FORT HOOD, Texas - Senior leaders from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, gathered with their spouses for a weekend to learn some techniques to keep their relationships strong.

The two-day event, held Feb. 23 to 24, at the Hospitality House in Kempner, Texas, was structured around the "Strong Bonds" curriculum, a marriage improvement program.

Chaplain (Maj.) Charles Causey, the Strong Bonds chaplain for the 88th Regional Readiness Command, in Fort Snelling, Minn., was the main speaker for the conference along with his wife Lauri.

The ultimate goal of the program is to help prevent divorce and better communication between the couples, said Causey.

"All couples are going to have problems, it's how you handle them (that) counts the most," he said.

Another goal of the weekend was to instill the techniques in the senior leaders so they can teach them to their Soldiers and other leaders, said Causey.

Studies have shown that a healthy marriage directly contributes to the quality of work a Soldier gives, he said.

Master Sgt. Rick Nunally, the brigade security noncommissioned officer in charge, attended the conference with his wife of 15 years, Lisa.

"I used this weekend as a tune-up for my own marriage and to make myself a better leader," he said.

Nunally wants to take what he's learned and pass it on to his Soldiers, he said. One of the main communication techniques learned was the speaker/listener technique.

During this technique, the speaker has the floor and is able to say what they want without interruption. The listener then has to take what the speaker said and paraphrase it back to the speaker to ensure that what was said was understood, said Nunally.

Throughout the different sessions, many in the group chimed in - constantly dispersing wisdom they've gained from their own life experiences. Not only do they absorb the Strong Bonds material, but they get the benefit of listening to other couples' knowledge.

"I did really enjoy the small group, because there was more interaction amongst the group," said Nunally.

These Strong Bonds conferences are happening often. Soldiers can ask their leadership and chaplains about them.

"I highly recommend all married couples attend a (Strong Bonds conference)," said Nunally.