FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Beautiful beaches, shopping and seminars delighted more than 200 Soldiers of the 189th Infantry Brigade and their Families. Brigade Chaplain, Lt. Col. Philip Futoran, hosted a "Strong Bonds," marriage and single Soldiers' seminar Sept. 25 to 27 at the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The marriage seminar was based on the book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families" by Stephen R. Covey. The seminars discussed how to be intentional, how to develop what your Family should look like and where to start.

Another discussion centered on creating win/win situations, where both spouses come out winners in the relationship.

The singles seminar, led by Chaplains' Assistant Sgt. 1st Class Michael Robinson, discussed the relationship attachment model. The model discussed: know, trust, rely, commit and touch when dating. Strong Bonds Web site states, "Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain led program that helps Soldiers and their Families build strong relationships.

The program's mission is to build Soldier readiness by providing skills the Soldier can use to strengthen his or her marriage and other relationships.

Initially, Strong Bonds was intended solely for married couples, but it has now been expanded to include single Soldiers, Families with children and the special needs associated with deployment and redeployment. In addition, it has been approved Army-wide to include Guard and Reserve units."

Statistics show that about 60 percent of today's Soldiers are married. With the ever increasing demands placed on Army Families and Soldiers, such as frequent deployments and relocations, intimate relationships are tested and many marriages end in divorce. Research shows that training in communication, intimacy and conflict management increases marriage satisfaction and may reduce rates of Family violence. According to Futoran, the purpose is "to build strong and ready Families, the divorce rate of deployed Soldiers has increased over the years so congress has allotted money to support and encourage Families."

The location of Strong Bonds seminars is something that is also taken into consideration. Futoran said that the reason for choosing a specific location is to ensure that fun activities are readily available for Families and single Soldiers to enjoy.

Master Sgt. Charlene Lynch, 189th Inf. Bde., S3, Schools noncommissioned officer in charge attended the singles seminar and said, "It was very insightful, wish we would have had more time. My son even stated the seminar was informative and gave him something to think about. I suggested to Chaplain Phil we try and have a seminar here on Fort Bragg and then another at a resort location."

Maj. Shirl Roberts, 189th Inf. Bde. S1, said her Family enjoyed the activities and accommodations. "We can't wait for the next one," she said. For more information on Strong Bonds, visit or talk with your unit or post chaplain.