Family Advocacy helps strengthen bonds

  • Published
  • By Paula Spooner
  • 81st Medical Operations Squadron

Healthy, satisfying relationships aren’t achieved accidentally; they require time, effort, and thoughtful maintenance. Here at Family Advocacy, we’re in the business of strengthening and supporting the relationships that make up military families.

We understand and appreciate that every family has its own unique set of strengths as well as challenges. With that in mind, family advocacy offers a wide range of services designed to maximize quality of life and continual education for installation members on community safety via annual awareness and prevention month initiatives.  

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year’s theme is, It starts with respect: Live by core values to keep your relationship healthy and strong”.

Each Defense Department military service operates under its own set of unique core values. Above and beyond their immediate definition, core values add pride, esprit de corps and a profound sense of belonging. Don’t misunderstand – the organization, rank structure and technical aspects of the military are undeniably crucial – but the core values tie everything together. They are the conscience, as well as heart and soul of the outfit. Without them the military would be a hollow shell.

The same is true in a relationship between two people. The most heartfelt “I do”, is simply not enough to bind and solidify their foundation for the future. Among other things, couples must also establish their own common, mutually agreed-upon “core values” in order to instill personal meaning and commit for the long haul. Though it varies between couples, it’s pretty safe to say that trust, respect, selflessness, integrity and kindness will be highly rated.

Another aspect of this year’s theme is that not some, but all couples struggle with problems and issues. The successful ones are those who draw on the agreed-upon core values and, when they need the additional support, seek outside guidance. This isn’t easy, because the toughest time to seek help may be when one or both parties feel like throwing in the towel. The key is to commit to working through problems in a healthy manner and to never allow destructive patterns of interaction to escalate into intimate partner violence.   

And let’s not forget about the kids in our lives. Children learn about relationships by watching the adults around them. Set the stage for your child’s future by modeling safe, respectful communication and conflict resolution with your spouse or partner.


Don’t despair if you have already lost your cool in front of the kids at home; it’s never too late to change. Children are amazingly forgiving and appreciative of parental attempts to improve.


So do it for them, but mostly, do it for you.


Keesler Family Advocacy provides a range of assistance that supports the safety, well-being and readiness of all military families. When seeing trouble signs, leaders and subordinates alike should encourage fellow service members and their families to reach out for help with developing healthy relationship skills and addressing common relationship challenges to prevent domestic abuse.

Be part of the solution — educate yourself, your wingman, and the rest of the military community on how to live by the relationship core values and stay safe through healthy relationships.

For more information on Family Advocacy resources, contact Paula Spooner at 228-376-3458.