Soldiers, spouses build Strong Bonds

Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Small, a communications specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Sustainment Brigade, and his wife, Candace, conduct the dancer pose during a couples’ yoga session Dec. 22, in Waikiki. Twenty-eight Soldiers and their spouses took part in the yoga session during a military couples retreat, here, Dec. 20-22.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY STAFF SGT. HEATHER A. DENBY
25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As the holidays approached, Soldiers from the 25th Sustainment Brigade were reminded of one of their most precious gift this season: Family.

Twenty-eight Soldiers from the brigade dedicated three days to strengthening their relationships with their spouses during Strong Bonds Couples Training held Dec. 20-22 in Waikiki.

Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program that helps commanders build individual resiliency by strengthening the Army Family.

“Just like anything else in the military, relationships require work. You have to work to effectively communicate and keep the love alive,” said Capt. Brian Hargis, the 25th Sustainment Brigade chaplain. “As Soldiers, it can be extremely challenging to dedicate the much-needed time to focus on marriage. It requires intentionality to construct a foundation that will afford relationships to weather the storms of life – especially in the military.”

Capt. Donald A. Barger, an intel officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Sustainment Brigade, and his wife, Kristen, hold hands during Strong Bonds Couples Training Dec. 20, in Waikiki. Strong Bonds is a U.S. Army Chaplain Corps program to train service members on how to build resilient relationships with their partners.

“Yet the time invested can pay dividends when those Soldiers are called upon to fulfill their wartime duties,” he added. “Because of the skills they learned in Strong Bonds training, they have a greater chance of success in marriage.”

During the 12 hours of Strong Bonds training and practical exercises, Soldiers and their spouses learned about communication styles and timing effective communication, understanding personality, demonstrating appreciation, getting rid of destructive behaviors and managing triggers by assuming goodwill.

“It’s wonderful to see that the Army is committed to encouraging its military families to thrive,” said Kristen Barger. Barger’s husband recently redeployed and the couple is expecting their third child in February.

The couples closed out Strong Bonds training with a 90-minute yoga session on the beach.

“Yoga helps couples with connection,” said Abbie Burkhart, the group’s yoga instructor and a military spouse. “It helps them meet in a safe space where they don’t have to talk and can just be with each other. It also helps a person focus inward and connect with who they are so they can bring more authenticity to their relationship.”

Soldiers interested in attending a Strong Bonds retreat are encouraged to contact their unit chaplain for more information on upcoming events.

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Category: News