Volunteers from several North Carolina churches have joined forces to help couples facing difficult times in their marriages, The Mount Olive Tribune reports.

According to the publication, there were more than 35,000 divorces in the state in 2009 and nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, but community members want to help married couples battle that statistic. In particular, they want to help the region’s large number of military families.

Whitley Church in Princeton started an outreach program for the spouses of servicemen and women, but the program has grown to include couples from every aspect of the community.

“When folks get married, the problem is that they have no clue on how to be married,” Scott Jennings, marriage and family life pastor at the church, told the news source. “People get married but don’t learn how to be married.”

Jennings brings his own experience with divorce to the program. He struggled with alcoholism and adultery, and he and his wife got divorced. However, he got his life on the right track and the couple was remarried two years later.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the divorce rate nationwide is 3.4 per 1,000 total population.

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