• Staff Sgt. Bryant Williams (center), a medic for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, tries to control two balloons while his wife Tracy (left) controls one as Rhonda Shabazz, wife of brigade chaplain Maj. Khallid Shabazz, offers advice May 18 during an exercise at a Strong Bonds marriage retreat at the Drury Plaza Hotel Boardwalk, San Antonio. The purpose of the exercise was to show couples how difficult it is doing something challenging on your own, when the help of your spouse makes it easier, said Sgt. Jessica Covello, chaplain's assistant, 1st ACB.

    Air Cav couples reconnect at retreat

    Staff Sgt. Bryant Williams (center), a medic for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, tries to control two balloons while his wife Tracy (left) controls one as Rhonda Shabazz, wife of brigade chaplain...

  • Maj. Khallid Shabazz (right center), brigade chaplain, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, reads to 1st ACB spouses May 18 during a Strong Bonds marriage retreat at the Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk, San Antonio. The retreat was for 20 1st ACB couples as they sought to strengthen their marriages through an Army approved curriculum designed to help spouses overcome obstacles.

    Air Cav couples reconnect at retreat

    Maj. Khallid Shabazz (right center), brigade chaplain, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, reads to 1st ACB spouses May 18 during a Strong Bonds marriage retreat at the Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk, San Antonio. The retreat was for 20 1st ACB...

  • Spouses from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, enjoy a hearty laugh May 18 during Strong Bonds training at the Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk, San Antonio. Strong Bonds is an Army approved curriculum designed to help couples improve their marriages through relationship education and skills training.

    Air Cav couples reconnect at retreat

    Spouses from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, enjoy a hearty laugh May 18 during Strong Bonds training at the Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk, San Antonio. Strong Bonds is an Army approved curriculum designed to help couples improve their...

SAN ANTONIO - For all married couples, Army life brings its own set of strains, with factors like deployments and frequent permanent change of duty stations causing them to lose their connection which can lead to troubled marriages.

To help couples understand and maintain their marital connection, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division ministry team held a Strong Bonds retreat for 20 couples in the brigade from May 17 to 19 at the Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk, here.

"The intent of Strong Bonds is to make the marriage stronger using Army approved curriculum and the chaplain as a facilitator," said Sgt. Jessica Covello, a chaplains assistant from San Antonio, 1st ACB. "With this retreat we had soldiers ranking from captain to private and we merged them all together into one group."

Once in their group the couples went through different scenarios together, Covello said.

"We used everyday situations such as arguments about money and had the couples resolve them together," she continued. "They found working as a team was more beneficial than trying to solve it alone."

Covello said she has attended the retreats on a consistent basis over the last five years, with the most common problem being poor communication between married couples and their inability to express themselves in a manner which each other understands.

"This class did really well at solving their problems and finding middle ground," she said. "We also separated the spouses and they talked to the chaplain individually about their specific issues in their marriages from their viewpoints."

"The more involved you can get with putting them face to face and working them out together is the best method," she added.

An Air Cav spouse who attended the retreat was Sgt. 1st. Class Mariel Morgan, from Fort Hood, Texas, brigade retention noncommissioned officer in charge, 1st ACB, who said the training helped herself and her husband understand why there are specific dynamics between them both.

"We discovered the differences between his love language and mine, which is something we had no idea about before the training," Morgan said. "His language is physical touch while mine is acts of service; he likes to be touched while I like to see him do things for me all the time."

Morgan said the event was excellently run by the ministry team and with the wealth of relationship mentoring given at no cost to the participants; she would attend again and encourage other couples to sign up too.

"I recommend it to any couple, even if their marriage is good, because there's always ways to improve it," Morgan said. "I've been married twice and I don't know all the answers but the chaplain and his wife gave us insights that we wouldn't have gotten elsewhere."

Page last updated Mon June 3rd, 2013 at 15:15