriages instead of giving up.

    The program, if adopted by other bases, could potentially combat the number of divorces that occur within the military.

    In November, Holmes started building the program by training six couples as mentors. The mentors are trained on the marriage mentorship manual, which is one of the key components incorporated in the program used to strengthen marriages, said Holmes.

    "The marriage mentorship program is to build stronger more resilient couples and to build marriages that last a lifetime," said Holmes.

    A trial program was created while Holmes was at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., which turned out to be very successful, said Holmes. The couples still communicate with each other and a Facebook page was created to reach out to other airmen.

    "The program is for couples who have been married five years or less or couples planning on getting married, who really want to make their marriage last," said Holmes.

    The program was created for three types of couples. It was created for couples who want to stay married but may be struggling in their marriage, those that might want to fine tune their marriage or make their marriage better than what it already is, or as a pre-marital counseling tool for those who are getting married.

    The program allows a newly married couple to meet and interact with a couple who has been married for at least six years. They not only answer questions that the new couple has, but are given materials to cover in self-paced schedule.

    "It's sharing experiences in an informal setting," said Teresa Guerin, wife of Staff Sgt. Derek Guerin, 337th Recruiting Squadron standardization in training noncommissioned officer. "Life is a learning experience. There is always room to grow."

    Derek and Teresa are mentors for the program, but have been and are still being mentored by people within their church community.

    A reason for the program being designed was to create a support network within the base for married couples, which isn't necessarily religious based.

    "My favorite part of the program is the availability of it on a military base because there are needs especially in the military community, with all the strains and stresses that military couples face," said Teresa.

    With being in the military and in the environment of the military, there are bound to be questions newly married couples have about deployment, permanent change of station, and finances. These questions can be answered by the mentoring couples that have not only been married for a while, but have served in the Air Force for many years, added Teresa and Derek.

    "One of the goals of this is to build a healthy marriage community," said Holmes. "Some younger couples are giving up on their marriages before they've really given it a start."

    There are six lessons that will be used to help enhance the relationship between the couples. The lessons include how to love your spouse, removing barriers to listening, having positive communication, resolving conflict, and making the most of deployments.

    "What we hope is that after all of the lessons, the relationship with the mentor and mentored couples still exists, and that they want to do more," said Holmes.

    Marriage is the most important thing that can ever be done in life and it's worth fighting for, said Teresa. It's the greatest but hardest thing to ever do.

    "We would love to have couples be a part of this because we truly think we can build stronger marriages and put smiles on people's faces," said Holmes.

    Those who would like to be mentored or become a mentor contact Chaplain Holmes at or call the chapel at 895-1106.



    Date Taken: 02.18.2014
    Date Posted: 02.18.2014 14:12
    Story ID: 120758
    Location: SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC, US 

    Web Views: 168
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