Marriages celebrated week before Valentine’s Day Published March 1, 2007 By 36th Medical Operations Squadron ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Feb. 7 through 14 marked the annual recognition of Marriage Week USA. Marriage Week USA celebrates the importance of marriage to communities. Strong marriages are associated with increased work productivity, decreased substance abuse, positive physical health, and improved quality of life. Dr. (Capt.) Mark Taylor, 36th Medical Operations Squadron Life Skills Support Center licensed psychologist, and Esther Rollen, 36th MDOS Family Advocacy intervention specialist, launched the four-week "8 Habits of Highly Successful Marriages" workshop on Jan. 18. Participants were introduced to a variety of activities, videos, and skills to strengthen their marriages. The program aids couples in building character, communication skills, companionship, and a common vision for their marriages. These skills are as important for a successful marriage as a football team's skills are necessary for victory. Passion and team spirit is not enough to be successful. A large number of couples requested to be part of the workshop, but only 20 positions were available. Due to the popularity of the program, it will likely be offered again in the near future, said Doctor Taylor. "The unique demands of the military create a vital need for couples to maintain and strengthen the marital relationship, and marriage enrichment workshops offer the opportunity to focus on the relationship before couples are in crisis. Overseas tours can make the marital relationship even more vital due to the isolation that can occur, which creates more dependency on one's spouse." Couples have expressed enjoyment with the activities and assignments. Staff Sgt. Anthony Ard, 36th MDOS, said he believed the class has given him and his wife important topics to discuss throughout the week that are foundational in a successful marriage. Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Crumpton said, "This interactive learning experience makes developing good habits in marriages fun and informative." Several base agencies are actively involved in strengthening marriages for the Andersen community. Counseling, support, and educational programs are offered by the chaplains, Airmen and Family Readiness Center, Family Advocacy, and the Life Skills Support Center. To research more information on the web about marraige programs, visit www.smartmarriages.com; www.healthymarriage.org; or www.familyfacts.org.