With the scent of Valentine’s Day in the air, it is easy to get caught up in either the bitterness or the romance the holiday tends to come with. No matter the occasion, relationships are in constant need of maintenance, and the Air Force is armed with resources to help Airmen keep those relationships happy and healthy.
These resources are readily available through the Buckley Chapel, and include counseling for marriage, pre-marriage, relationship building and more, said Capt. Timothy Springs, 460th Space Wing Chaplain. These counseling services usually involve helping families cope with ever changing dynamics as well as helping couples learn how to overcome each other’s flaws.
One of the bigger events that the base organizes is the 2-3 day couple’s retreat, which includes childcare, if needed, said Springs. The retreats are designed to help couples get away and allow themselves time to focus on their relationship.
“One thing we always like to remind people is, the retreats are not specific to troubled couples,” said Springs. “We like to emphasize that it is for anyone, because you can always make a relationship better.”
The retreats include a variety of seminars and forums which the couple can choose from. Some of these seminars include coverage of fighting styles, communication, finances, and parenting, said Ms. Christina Grooms, 460th Space Wing Community Outreach Coordinator. They are typically lead by reputable speakers and the audience can be up to 300 strong including both military and non-military.
“I was a newlywed when my husband and I first went,” said Grooms. “It was very helpful for us to have this as a foundation to lay down, especially after only being married for a year.”
Military members have the opportunity to attend these retreats for free, because grants are provided through the Center for Relationship Education, added Grooms.
“These retreats are an awesome experience,” said Grooms. “Most of the couples who attend don’t have any issues at all, they just want the chance to strengthen their relationship.”
In addition to the retreats, the base also holds classes and forums here through the Center for Relationship Education.
The support offered is not only available to those in relationships, but can help single Airmen gauge what they’re looking for, or not looking for, as well. The chapel holds discussions that can benefit everyone on the tricky subject of relationships.
“We did a worship service about a year ago where we held a discussion panel and talked about dynamics of relationships and marriages,” said Springs. “We had three couples— both married and in relationships—talk about their experiences. It was helpful to those who are single as well.”
A huge part of the mission to offer support to Airmen is primarily to promote healthy relationships; they can always be better, and they can always use work.
“My biggest piece of advice for those in relationships is to always be asking yourself how you can be better, and how you can be a blessing to your significant other,” said Springs. “And for those who are single, enjoy your time alone and take the time to work on yourself.”
Airmen should be able to take comfort in knowing there are a variety of resources available to aid them in relationships. They are never alone.