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Post Families get marriage advice through retreats at luxury resorts

Focus on Family
Email   Print   Share By Spc. Adam Carl Blazak, 11th PAD
August 20, 2009 | Living
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Horseshoe Bay Resort is located on the shore of Lyndon B. Johnson Lake, making it a perfect getaway for married couples. Spc. Karla P. Elliott, 11th PAD
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Four Phantom Command Soldiers take part in an entertaining improv during a Strong Bonds marriage retreat. Spc. Karla P. Elliott, 11th PAD
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Twenty-five III Corps Phantom Command Soldiers and their spouses attended a Strong Bonds program sponsored retreat held August 5-7 at the Horseshoe Bay Resort, near Austin. They learned how to better understand their spouses. Spc. Karla P. Elliott, 11th PAD
Before the stresses of a pending deployment weigh down on Phantom Warriors’ marriages, the III Corps chaplain and Family readiness supporting advisors are holding marriage retreats for Soldiers and their Families. Geared for solidifying relationships, Strong Bonds Retreats offer advice on keeping a relationship strong and functional.

The marriage workshops are threefold with Soldiers and their Families coming together for retreats before, during and after deployments.

“Army Families are in trouble,” Capt. Larry M. Van Hook, III Special Troops Battalion Corps Chaplain, said. “An extended deployment has an effect on all Families.”

While his words may seem candid in nature, Van Hook understands the importance of having the couples speak their language of love.

In fact, each marriage retreat is modeled after the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.

Discovering your own love language and that of your partner is one key object of the retreat, Van Hook said.

“The Soldiers and Family members need to be who they really are so they can deal with their real issues,” he said.

The three-day retreatsz are held at high-end resort hotels within a short driving distance from post.

Each retreat is comprised of sessions geared around Chapman’s book coupled with free time and a “date night,” (child care provided) giving couples time to themselves.

Workshops are conducted in the morning and early afternoon each day, giving the couples time to enjoy each other, Van Hook said.

Finding Soldiers within Phantom Command to fill the available slots for each retreat has been one of the easiest parts of organizing events, said III Corps Family Readiness Support Advisor Cleo Elaine McDonald.

Spc. Ryan Elliottt, a public affairs specialist with the 14th Public Affairs Detachment who just returned from a tour in Iraq this past spring attended a previous retreat.

“I was given the tools needed to help strengthen my marriage,” he said, adding that “effective communication” is key to a healthy relationship.

Phantom Command Soldiers wishing to attend a future Strong Bonds Marriage Retreat may contact McDonald at 553-3300.
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