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Airmen extend Valentine’s spirit through Strong Bonds weekend

Strong Bonds retreat

U.S. Air Force Airmen and their spouses assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing pose for a group photo during a Strong Bonds Marriage Weekend held at a conference center in Kingsport, Tennessee. The weekend was hosted by the chaplain corps and provided techniques used to assist couples in strengthening their marriages. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Bill Conner)

Strong Bonds retreat

U.S. Air Force Chaplain, Lt. Col. Bradley Green, assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, teaches Airmen about the Five Love Languages during a Strong Bonds Marriage Weekend at a conference center in Kingsport, Tennessee. The weekend was hosted by the chaplain corps and provided techniques used to assist couples in strengthening their marriages. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young)

Strong Bonds retreat

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing discuss ways to spend quality time with spouses during a Strong Bonds Marriage Weekend at a conference center in Kingsport, Tennessee. The weekend was hosted by the chaplain corps and provided techniques used to assist couples in strengthening their marriages. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young)

Strong Bonds retreat

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rachel Lewis, an instructor and curriculum developer assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, and her husband Eric, sarcastically act out how some couples spend time at home during a Strong Bonds Marriage Weekend at a conference center in Kingsport, Tennessee. The weekend was hosted by the chaplain corps and covered techniques used to assist couples in strengthening their marriages. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young)

KINGSPORT, Tenn. --

Valentine’s Day may be over, but several service members still had love on their minds during the extended holiday weekend.

Airmen and spouses assigned to the Air National Guard’s education center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing took part in a Strong Bonds retreat and enrichment seminar, February 15-17, at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Attendees said that they learned valuable relationship building skills and received information about the five love languages.

The education center’s Chaplain, Lt. Col. Bradley Green, described the enrichment seminar as “one of the best programs for enhancing communication within marriages.”

“The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, was given to each participant to read at their own pace, and chaplains led sessions on each of the five love languages so that participants could understand the essential information.

Chief Master Sgt. Christine Shawhan said that she loved the seminar and felt that the “simple changes we make in our behavior to connect with our spouses builds a stronger foundation at home and everyone benefits.”  She went on to say that “when things are right on the home-front, we can focus on the mission at hand at work.  It supports every organization.”

Master Sgt. Rachel Lewis said that she enjoyed the retreat and said: “it was a great opportunity to get away from distractions and focus on our marriage.”  She went in expecting to be inundated with information and to be in training mode all weekend but was pleasantly surprised by the balance of social interaction, quality time for the couples, and the training they received.

Chief Shawhan said that “this program isn’t just about that particular weekend’s event.  It’s about setting a path to strengthen emotional well-being and building resiliency.  We need our Airmen and families to do our mission. This is one way to support both.”