Chances are you've never heard of CHIC, but hopefully, with help from the Farmington Daily Times and other media outlets, that will change this year.

CHIC, the Community Health Improvement Council, is on a mission is to promote health and well-being for all people in San Juan County and neighboring areas through broad-based dialogue, partnership, advocacy and unified action.

This year CHIC has embarked on a wellness campaign to inform residents of our area of resources available to help deal with a wide variety of issues we humans face from time to time. Each month a different participating entity will present information on how to live life effectively and well.

The Four Corners Coalition is pleased to be a member of CHIC, and to kickoff this campaign. Our role in the organization is to maintain an emphasis on the importance of having healthy marriages and families.

Research abounds as to the positive benefits to individuals and to the overall community when folks who are married are able to stay together and to provide a wholesome environment for themselves and their children.

Study after study reaffirms that children whose parents are successfully married will likely succeed in school and be more likely to graduate. Children from intact married homes are more likely to avoid drugs and teenage pregnancy. They are more likely to stay out of gangs and away from violence or criminal behavior.

When I say more likely, I am comparing to children from single parent homes or homes where their parents are not married.


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Certainly it is true that many single parents do an outstanding job of parenting, and that many cohabitating couples raise their children very well. I'm just reporting the findings of social science research that states clearly that if their parents are successfully married, children are likely to have a higher quality of life than they might otherwise have.

But, therein lies a pretty big problem. Most everyone is well aware that our nation does not have a great track record when it comes to successful marriage. One look at the high rates of divorce in our society will make you wonder if anyone can make it in marriage.

That is not to say that anyone who gets divorced is a terrible person or that anyone stuck in a violent or abusive marriage must stay there regardless of threats to health and wellness. That is foolhardy and dangerous. In other Daily Times CHIC articles this year you will read of local resources to help you get away from such situations and to protect yourself and your children from harm.

Most marriages, however, do not end because of violence or abuse. They end because the parties don't know how to do marriage. They are not stupid, just ignorant of what it takes to succeed.

So we at the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage and Family are committed to helping engaged couples learn the ins and outs of marriage before their big day. We have trained more than 50 local couples to be marriage mentors to help a couple to get off to a good start. These mentor couples can also be on call when the couple gets into a situation or challenge for which they need help.

We bring marriage enriching events to the area each year to help folks learn some things about their marriage and how to keep it good or make it better. This year we brought Jay and Laura Laffoon for Ultimate Date Night. They were at the Farmington Civic Center on March 15 and delighted a packed audience with helpful tips on marriage along with lots of healthy laughter. We're currently working on next year's event so keep your ears open for more details.

We help to bring marriage and family enriching movies to our area. We were instrumental in bringing "Fireproof" and "Courageous" to Farmington when they premiered in theaters. Our next such effort is for the movie "Home Run," which gives hope to folks and families dealing with alcohol or other destructive addictions.

You'll be able to find out more info on our upcoming events and lots more about us on our web site (www.fccmf.org). Also available at our web site are articles dealing with various aspects of successful marriage along with other resources you might find helpful. One such resource is a marriage enrichment class I personally facilitate a few times a year.

No one ever said life should be easy and the same can certainly be said about marriage. But, like most anything else in life, the more you learn the better your chances of success. So now you know we are here and that we stand ready to help you in your marriage. There is, or at least should be, no shame in acknowledging that your marriage is not operating at its peak. There should also be no hesitation to reach out for help to get it to a better place.

By all means, please reach out to the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage and Family or any of the other participating members of CHIC. Help and hope are just a phone call or e-mail away. Be sure to look for the next CHIC Positive Wellness Campaign article in Sunday's Daily Times. For more information on CHIC or how to get involved, contact the San Juan County Partnership at 566-5877.

Article by Ron Price Executive Director of the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage & Family