1st TSC Public Affairs
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - After four years of marriage and three kids later, Capt. Latondra Paoli, plans and operations officer in charge, G1, and her husband, Joel, are still learning new ways to improve their relationship.

As an opportunity to get away from the stress of the work environment and concentrate on their marriage, the Paolis', along with 24 other couples from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, attended a Strong Bonds Marriage Conference Dec. 9 to 11 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Chaplain (Capt.) Joshua Ziegler, Special Troops Battalion Chaplain, has led over 10 Strong Bond events with this conference being the first he has held for the 1st TSC. For this event, Ziegler teamed with his wife, Jamie, who is also a certified Strong Bonds trainer.

"For us it helps because marriage takes two," said Ziegler who has been married for 19 years. "Regardless of how other marriages are made up it's really neat to see both sides of the coin."

Together they led the couples through a series of discussions and exercises dealing with topics such as building trust, communication and active listening.

Latondra, an Augusta, Georgia native, said they planned to implement some of the things they learned from the training.

"Our biggest takeaway is actually establishing the rules and sticking to them," said Latondra. "Bringing that up for discussion was good."

Along with Latondra, her husband, Joel, was able to gain a better understanding of his spouse through the discussion.

"As a spouse that is not a service-member it's refreshing to hear someone instruct and articulate what your military spouse goes through," said Joel. "It makes me more understanding of why she may come off the way she does."

The retreat, sponsored by the office of the Chief of Chaplains, provided lodging, meals and childcare at no cost to the Soldiers allowing them and their families to enjoy themselves.

The Special Troops Battalion Unit Ministry Team facilitated the training as an opportunity to allow Soldiers and their spouses to form stronger bonds and learn tools to overcome adversity.

"Marriage is just something that very few of us are excellent at," said Ziegler. "We are a part of this so that we can show couples better ways of doing things."

According to the website, Strong Bonds is a chaplain-led program for commanders which builds relationship resiliency. The Strong Bonds mission is to increase Soldier and Family readiness through relationship education and skills training.

Building Army Family resiliency is part of a strategic approach to cope with the high operational demand placed on today's Army.

For more information on Strong Bonds, contact your unit chaplain or go to www.SrongBonds.org.

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