HomeMediaFeaturesDisplay

Chapel Call: September 2009

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- A woman answered her door and found a man who asked if she would pay him for doing odd jobs around her house. She asked him if he could paint.

The man said he could. She gave him a can of green paint and a new brush. "Go around back," she said, "and you'll see a porch that needs repainting. Be very careful. When you're done, I'll look it over and pay you what it's worth."

About an hour later the man knocked on the door again and said he was finished.

"Did you do a good job?" the woman asked.

"Yes. But Lady, there's one thing I'd like to point out to you. That's not a Porsche back there. That's a Mercedes." (Humor for Preaching and Teaching, Christianity Today, Inc., 1996)

Communication is critical in human relationships. It is most critical in our vital relationships. In marriage, good communication is one foundation of health and wellness. Good communication helps good marriages get better, and helps build the resiliency needed to deal with problems and issues that arise.

This summer I was a presenter at a Strong Bonds marriage workshop for the first time. Strong Bonds is a weekend program offered by the National Guard as part of deployment cycle support. There is no cost to couples and, in fact, spouses can be placed on travel orders. Military members can attend as a duty function as well. Family Support organizes these events and the Chaplain's Office provides instructors. 

A Strong Bonds weekend consists of presentations on common marriage issues and pitfalls, keys to healthy marriage, and a simple communication tool to assist couples in their work of building a stronger marriage. It isn't group therapy, doesn't imply the couples attending have marital problems, and, while everyone is encouraged to participate in discussions, sharing is not required. The goal is to provide military couples some assistance in dealing with the unique challenges we face.

On my Strong Bonds weekend we stayed at the CapeCodder in Hyannis. Along with the presentations, our leadership team left plenty of time for couples to do their "homework" of being together exploring the area and reconnecting with each other. The atmosphere was informal, people shared at their comfort level, there was a fair amount of laughter, and I think we all walked away with some new insights.

I believe strong marriages are the foundation of strong families and help produce strong people. Strong people keep our nation, and its defense, sound. I encourage all couples to consider attending a Strong Bonds weekend. I believe it can help in the foundational work of your marriage. You can get more information and upcoming dates from Family Support or the Chaplain's Office.