An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | Sept. 7, 2016

63rd RSC holds Strong Bonds event for couples and Soldiers

By Alun Thomas 63rd Regional Support Command

SAN DIEGO – For all single Soldiers and married couples, the military life brings a unique set of often-stressful situations, which can test the most stable individual or couple in turbulent times.

The Army Reserve helps couples and Soldiers overcome these strains by using teaching techniques through the Strong Bonds program, which utilizes an Army approved curriculum and is facilitated by Chaplains.

The 63rd Regional Support Command held their latest Strong Bonds event for both single Soldiers and married couples, Sept. 2-4, at the Sheraton Hotel, San Diego, in an effort to guide both sets of participants into positive mindsets and marriages.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Sung Kim, Strong Bonds program director, 63rd RSC, has taught more than 70 Strong Bond events for 63rd RSC couples over the last three years and said the emphasis is on developing relationships using a variety of tools and techniques.

“The curriculum can often be tedious, but we know how to deliver it in a practical way with our experience and by incorporating activities,” Kim said. “The couples love it. They’ve said it’s changed their relationships thanks to this training.”

Kim said the training has helped some couples avoid possible separation or divorce, with many receiving counseling or finding renewal through the training itself.

“There’s a lot involved to the training, including learning about warning signs, listening techniques and problem solving,” Kim explained. “The most important subject is forgiveness; people love this topic.”

Other popular activities include discovering personality types and the five love languages, he said.

“We continue to develop the program so it’s not always the same, because some couples have done the training before,” Kim continued. “We don’t want people to do the same thing twice.”

Finding the training beneficial was Sgt. 1st Class Tracey Howell and her husband Reginald, who travelled from Fort Huachuca, Ariz., with both wanting to explore their one-year-old marriage in closer detail.

“We wanted to get more understanding about the issues that occur within a marriage, especially dealing with things that cause a lot of problems,” Reginald said. “What we build on strengthens our marriage, including this training.”

Despite only a year of marriage, Reginald said he and Tracey had known each other over 20 years before finally getting to this stage of their lives.

“We were engaged in our twenties and for what we’ve learned here, if we’d had that back then, I know for a fact we’d have been married the whole time,” he stated. “I think every married couple should go through this training. It’s like a healing process.”

The training has been thoroughly enjoyable and made me realize just how much my husband and me are alike, Tracey said.

“That’s probably a reason why we do bump heads a lot, but now we have the tools on how to resolve the issues and how to talk out the problems. When we were younger we didn’t have that,” Tracey said.

“This is going to strengthen our marriage and take it another 20, 30 or 40 years, or however long God blesses us to be together,” she said.

Tracey urged other Army Reserve couples to attend the training.

“It’s a must, because there’s too many marriages under strain,” Tracey said. “You have to accept things about yourself and even though you think you know everything about your spouse, you really don’t.”

Trying to adopt the same principles for single Soldiers is Chaplain (Maj.) Adrian Obrian, Strong Bonds program manager, 63rd RSC, who tries to teach primarily younger Army Reserve Soldiers to plan for their futures and develop their own unique presence.

“A lot of young kids in the Army don’t have much direction and they don’t know how to plan for the future,” Obrian said. “We teach them seven habits training, which helps them develop positive habits in order to achieve their goals.”

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Soldiers training is divided up into three parts and includes taking a young Soldier who is dependent on somebody and making them rely on their own accord, he said.

“We take them from the first stage of survival mode, to snapping out of that mode and moving to the stability phase, where you start to really enjoy life,” Obrian explained. “Then they can start planning their education, going to college, or even having a family.”

As they move through the rest of the stages, the Soldiers gradually become more self aware of their strengths and weaknesses, he said.

“The success and significant phases are where they realize it’s not how much money you make, it’s what you leave behind. It’s what you want written on your tombstone, so to speak,” Obrian summarized.

The reception to the training is uniformly excellent, he said, with Soldiers leaving understanding what they need to change the direction of their lives.

“By putting their plan in writing it helps them improve or develop that habit. Their plan is just for them and nobody else,” Obrian said. “By the end of the training they know where they are, where they want to be and they know how to get there.”

This type of rational thinking encouraged Spc. Yoon Kim, chaplain’s assistant, Camp Parks, Calif., who said as a single Soldier he was interested to learn how he could improve his life through the training and bolster his confidence.

“This is essential to develop good relationships for the future and a great reminder for me to reflect back on myself and learn from other similar Soldiers,” Kim said. “The seven habits training really helped me understand how to prioritize my life and make a habit of it.”

Kim said single Soldiers should be proactive and take the training to realize their potential in life.

“We’re all from different walks of life and backgrounds and that makes for an experience which could change someone’s life,” he said. “I realize now I’m capable of looking after myself and making my own decisions.”