RESST gives soldiers tools for lasting relationships
October 11, 2012
CAMP AS SALIYAH, Qatar - Is deployment the right time to think about marriage? Over 20 soldiers with the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and its down trace units attended relationship enhancement single soldier training at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar from Sept. 27 through Sept. 30.
"The RESST program's goal is to help teach single soldiers time proven skills on how to select the right partner," said Chaplain (Capt.) Demetrius Walton, a resident of Scranton, Pa., and the family life chaplain of the 316th. "We are trying to increase awareness and get them to think outside of the box," explained Walton. "We use research based techniques by the leading psychologists in the field and show soldiers that there's another way to choose a spouse based on knowledge, trust, commitment, reliance, communication, expectations and family."
RESST teaches soldiers to take things slowly, following the relationship attachment model. The RAM protects you from blinding love and provides you with a map for pacing the relationship. RAM shows that you should begin by getting to know someone, then trusting them, followed by relying on the, committing to them and finally moving to the physical aspect of the relationship. Staying in the safe zone is key, meaning that your progress in one aspect should not exceed the previous one. "Your goal should be to balance all of these," said Walton.
"My expectations were high because being an older soldier I wanted to find out what my shortcomings were in the dating scene," said Sgt. David Schemerhorn, a resident of Catskill, N.Y., and member of the 316th judge advocate section. "Overall my expectations were met, the tools I learned will become very instrumental to my mind, body and soul when seeking out the proper soul mate."
Learning RAM shows you how "infatuation lowers your defenses," explained Walton. "You can't see someone's faults, you can only see the positives. It is unwise to make important decisions during this phase of the relationship."
"I learned the pros and cons of starting a relationship with the long term goal of getting married again," said Schemerhorn. "You gotta weigh out everything before making a commitment."
The program teaches soldiers that family shapes you, the way you handle emotions and the way you learned about power.
"Everyone brings baggage to a relationship," said Walton.
Talking about these things and making sure they are out in the open prior to marriage is easier and can cause fewer problems in the future.
It also showed that when you marry someone, you marry his or her family also. Using the example that you can't marry Jethro without getting the Clampetts explained that you should know your partner's family well because they will become your family after marriage, their problems will be partially yours.
"I learned to look at the opposite sex as family," said Pfc. Karina Fierro, a resident of Los Angeles and a member of the 420th movement control battalion. "You have to think of them as becoming part of your family in the long term."
Spc. David Wolf, a resident of Pittsburgh and member of the 316th, agreed, "Families have a lot more influence over relationships than I previously thought, because they shape who we are."
One of the final sessions of the program gave soldiers some ingredients for a lasting relationship and that it's important to avoid bad relationship patterns. In a successful relationship partners should have a blend of similarities and differences in personalities, backgrounds and lifestyles.
Walton said, "If we can help mold healthy families, healthy communities and healthy soldiers all the way around that means we are going to have a stronger Army."