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Chapel seminar works to improve couples communication skills

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- About 20 Cannon families are better equipped to deal with daily struggles that can affect their marriages and parenting after attending a marriage workshop July 14.
The seminar, Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), is a one day program sponsored by the chapel and directed by Capt. (Chaplain) Don Bridges, a 27th Fighter Wing chaplain. Based on more than 20 years of research in helping couples improve their marriage and resolve conflict, PREP has been featured on television programs such as 20/20, 48 Hours and Oprah.
"You can have the relationship you always dreamed of with your mate," said Chaplain Bridges, giving couples hope for what he describes as a lifelong adventure and journey with their mate.
PREP is for couples who want to learn how to deal with common conflict styles, communication techniques, setting ground rules and exploring what commitment means.
PREP focuses on learning through informal lecture and personal stories from the facilitator, video of real-life couples in conflict and opportunities to practice verbal communication with a nonthreatening topic.
"We're here to break trends, to break statistics," Chaplain Bridges said, citing that approximately 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, and only 50 percent of those who stay together are satisfying and happy.
Chaplain Bridges encourages couples to consider the vision they have for their marriage and take the steps to make that vision become reality. He said this is accomplished by choosing to pay whatever price is required to make a marriage the best it can be, and to never quit learning. "I am always going to keep the attitude that I am going to learn something to make myself a better husband," Chaplain Bridges said.
Couples do not need to be embroiled in problems before attending a PREP seminar, according to the www.prepinc.com Web site, but the seminar is for those who want to make their marriage be the best it can be.
It doesn't matter whether you have a newfound love, you're gritting your teeth as your teen gets his license, or your youngest has left you with an empty nest, PREP offers you the chance to discover how to enjoy your marriage no matter where you are today or what tomorrow may bring, according to the Web site.
"Couples that participate in PREP statistically grow in their happiness factor," said Chaplain Bridges. "They actually enjoy each other and their marriage relationship."