WAIKIKI, Hawaii -- Soldiers of the U.S. Army, Pacific Contingency Command Post and Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion attended a Strong Bonds "Love Retreat" recently, hosted by Army Chaplain Maj. William Killough and co-instructed by his wife, Holly at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii, Dec. 19-21.

Strong Bonds is an Army program with the goal of increasing individual Soldier and Family member readiness through relationship education and skills training. The Strong Bonds program began in Hawaii in 1999 and has since spread throughout the entire Army as part of its initiative to strengthen Soldiers and their Families. This retreat focused on the role of effective and intimate communication in sustaining strong and resilient marriages.

During the retreat 52 Soldiers and their spouses engaged in several exercises that emphasized the importance of effective communication. During the "Mine Field" exercise Soldiers and their spouses were blindfolded and had to guide each other through a maze of chairs from one end of the room to the other.

Couples at the retreat also participated in a "Newlywed Game", a humorous version of the classic quiz show to see how well married couples know each other. Couples who got questions wrong had to slow dance together or face each other nose-to-nose for 30 seconds without laughing.

Capt. Morgan Spring-Glace, a Staff Officer with the USARPAC CCP and his wife An, were among the participants at the retreat that found themselves face to face, trying to hold back smiles during the game.

"It changed my marriage," said Spring-Glace, who strongly recommended the retreat to other couples. "It changed how we look at communication, how we communicate with each other and the importance of each other's point of view," he said.

Killough emphasized retreats like this were important for Soldiers and their spouses.
"Learning to focus on your partner is key to a successful marriage," said Killough. "So often our attention is drawn away to things we think are important that we are distracted from the people and things that are most important," he added.

The next "Love Retreat" will be held from the Feb. 28-March 2, for personnel assigned to HHBn, USARPAC. HHBn is also planning a future Strong Bonds retreat for single Soldiers as well. Soldiers and family members who are interested should contact their company command team or unit chaplain for more information.