July 12, 2013
HONOLULU - Recently soldiers and spouses of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, attended a Strong Bonds Marriage Retreat in Honolulu to explore elements that make a good marriage.
The retreat brought couples to a relaxed environment to focus on creating strong connection with each other.
"This retreat was a great opportunity for us to explore more depths of our marriage," said Sgt. Jacqueline Garza, a communications and network noncommissioned officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB, originally from Tampa, Fla. "When you are home, you think about everyday life; here, you focus on your relationship with your spouse."
The first topic covered was the five love languages where the couples discovered the different types of giving and receiving affection.
After the five love languages, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Eric Jackson, Family Life chaplain, 25th CAB, discussed hidden issues and solving problems in marriages. Jackson presented the couples with various communication skills needed to address hidden issues in marriages.
"One of the biggest obstacles in a marriage is communication," said Chaplain (Capt.) Mike Derienzo, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment Chaplain, 25th CAB, originally from Hudson, Ohio. "We give them the skills to work through a myriad of problems. Once Army spouses can understand each other, the better they can come to a resolution."
One communication technique covered was the speaker-listener technique. This allows one person to express their feelings to their partner and have their partner repeat what was said. To better convey this technique, the couples performed a roleplaying session on how the technique is used.
"Seeing what other couples are going through and listening to how they cope with situations gives us a better insight on how things can be handled differently," said Garza. "The roleplaying sessions of five love languages and speaker-listener technique shed light on how individuals interpret love. The main thing is to remember we are different people and we need to learn how to work together as different people to achieve the same goal."
Childcare was provided for the couples to allow the parents to focus on the strong bond classes and give the parents a few hours together in the evening without the children if desired.