PHOTO CAPTION: Rebecca Kerr (left), Marlene Morschauser (2nd from left), Adele Snook (middle) and Shelley Williams (right) participated in a group exercise during the Spouses Resiliency Workshop at 18th Fires Brigade Apr. 10. The spouses got a refresher in team work and interaction skills. (Photo by: Sgt. Brian P. Glass, 18th Fires Brigade Public Affairs)
April 23, 2013
BY Sgt. Brian P. Glass
For those who serve, being married can be harder than normal. Long hours at work, field missions, being called away at a moment's notice are stresses on a military family.
Going along with the Ready, Resilient and Army Strong Campaign, 82nd Airborne Division's 18th Fires Brigade hosted a Spouses Resiliency workshop Apr. 10, giving them the chance to learn what they can do help strengthen their marriages as well as their personal lives.
Thinking outside the box, the 18th Fires Brigade wanted to make sure this wasn't "typical" army training. Part of that thinking was having a lunch social where spouses could ask questions in a comfortable environment.
Rebecca Kerr, one of the spouses in attendance, liked that the workshop was more interactive than just dealing with death by PowerPoint.
"I learned a lot more, I did not expect what I learned today," said Kerr. "I expected a long briefing and that didn't happen."
"The interactive part teaches you to work in groups, which a lot of wives need to learn to do, either with their spouses or the Family Readiness Group, or with their friends."
18th Fires Brigade Chaplain, Maj. (CH) Randy Curry, along with a representative from ACS (Army Community Service) and Military Family Life Consultant taught the courses. Curry was pleased with not only the curriculum but the feedback from his class.
"My course was marriage resiliency and we had a hands on project," said Curry. "We used red cups to represent marriage and writing on the outside of it to say what holds up the marriage. With an empty cup in their hands, I asked them what they are putting in the cup to build up the marriage."
"I think it went very well, there was a lot of good interaction, a lot of fun involvement. The spouses were definitely engaged and appreciated what they are learning. They found all four lessons useful; they said they would take some of this home."
Curry, knowing there is a lot of spouses who have done these events before made sure to highlight who is new to being an army spouse.
"I asked (who was new) so the other ladies would know. We had some ladies here who knew each other but it's good for the whole group so others can know," said Curry. "Like the one spouse who said she has been here a week, well let's take her under our wing because not only does she not know anyone, she doesn't know Fort Bragg."
"It kicks in that they need to talk to these newer spouses to help them out."
One of the events was "Putting it into Perspective", helping the spouses use rational thinking skills instead of letting things snowball into something worse than the original problem was. Erica Wright, a dual military spouse, enjoyed this part the most.
"Putting it into perspective was really good, I enjoyed that portion of the class," said Wright. "When it comes to dealing with the best and worst case, it helped to handle the most likely event and how to deal with it. It was very beneficial."
Being dual military gives Wright a different thought process than the others because she sees what her husband does every day.
"When they were talking about most things, I wasn't even getting the same things as the others because I know what my husband does," said Wright. "When it comes to the parts of the relationship and what can be done with your spouse to make things better, I learned a lot."
In addition to the professional staff, the spouses of the leaders in the brigade participated in the event. While they were there to learn alongside the other spouses they were able to provide insight and pass along tools they have picked up over their years of service.
The brigade was pleased with how everything went as a whole, understanding how important it is to reach out to spouses and show them there is a system and people in place that they can talk to at anytime. The spouses also left with tools that they can use to develop their marriages and personal lives.
"We opened it up to everyone who wanted to come to it," said Marlene Morschauser. "That's the hope (higher attendance), even people in other brigades, or interest from division. Everyone can share good ideas."