Have you attended or heard of the Army sponsored Strong Bonds Marriage training sessions? On Friday the Platoon Sergeant called my husband on lunch and asked if we wanted to attend the retreat the following day, here at lovely Edelweiss. We jumped at the chance for many reasons: the free weekend to Edelweiss definitely played a part. I am a strong believer that investing in my marriage will help to ensure it's success in the long run. I don't think that marriage will be easy for any couple, but particularly for us military couples who deal with stretches of separation. All couples, civilian and military have issues and hurdles to overcome. I don't feel that our lifestyle is more difficult, it's just unique; it's different- no better and no worse, just different.
All the same, I sincerely appreciate the lessons and the investment the Army (and therefore the Department of Defense) makes in my marriage. This is a financial commitment as well as an emotional one. This weekend came without fees. We were offered transportation to and from the post, as well as a food allowance and each night's stay was paid for. The only costs that we incurred were leisure activities and any alcohol.
The training offered was based upon The 5 Love Languages. These "languages" should come as no surprise to my fellow mil-spouses. They are very common tools utilized by the Chaplains and other services offered through the military. I have heard of it but I hadn't taken the time to read the book. To make a long story-short, there are 5 different ways in which we all communicate love. Some of us require Words of Affirmation to know how our spouse feels, while others require Physical Touch or Quality Time. It's important that we know which language we speak and learn to understand it, as well as learning which language our partner speaks, so that we can better express our love for them. It's about communicating in a way our spouse will understand.
This weekend has been surprisingly informative and engaging. We've had a great time. I encourage you to contact your Chaplains and/or Chaplains assistant to find out when the next training session will be offered. You cannot stop investing in your marriage. Even if you are on solid footing (as we felt, and this weekend as affirmed we were) you have to "check in" every-so-often.
I highly recommend these retreats.