News: 13th ESC couples ‘up-armor’ their marriage
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson
FORT HOOD, Texas - Maintaining readiness of the soldiers within a formation is more than simply ensuring passing scores on an Army Physical Fitness Test or qualifying with an M-16 rifle; it’s also about building the strength of the soldier’s support system.
The leadership of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) understands that the strength of the unit begins with strength in a soldier’s family.
Maj. Ernest Ibagna, the 13th ESC chaplain, invited Doug Snyder, professor of clinical psychology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, to teach a marriage enrichment seminar March 6 at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel focusing on up-armoring the marriage. Snyder said he’s worked with military chaplains for more than eight years addressing different counseling techniques for married soldiers.
More than 20 Phantom Support Soldiers and their spouses participated in the marriage seminar focused on providing tools needed for the couples to strengthen their marriages subsequent to the return of 13th ESC from deployment to Afghanistan in December.
“The work today is all about ‘up-armoring your marriage,’” said Snyder. “It’s not about fixing broken marriages, it’s about taking marriages and strengthening them and making them work better.”
The main topics covered in the seminar were: dealing with stress, learning how to communicate in ways to solve differences in a marriage, coping with differences, keeping the spark alive with physical and emotional intimacy, and dealing with the deployment cycle.
Snyder said that he’s given this class previously and has received positive feedback from the soldiers, stating that “Couples value the opportunity to remind themselves what healthy communication looks like, they value the opportunity to perfect some new communication skills, but a lot of them really value the opportunity to just come together, take a break from the normal daily routines and dedicate an entire day to sit down and figure out, ‘how can we make our marriage better.’”
The soldiers who attended this seminar said that they appreciated the opportunity afforded to them, believe the training will be beneficial and looked forward to practicing their newly learned techniques at home.
“It’s great to see from the leadership that they are concerned about the strength of our family units as well as the mission at hand,” said Spc. Joseph Weikum, a radar technician with the 13th ESC Support Operations. “It makes me feel better prepared to serve wherever I’m called.”
Alicia Weikum agreed with her husband, adding, “It’s important to attend, especially with your spouse. It definitely feels like the leaders value you and the family together as a single unit.”