News: Strong Bonds strengthens Iron Brigade marriages
CAMP CASEY, Republic of Korea – Between long days spent at work, and nights spent tending to children, some military couples have little time for one another. In order to alleviate some of the demands placed upon married soldiers, the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, has sponsored Strong Bonds retreats.
“A Strong Bonds retreat is a unit-based, chaplain-led program which assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army family,” said Staff Sgt. Jocelyn Thomas, 1st HBCT chaplain assistant. “The core mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual soldier and family member readiness through relationship education and skills training. Strong Bonds is conducted in an off-site retreat format in order to maximize the training effect. The retreat or ‘get away’ provides a fun, safe, and secure environment in which to address the impact of relocations, deployments, and military lifestyle stressors.”
More than a dozen Iron Brigade couples took part in the latest Strong Bonds retreat held at the Dragon Hill Lodge in U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Sept. 9-11. During the three-day retreat, the soldiers sat through multiple classes, which taught them how to better communicate their feelings as well as understand and interpret their spouse’s feelings and needs. The Iron couples shared information with one another in order to better understand their spouse. The courses were designed to bring the couples closer together and help them build extended support networks for one another.
“I wanted couples to recommit themselves to growing closer to each other and to make it a habit to love their spouse each day,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Kenneth Haftorson, 1st HBCT chaplain, who was in charge of the brigade’s Strong Bonds retreat. “I wanted couples to meet other couples who are committed to their marriages so that they can encourage each other and create friendship amongst them.”
Strong Bonds is just one program that the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team sponsors in order to ease the burden placed upon its married Soldiers. Strong Bonds retreats are now being conducted regularly in order to reach as many married couples as possible.
It is a valuable tool for married soldiers to employ to strengthen their marriages, said Haftorson.
“Offering this training event is just one way soldiers see that the Army cares; they see that the Army is willing to spend money on their marriages and they realize that they are not only important to their spouse, but to the Army as well,” said Haftorson.
For more information on Strong Bonds retreats or retreats for single soldiers, contact your unit chaplain.