JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Two star-crossed lovers have known each other for a while so they take the next step, marriage. Believing though that marriage will always exist in a state of perfect harmony isn’t quite reality.
The same held true for Kortnie and Senior Airman Scott Bean. After a 12-year friendship the Beans decided to get married last November. Kortnie uprooted her life in Texas and moved to JBLM with Scott. Soon after their honeymoon period, troubles in their marriage began to surface.
The Beans and seven other couples attended the “Marriage 101” class held by Maj. Robert Kinnune, chaplain, with the Family Life Center at the Four Chaplains Memorial Chapel here, May 3. The couples sat around tables that allowed for a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Kinnune said, the class is designed to facilitate communication between couples, help couples work as a team to solve problems and “divorce proof a marriage.”
Some have been married for years while others are engaged and planning to take the next step. They all have one thing in common; they want to build a strong foundation for their marriage.
“You can’t build anything if you don’t have the proper tools,” Kortnie said. “You can have all the great ideas in the world but without hammers and nails you’re not going to put up a building.”
Kinnune taught the class that emphasized communication and commitment in the couples’ relationships. During the class many myths of marriage were discussed and dispelled. Issues included; the bad things in life will disappear, the good will only get better, someone can make another person complete and marriage should look like the fairy tales of the movies.
This especially touched Sgt. Joshua Ford and Leah Rowe, who are engaged to be married later this year. Ford was married previously and doesn’t want to make the same mistakes again, he said.
“I went into a marriage before when I was a young soldier and didn’t do it right,” Ford said. “I want to be in this one forever … I want to make the corrections to my life that made me the man I don’t want to be.”
For Kinnune the class is all about “divorce proofing” a marriage, he wants couples to talk honestly and openly with each other about common marital issues that inevitably arise. He also discussed some of the challenges military members face that other marriages don’t.
“We are trying to retool couples to battle against divorce,” Kinnune said. “One thing we know from deployments is that so many marriages have been attacked by this.”
While being a part of the military may add some additional stresses to a marriage, there are ways to relieve the pressure.
“Being in the military challenges your marriage but (we have) an advantage because there are so many resources available,” Scott said. “Don’t be afraid to use them.”
Scott mentioned that he didn’t really want to attend the class at first and thought he could handle all the issues on his own. At the urging of his wife they have been going to marriage counseling and attended the Marriage 101 class to continue to strengthen the bond between them.
“Many would think [the class] was going to be like going to the dentist,” Kinnune said. “After the class is over people continue to ask for more time.”
Kortnie said, all marriages have issues and none of them come with an instruction manual so she encourages all service members to use the tools and resources available to them.
Kinnune added that the class is open to all couples whether they are engaged or have been married for a long time. He said that the class offers hope to anyone seeking to work on their marriage and make it stronger.
For more information on the Marriage 101 class call the Family Life Center at 253-967-1723.