July 28, 2010 Edition

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Romine creates program to help
soldiers with their relationships

Chaplain (Major) Terry Romine lectures about the differences between love and respect in marriages. Chaplain Romine's lecture was part of a married woman's retreat at Freedom Rest North on Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq.
Submitted Photo ~ Sgt. Chad D. Nelson
By Sgt. Shantelle J. Campbell
Public Affairs, 1st Infantry Division

After recognizing an alarming increase in divorce rates among military personnel in 2004, the Army set out to reverse the trend by spending $2 million on a variety of marriage programs.

In order to provide assistance, Chaplain (Major) Terry Romine of Hoxie created the "Flatten the Wave" program, which is a unit program to help soldiers focus on their spouses by using tools to help the couple stay together during stressful times.

Flatten the Wave is a unit program designed to provide soldiers, who are facing a potential divorce or break-up, with information to assist in "flattening the relational wave when they hit the beach for redeployment and reintegration."

According to Chaplain Romine, there is an unfortunate pattern of relationship issues after redeployment that results in marital break-ups, divorce, domestic violence and even suicide.

"Though we don't think we can prevent all of that, maybe we can mitigate some of the consequences and help people overcome those difficulties," said Chaplain Romine.

The program has already received high reviews from chaplains throughout the division.

"Flatten the Wave program is a good program, especially for young soldiers," said Sergeant First Class Andra Jones. "It opened their eyes to a lot of stuff that they didn't know about as far as consequences of their actions."

The program helps soldiers become aware of the financial consequences of a divorce or break-up, as well as providing tools to strengthen soldiers' communication and listening skills when in disagreement with their spouse or significant other.

"I believe the program taught soldiers how to learn to work through their problems instead of running away at the first sign of trouble," added Sgt. 1st Class Jones. "I believe it opened their eyes to a lot of things that they were unaware of and helped them understand that problems are always going to be there."

According to Chaplain Romine, the program was designed so it could be conformed to the needs of the unit, if the unit commander decided to implement it into their reintegration training.

Chaplain Romine is a family life chaplain for the 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga. He is married to the former Cleta Tate of Walnut Ridge.

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