MESCALERO, N.M. - A pair of listening ears,
A pinch of talking,
A bowl full of knowledge,
A foundation of trust,
A fair amount of reliance,
And a cup full of commitment.
The ingredients of communication, love and understanding serve as the building blocks for the Soldiers and spouses during the Strong Bonds retreat at Mescalero, New Mexico, Dec. 16-18.
The 1st Armored Division Artillery chaplain team taught the importance and skills needed for a strong, healthy and long-lasting relationship.
"This training aims to impact Soldiers on how to be a better part of the society," said Capt. Gregory D. Trujillo, 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 1st Armored Division Artillery chaplain. "It also teaches them to learn skills on how to pick and choose a partner in life."
Even though it's considered an Army training event, Soldiers received the added benefit of relaxation and a change of scenery.
Nestled in the Sacramento Mountains, the Soldiers stayed at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, where they get to enjoy activities from zip-lining to skiing. The location brought a relaxing aura for the Soldiers while the couples saw the event as an opportunity to rekindle the fire within their marriage.
"We're here to learn how to be able to communicate better with each other and hopefully rekindle some things that seems to be forgotten," said Andrea Moore, an Army wife for 14 years and a mother of three children. "Here, we can focus on our relationship while the kids play."
Sgt. Philip Kim, 86th ESB chaplain assistant, said the Soldiers really enjoyed the location and training. With the hotel overlooking the lake, the program gave Soldiers a quiet and comfortable place to learn the importance of communication.
In addition to the benefits of the retreat, it also became an unforgettable experience for some participants.
"This is a way for us to spend time together because we work different shifts," said Brandy McKinzie, an Army wife for 10 years. "It's a good place for us to sit and reflect on what we're doing right or wrong in our relationship."
The retreat improved methods in which Soldiers can approach a relationship. As the event concluded, Trujillo put on his chaplain hat and left a message for every participant to bring back home.
"Communication is the key," said Trujillo. "Listening is a big part of communication as well, it's not always talking to get your point across but also listening to what the other person is saying."