By Capt. Andrew WilliamsJune 23, 2012
DENVER - Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Jeff Haight, a native of Minden, Neb., and member of the 80th Training Command, and his wife, Marci, recently attended a Strong Bonds marriage retreat in Denver. Like many of you, the Haights have faced many challenges in their marriage.
Jeff Haight was away from his family for two of the last three years because of mobilizations and deployments.
"It's hard on our daughters emotionally," Marci Haight said. "They don't understand why their dad has to miss birthdays, dance recitals, and soccer games."
Jeff Haight also commented on the difficulty of reintegration, "It can be difficult adjusting to the schedule that Marci and the girls have become used to each time I get back from a lengthy deployment or mobilization."
Your situation may be similar to the Haights or you may have your own set of challenges. You may be struggling with communication (or lack thereof), problem solving, sex, children, finances, or even in-laws. So how do we build resiliency to face these obstacles?
Strong Bonds answers this question through skill-based training.
"We have used the [speaker listener technique] since we've learned about it in class," Marci Haight said. "We realized we can also use it in other areas of our lives as well, with our kids, and coworkers."
I asked Marci Haight if Strong Bonds gives Soldiers tools to strengthen their families and she answered, "For some families it is probably the first time they've been able spend uninterrupted time with each other and the chance to discuss their feelings and goals. I think that just giving couples or families the opportunity to spend time away from jobs, school, and the daily household craziness goes a long way."
Jeff Haight echoed his wife's sentiment, "We would definitely recommend Strong Bonds."
The Strong Bonds program offers marriage and singles training retreats, and family wellness retreats. For more information or to register for an event in your area, e-mail the 88th Regional Support Command's office of the chaplain at RSC088ChaplainStrongBonds@usar.army.mil.
Relationships are tough work. I encourage you to attend a Strong Bonds event to give you the tools to help your relationships succeed.