News: Couples improve communication
Story by Sgt. Jonathan Thibault
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In the military, 76 percent of all first marriages end in divorce and two out of five married couples are involved in domestic assault, according to Capt. Paul Roman, chaplain.
“These are ridiculous statistics. I believe that [marriage] retreats can help people learn how to communicate well and know how to juggle their military and home life, which will make them better soldiers with stronger families,” said Roman, brigade chaplain, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
“My goal in the military is to help create people [who] are responsible enough to take care of their families, to teach them to communicate and love each other,” said Roman.
During a 60-day campaign, Roman has provided relationship guidance to 220 couples, 150 single soldiers and 64 families through the course of 20 retreats. The 220 couples were counseled during marriage retreats at Glen Eyrie Big Horn Lodge in Colorado Springs, April 25.
Roman believes there are many roles that soldiers have to take on and wants to create healthy families and soldiers in the military.
“I want to stop this cycle of divorce and negative things happening in marriages that are pervasive in the Army,” Roman said.
Besides the retreat classes, couples got to engage in teambuilding activities conducted on Glen Eyrie’s Transformation Course.
Dr. Greg Cope, transformation course director, uses the course to teach couples to communicate through experiences performed on each obstacle of the course.
“I think people learn more through active learning,” said Cope. “They learn faster because they relate to that experience. My job is to pull these couples out of business mode and put them into play mode, which helps with the learning process. I give them guided questions at the end, and the experience is enough to help them apply these activities to real-life events.”
Staff Sgts. Mindy and Theo Nalezynski, both from Company D, 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th CAB, 4th Inf. Div., both said they benefited from attending the retreat.
“The retreat has taught me to be a better listener and not to jump to conclusions without talking about it with my husband,” said Mindy Nalezynski. “I have a better perspective on communication now.”
“Definitely, this retreat has given me a better understanding of the opposite sex, and it helps us get away from the office for awhile,” said Theo Nalezynski. “These activities help us understand how important it is to communicate.”
Roman plans to continue ramping up his programs despite the challenges of a shrinking budget, noting money issues will not hinder the programs because he can hold them anywhere. His goal is to show soldiers that the Army and the 4th CAB leadership care about them and their families.