Strong Bonds Valentine's Marriage Refresher Course Published Feb. 24, 2015 By Capt. Christina Pittman 169th Fighter Wing MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- The South Carolina Air National Guard's Chaplain Corps and Family Readiness staff held their first Strong Bonds Valentine's Marriage Refresher Course at the base dining facility after the unit training assembly, Feb. 7. Fourteen couples and staff enjoyed a break from the duty day to reflect on tools to strengthen their marriage over a delicious catered meal with curricula consisting of Laugh Your Way, military edition by Mark Gungor, Fearless Marriage, by PREP and the Five Love Languages, military edition by Gary Chapman. The overall course rating from those in attendance was a 100% at the highest level of an "Excellent" rating, making a strong argument to hold the event annually. Feedback from the attendees said they would, "recommend this course because there were valuable tools given to help couples manage their marriage." Other comments included remarks like, "it was refreshing and encouraging; a great way to spend time with my spouse. It was good to laugh and very informative; a great addition to the February UTA." This event afforded couples time to talk about ways to improve their marriage and glean wisdom from other couples. For one couple, who had only been married for three weeks, this event was especially timely for them to take time away and focus on their relationship. They said, "it was an awesome start for their new marriage." Another couple commented, "The best part was the information and facilitator's interaction." The curriculum was a great review of prior Strong Bonds Couples events. Highlights from this event were the Fearless Marriage sketch doodles and the focus on military editions with the new Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage video, The Tale of Two Brains and Five Love Languages books. Materials and books were provided for the couples to take home to help them to dig deeper in caring for their marriage. Another couple remarked, that the best part for them was the childcare as they were new to the area. Since the refresher course was not held overnight at a hotel location, it was the only Strong Bonds Couples event where childcare was provided. Many aspects of this budget- friendly event made it accessible to SCANG couples to refresh and treasure their marriage amidst their high ops tempo and civilian job demands. Overall, it rated high for recommending to other couples due to the usefulness of materials. Attendees were excited about what they learned and could not wait to start using the information. The SCANG Chaplain Corps and Family Readiness staff look forward to planning next year's Strong Bonds Valentine's Marriage Refresher Course. It will offer a wonderful opportunity for couples to hit the pause button on life so they can show their spouse where their heart is for Valentine's Day and that he/she is treasured. The next Strong Bonds Couples training event will be held in the Lake Murray area from 4 p.m. on Friday, April, 17 until 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April, 19. This will be an overnight couple's retreat and childcare is not provided. Space is limited to 16 couples. For more information and to register, please email Terry DeLille at, Carolyn.DeLille@ang.af.mil.