Strong Bonds: "A marriage seminar for those who hate marriage seminars"

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Phyllis E. Keith
  • 130th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 130th Airlift Wing chaplain's office held a free marriage conference, open to all unit members, Feb. 11-13, at the Appalachian Inn in Winterplace, W.Va.

Strong Bonds is a chaplain-led program which assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening family ties.

Chap. (Maj.) John P. McDonough, with 130th AW chaplain's office, used "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" curriculum by author Mark Gungor.

Tech. Sgt. James E. Westfall, an information specialist with the 130th AW, said it helped him understand how his wife thinks.

"Some couples aren't always on the same page," said Elizabeth J. Coffey, Director of Psychological Health for the 130th AW.

"One thinks that one is making an effort, but the other person isn't seeing that effort because it's not what they think love is," said Coffey.

Coffey gave the "Five Love Languages," training--how to express love to your spouse in a way that your spouse can understand.

The training was based on a book of the same name, by Dr. Gary Chapman.
Coffey said she saw some good communication going on between spouses.

The weekend included free time so couples could enjoy snow skiing and ice fishing.

Staff Sgt. William J. Hinamon, a photographer with the 130th AW public affairs office, said that he and his wife enjoyed skiing together without having to worry about their children, who spent the weekend with grandparents.

Senior Master Sgt. Steven A. Martin, a human resources advisor with the 130th AW, said Gungor covered what sex means to a marriage by combining seriousness with a sense-of-humor.

Members and their spouses took Gungor's on-line personality test, which helps one see how they succeed in life, what motivates them the most, and how they differ from the people close to them.

Chap. (1st Lt.) Bryan W. Knight, a chaplain with the 130th Airlift Wing, said he and his wife found the Flag Page Test was a great tool to help them acknowledge their differences.

Staff Sgt. Hinamon said, Strong Bonds taught him that even after 14 years of marriage, he and his wife were still learning about each other's personal motivations.

The 130th AW plans to hold three Strong Bonds in 2012, once funding is approved by the National Guard Bureau, said Tech. Sgt. Shane M. McComas, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of chaplain's assistants at the 130th AW.

"We've had some great support from our upper leadership to perform this," he said.

Tech. Sgt. Westfall said it was the second Strong Bonds he had attended, and that he would definitely attend again. "It's been a lot of fun," he said.