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Saturday, February 04, 2006

P.I.C.K.ing a partner? Let Uncle Sam help you!

One of my favorite journalers in J-land (AOL's journaling community) is John Scalzi. John will write about anything and always has something amusing or interesting to add to the subject. Today, John mentioned that the U.S military is now doing something to help their soldiers to build strong, long-lasting relationships. It's no secret that military marriages often don't survive for very long or are very rocky. The official name of this program is Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge, but it's also called (and I love this title) How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk(ette). Apparently there are lots of people involved with making this happen, but what I find impressive is that the program gets couples to slow down and think past the that first blast of hormones, emotion, and lovesickness. What I find particularly interesting is that P.I.C.K. not only dispenses good advice to couples, but offers support groups not only locally, but also right on the website.

I wish there had been a program like this for civilians before I got married. I have to think that there are others that wish the same thing. I did have some advice in this area, but it wasn't exactly the clearest or the best. Most churches have some form of premarital counseling , but sometimes I think the ministers are often either too close to the couple to be honest (like the minister that married me and my ex), or they have never seen the couple before and just do the wedding ( I know of a couple whose "premarital counseling" consisted of meeting the man doing thirty minutes before the wedding. He then prayed for fifteen minutes during the service about the ills of divorce. Ten years later, well, the couple divorced...). It took me years to really understand what marriage was all about. A program like P.I.C.K. could have better informed me about picking a mate. That doesn't mean I wouldn't have made a mistake anyway, but I might have actually engaged something other than my heart and hormones before I got engaged and married myself.

It's an encouraging idea and it's good to know that Uncle Sam cares so much!

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