Chaplain Strengthens Marriage as Army Ends Strong Bonds

US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Kevin Leideritz is the first permanently assigned chaplain to US Special Operations Command-Europe. A recent article describes his hosting of a marriage retreat at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany, at the end of January.

Leideritz…seized the opportunity to work with couples to better understand their individual personality traits, their partner’s love languages and ways to enhance a more healthy relationship during the three-day retreat.

In an interesting twist, the article made a couple of references to “strengthening bonds” without using the actual name “Strong Bonds,” the Army’s long-running program of marriage enrichment retreats. It may be an early indicator of what inside sources have already revealed: Strong Bonds is ending.

It seems the chaplaincy resiliency program is falling victim to two ongoing issues: The first, the obvious lack of military funding. Garmisch, like many of the posh retreat centers, is not a cheap endeavor, despite its support to a program that adds immense value to the Army mission.

The second obstacle to Strong Bonds? Sexuality.

It seems political sensitivities to the integration of homosexuals into chaplain marriage programs is contributing to the end of the programs. The Army can’t balance the problem of finding a chaplain who will host an LGBT-affirming Strong Bonds, the problems of troops who won’t attend an LGBT-affirming Strong Bonds, and the public relations disasters of trying to host the more popular non-LGBT affirming Strong Bonds.

The solution? End Strong Bonds.

Still, permitting open service by homosexuals has had no negative effect on the Army. Right?