By Spc. Michael S. Newell, 101st Combat Aviation BrigadeFebruary 23, 2010
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Today's military couples are challenged in every way, from the daily stress of providing for their families, raising children, and maintaining healthy relations, to dealing with the stress of deployment.
The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade offered a relief to those married couples with the Strong Bonds Marriage and Family Retreat in Nashville over Valentine's Day weekend.
Brigade Chaplain, Maj. Shawn McCammon invited couples of the brigade to participate in this event, providing them with food, childcare, a room at the Sheraton Music City Hotel and a chance to relax and rebuild life's most important bonds.
Couples of the 101st CAB received nine hours of interactive guidance that introduced new skills for enhanced communication, emotional expression and healthy conflict resolution.
The curriculum for the retreat was based on Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills. PAIRS is a program developed by Dr. Lori Heyman Gordan, focused on providing a way to develop the abilities to sustain intimate relationships.
The vision of a "safer, saner, more loving world" was the dream of the co-founder of the PAIRS Foundation the late Rabbi Morris Gordon and continues to be the anthem of the current PAIRS curriculum.
Seth Eisenburg, the Executive Director of PAIRS, was there to guide each couple through emotional exercises that were designed to strengthen relationships and enhance married life.
"It takes faith, courage and commitment to fulfill any marriage, but military marriages can be especially challenging on couples," Eisenburg said.
One couple, Staff Sgt. Max Adona and his wife Kara, were first-time participants at the retreat. He said that the PAIRS "Daily Temperature Reading", one of the many exercises used in the program, is a good communication tool.
Staff Sgt. Adona said the PAIRS coaches have a really good sense of the program information and were especially good at explaining how to use skills they teach you in everyday life.
McCammon said he was pleased with the turnout of more than 200 couples and their children. "It's the largest retreat we have organized and the largest event PAIRS have ever participated in," he said.
Even though the PAIRS curriculum kept the couples engaged throughout the entire weekend, it wasn't all work. Family time was encouraged throughout the retreat.
The PAIRS program provided doesn't end with the Strong Bonds Marriage and Family Retreat. The PAIRS Mastery Program, a continued education program comprised of 120 hours of course instruction, provides online education and support allowing couples to continue growing in their already loving relationships.
If interested in the PAIRS Foundation programs or attending the next 101st CAB Strong Bonds and Family Retreat contact the chaplain at (270) 956-3505, or go online to www.pairs.com/essentials.