SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
Strong Bonds is a chaplain-based military program designed to assist commanders in supporting unit-led retreats for Service Members, their spouses and family members. At a Strong Bonds “getaway,” couples receive relationship education and skills training in a setting that inspires hope, fosters fellowship and rekindles intimacy.
The retreat, led by Army South Command Chaplain Col. Lawrence Dabeck, focused on understanding how spouses act, communicate and love.
“I think that it's true in any relationship that if the home life is good, then your work life is going to be better,” said Dabeck, who has led or co-hosted over 20 Strong Bonds events for single Soldiers, married couples and their families. “Strong Bonds gives Soldiers, spouses and their families the tools to deal with the challenges and stressors of military service.”
Thirty-six Soldiers and spouses participated in the three-day event to focus on their relationships, with some renewing their wedding vows on the last day.
Joaquín Matías García, U.S. Army South Headquarters and Service Company commander, and his wife were able to relax and learn how to improve their relationship.
“This weekend helped us put the dilemmas of marriage into perspective and instilled tools for us to build a stronger bond,” said Matías. “It taught me to not make insignificant situations more serious than they are.”
The Strong Bonds program started in 1999 with an aim by Army chaplains, with the support of the commanding officer, to strengthen the relationship of married couples through a variety of different training seminars.