MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
We’ve all heard those wedding bells ringing before. A couple is joined in the hand of marriage, and thus, beginning their new life together.
But what starts out as a happy and momentous day often times turns sour within the first couple of years of what is supposed to be a life-long commitment.
When it comes to marriage, people often want or hope for a fairy tale ending with a happily ever after, but marriage isn’t always easy.
To help service members strengthen their marriages as well as deal with the stresses military life adds to the relationship, Jim Asher, readiness and deployment support trainer, and Cmdr. Ken Counts, deputy base chaplain for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, taught the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program marriage enrichment class, a two-day course held July 28 and 29, at the Midway Park Marine Corps Family Team Building office aboard the Camp Lejeune housing area.
PREP has helped thousands of military couples experience greater joy within their marriages as they learn how to listen to and understand each other better.
The workshops and materials teach couples the skills they need to nurture a lasting love. Couples spend most of their time in special discussion or practicing skills.
“It has actually been really helpful,” said Ben Avila, attendant of the marriage enrichment class. “Mainly because we have problems with arguing a lot, so the speaker-listening technique really helped us out so we’re not constantly fighting and adding to the problem.”
Key topics include expectations, commitment, fun, forgiveness, friendship, feeling understood and sensuality.
PREP is not therapy and attendants are never forced to share personal concerns or relationship problems.
“You know you’re reaching a good solution if it meets both partners’ needs, for the relationship and for the family,” said Counts.
The class begins by exploring effective communication skills, addresses problem-resolution strategies and shows how to discover hidden issues in every relationship.
“It’s teaching me how to just stop, actually listen to the exact keys of what she’s saying and tackle that single problem,” said Avila.
While every couple starts off their relationship to make it work, many simply do not know how to accomplish a healthy and fulfilling marriage. With PREP, couples can gain concrete strategies and tools to build a rewarding marriage.
For more information, couples should call the Marine Corps Family Team Building office at 451-0176.