By Capt. Devon Thomas, 35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade Public AffairsAugust 10, 2012
35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade held Strong Bonds Senior Leaders Training at Stone Mountain, Ga., from July 13 to July 15 to enhance the resiliency of married couples and their families.
Strong Bonds is an Army chief of chaplains program that aids commanders to increase resiliency in married couples, single soldiers and families by building communication skills to enhance their relationships.
"The Strong Bonds training shows that the Army does care about its Soldiers and their families," said Lt. Col. Barth G. Edison, the brigade chaplain. "People are excited about quality team building with their family."
The training consisted of material from the book, "The 5 Love Languages," written by Dr. Gary Chapman, a family life and marriage expert. Through the training, senior leaders and their spouses learned each other's emotional love language, which are ways couples speak and understand emotional love. Team-building exercises were used to help each couple build and maintain a healthy relationship.
Command Sgt. Maj. Angel J. Ramos, the 35th TTSB command sergeant major, and his wife Donalyn were among the married couples who attended.
"We have been married for 24 years and we actually learned something from it," said Donalyn. "I think all young couples should try to come to this course. I think it would help."
The 35th TTSB Master Resiliency Trainer, Sgt. 1st Class Rowan H. Stevens admitted he had a negative stigma about marriage retreats throughout his 19 years of service, but the Strong Bonds training left him "speechless".
" I have never seen anything like this," said Stevens, who received training with his wife Damiya. "The Strong Bonds training gives a different take about the military," Stevens said. "It's about family."
Col. Thomas A. Pugh, the 35th TTSB commander, and his wife Cindy attended the event as well.
"I thought the training was very practical and easy to understand," said Cindy.
In addition to building strong bonds between spouses, teenagers also participated in team-building exercises.
The brigade chaplain assistant, Staff Sgt. Arthur S. Abdon, taught the teenager workshop.
"We talked about how their parents will be better communicators using the five love languages," Abdon said. "We used team building to help them communicate better with their parents, teachers and other teens."