News: Strong Bonds: 3rd CAB couples use humor to strengthen marriage
Story by Sgt. William Begley
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Love was in the “Marne Air” as the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade hosted a Strong Bonds program event Feb. 14-16 at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Strong Bonds is a chaplain-led program for commanders, which builds relationship resiliency. Strong Bonds increases soldier and family readiness through relationship education and skills training.
Maj. Gregory Jackson, chaplain, just recently arrived at his new assignment here as the chaplain for the 3rd CAB, and this was his first Strong Bonds event with the unit.
“It’s a great way for couples to do a little maintenance on their marriage,” said Jackson.
The retreat featured a video seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage,” which was hosted by Pastor Mark Gungor. Gungor is senior pastor of Celebration Church—a multi-site church with five campuses across Wisconsin—and the chief executive officer of Laugh Your Way America.
The first session was called “A Tale of Two Brains” and outlined the different ways that men and women think about life. Gungor used humorous metaphors to describe the male brain describing it as a series of boxes where nothing intersects and everything has its own compartment. Gungor described the “nothing box” as a place where men go after a hard day's work. That is where men go to think about, and often, do nothing.
Men are really great at doing one thing really well, said Gungor. We have this really outstanding ability to handle one thing at a time with great focus.
Conversely, women are the ultimate multi-taskers. Gungor humorously illustrated how a woman can be cooking something, folding a load of laundry, caring for a child, and all the while holding up their end of the conversation on the telephone, not forgetting one single detail while doing it.
That’s where the conflict emerges.
If a woman can do five things at once, and a man can usually handle one thing really well, it can drive a spouse crazy when she witnesses the man entering his nothing box where production comes to a grinding halt. Some women even take it personally, as though the man is purposely doing this to spite his wife. Gungor says that’s just the way men are made.
For Laquisha Prince, spouse of Staff Sgt. Kenwaun Prince, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd CAB, this was an eye-opening revelation.
“Learning about the nothing box is my little nugget that I’m taking home with me,” said Prince. “Understanding that sometimes he is just in his place and that he’s not trying to ignore me or doesn’t care what I’m feeling at the time, but that he just needs some down time for himself.”
During discussions, the couples started offering up personal experiences. Sometimes in a group newer couples may not want to open up, but in sharing together the couples started seeing that their relationships had more similarities than differences.
For Megan Boatwright, this was not her first retreat. She had been to one at Fort Riley, Kan., with her husband, Sgt. Austin Boatwright of HHC, 3rd CAB.
“I think seeing other couples’ relationships help me to see that theirs can mirror yours,” said Megan Boatwright. “Sometimes we take the solutions that we see working for them and use it on our relationship.”
After the seminar concluded for the day, the couples were given some free time in the afternoon for “date-time.” Some couples used their time to go shopping; some took a much-needed nap, while others walked romantically along the beautiful beach on the island.
Jackson, along with his wife, Heather, took advantage of the sunny afternoon for a stroll on the beach to spend a little quiet time alone together. They also took some time to reflect on the retreat. The two have been married for almost 20 years and have been conducting marriage retreats for Army couples for 10 years.
“Each retreat we try to do things a little differently,” said the chaplain. “We try to improve each time and I think this time went really well. It’s good to periodically update your marriage and do a little work on it. Great marriages don’t just happen, it takes a lot of commitment.”