Strong Bonds fortifies marital bonds in 25th CAB

| December 16, 2010 | 0 Comments
Spc. Ryan Collier (right), 3rd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, and his wife, Laura, spend a private moment together during a break at the 25th CAB’s Strong Bonds retreat, held at the Hale Koa Hotel, in Honolulu, Nov. 17-19.

Spc. Ryan Collier (right), 3rd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, and his wife, Laura, spend a private moment together during a break at the 25th CAB’s Strong Bonds retreat, held at the Hale Koa Hotel, in Honolulu, Nov. 17-19.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Karl Williams
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

 

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Communication is vital in a combat zone, and it is even more important in building a strong and lasting relationship in a marriage.

More than 30 couples from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, attended an Army Strong Bonds Retreat at the Hale Koa Hotel, in Honolulu, Nov. 17-19.

Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program that assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army family. The retreat, or “get away,” provided a fun, safe and secure environment for couples to address the impact of relocations, deployments and military lifestyle stressors.

Spc. Stuart Elliot, an integrated test equipment operator and maintainer, Company B, 209th Avn. Support Battalion, 25th CAB, said that his initial expectation of the Strong Bonds Retreat was somewhat different.

“Knowing the Army, I thought we would be doing some trust exercises,” he said, “standing in the ocean, holding our spouse’s heads under water and trusting that (our) partners would let us up for air … something crazy like that. I didn’t expect to be in a classroom type environment talking about conflict resolution.”

His wife, Amanda, agreed.

“We’ve (been able) to broaden our skill set as to how we communicate with each other,” she said. “People are asking questions and bringing up different marital scenarios. You get to view things from different perspectives, giving you a better understanding on how to communicate with each other.”

With increasing demands placed on Soldiers and families, including frequent deployments and duty relocations, intimate relationships are often fully tested. These classes are important as healthy relationships contribute to the maintenance of a healthy Army and a secure future force.

“The Army understands that healthy families, healthy marriages, healthy Soldiers from a spiritually fit perspective are just that — they are spiritually fit,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Tony Cech, 209th ASB, 25th CAB. “They are better. They are more productive as Soldiers in the military.”

During one of the assemblies, Cech, along with Chaplain (Capt.) Oyedeji Idowu, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th CAB, talked to the couples about two significant characteristics of a successful relationship: trust and forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is not forgetting the past,” Idowu said. “It’s about being able to move past that point in time to forgive (a partner), while also working on rebuilding trust in the relationship. When spouses practice forgiveness, they rebuild trust that leads to reconciliation. It’s an important foundation for a good relationship.

“It doesn’t have to be a marriage that’s at risk; it could also be a marriage where the couple simply wants their marriage to get better — to improve what they already have,” Idowu added, about which couples could and should attend the retreat.

Married more than six years ago, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Hansen, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, said he and his wife got a lot more out of the retreat than they originally expected.

“It was such an uplifting experience, (and it was) the first time we attended a marriage retreat,” Hansen said. “We went into it kind of like it was a free vacation (and) free child care for a little bit, but we ended up getting a lot more out of it.”

Daniel’s wife, Shelly, agreed, and said Strong Bonds is revitalizing.

“Even if you think things are great, it’s always great to have a reminder of why you are married,” she said.

 

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