“Marriage and Relationship Education builds a resiliency in a couple that means they are more able to face the inevitable crises that come their way,” says Navy Chaplain Len Driskell, who serves more than 2,000 active duty and reserve Coast Guardsmen, their families, and the civilians who work alongside them as the Sector Charleston and Sector Jacksonville Chaplain.
Marriage and Relationship Education (ME) is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. “I Am ME” profiles people teaching evidence-based relationship, fatherhood and marriage education classes in their local communities.
“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
~ CS Lewis
As the Sector Charleston and Sector Jacksonville Chaplain, Len Driskell serves more than 2,000 active duty and reserve Coast Guardsmen, their families, and the civilians who work alongside them. Chaplain Driskell is the proud father of “three beautiful daughters and one amazing son,” a second-generation minister, Navy Chaplain for four years, and married for 11 years “to a truly awe-inspiring woman.” Outside of work, Chaplain Driskell’s hobbies include wood-working, football, basketball, ultimate frisbee, playing with his children, and reading.
What led you to want to teach relationship and marriage education?
I see so many of my service members trapped in stressful relationships and a lot of them do not know any way out. Frequently they just end things, but that leads to another set of issues. I wanted to find a way to impact relationships, especially marriages, so that more of my people could find strength and healing, not stress and pain.
What are some of the reasons you’ve found marriage and relationship education is particuarly important for active-duty military, Guard, Reserve and/or Veterans?
Any stressful situation outside of the workplace is going to impact the workplace eventually. The more difficult the situation the bigger the impact. In the active-duty military we rely so heavily on confidence in the chain-of-command, and in unit cohesiveness. Anything that threatens confidence or cohesion has a negative impact on readiness and resiliency, both individually and at a unit level. Not everyone is married, but everyone is in relationships and any tools and training that can make relationships better makes our members better, our units better, and improves our military as a whole.
What inspires your passion for helping relationships?
Seeing how trapped many people are makes me sad and gets my anger up. Not at the individuals but at the fact that relationships are meant to be blessings for us all. Helping a married or engaged couple, or even colleagues, figure out how to communicate and foster mutual respect and love gives me a sense of pride and joy that little else does.
To see a hurtful, toxic situation turn around through the efforts of the couple, aided by some simple tools, is a beautiful thing. It may sound cliche, but it makes the world a better place.
What are some of the challenges you’ve found people are better equipped to overcome in their lives as a result of Marriage and Relationship Education?
First and foremost, Marriage and Relationship Education builds a resiliency in a couple that means they are more able to face the inevitable crises that come their way. Active duty members and families face frequent moves and upheavals in their lives, as well as separations that could last for months. Education prepares them to not only weather those storms, but grow stronger through them, as individuals and families.
How has your work in this field touched your own life?
Teaching and counseling constantly forces me to re-examine myself and my relationships to see if I am practicing what I am preaching. Often I am not, and I make adjustments. My own marriage (of 11 years) is stronger than ever and my relationships with my children continue to grow.
I have also had the honor and blessing of being invited into many couples’ lives, sometimes in their darkest moments. That has always been precious to me and I do not take it lightly.
What three qualities would you like to be most admired for by your family and friends?
Wisdom, compassion, and humility.
|Name:||Len M. Driskell|
|Company Name:||US Navy/USCG|
|Email Address:||Click to Email|
|Address:||1050 Register Street, North Charleston, SC 29405|