Sunday, 15 January 2012

Strong Bonds: The Retreat-Saturday Morning

It was a sunny, but chilly Saturday morning. Mark got up before I did to find out where and what time the classes began.
I was snuggled down in the softness of the king bed, when Mark said: "Laini, get up. The classes start at 8:00 am.
It was 7 am and I am not a morning person.
Yes, we had a fuss.
It seems we should have been there yesterday afternoon by 3:00pm because that was the opening sessions began. He didn't know that we were suppose to be there yesterday.
Here we go again.
I have to be honest; I had to work through this as well.
It really wasn't his fault because he didn't have all of the information, but I still have to work through my anger. Truth be told, I wasn't being very flexiable.
Thankfully, we weren't in trouble, the staff was just thankful we made it on time.

This is a picture of one of the cabins at SkyTop. They are rather warm and cozy. Only a five minute walk from the cabin to the main lodge where the sessions would be held.
The staff was made up of three chaplains: Chaplains Jonathan, Demetrius and Mark (Rabbi) Jonathan and Mark were married, Demetrius, single.
The resource used for the weekend was Prep For Strong bonds; Building Ready Families. It's a participant manual that we would work through. What I love about the manual is that it is something that Mark and I can continue to use in our marriage. It reminds me of the workbook we used when going through pre-martial counseling.

The first session, led by Jonathan was discussing the speaker-listening technique. While we missed the teaching class, we quickly caught on because it is a technique we already knew. In each of the packets given to the couples, there contain a tile, called The Floor. Whoever held the tile, had "the floor" and was the speaker.(sample: It upsets me when you leave the bottle of ornage juice sitting on the counter.") The other parther is the Listener. Then the floor is given to the other spouse. He or she repects back what they just heard ( so what your saying is, you don't like me leaving the orange juice sitting out.")
Some times, the orange juice sitting on the kitchen isn't really the issuse. What is the real issuse? Maybe it is one spouse is concerned that the orange juice sitting out will spoil and it has to be thrown away and that is a waste of money. The other spouse, feels they are being considerate by leaving the juice for everyone.
So how do we settle this issuse?
The couple will agree to sit down and settle the issuse.
If this was Mark and I, we would agree the juice pitch sits on the breakfast table until the meal is over and whoever cleared the table would put away the orange juice.
Simple yes?
But how many couples fight over such a simple matter.
As the morning wore on, my anger melted away. Mark not having the map wasn't the reason for my anger. It's a good reason to be upset, but not to be angry. During the morning session, I realize somthing esle was in play.
Something we would learn is, the hidden issuse.
After the break, Rabbi Mark led the session Readjustment: Deployment and Coming Home. He set the stage that marriage today is very different than in our parents, and in some ways unchanged.
Today, more wives work outside the home, not because of things the family wants, but because the family needs the extra income. Though when I was growing up, I knew very few homes where mum stayed at home. Today, more couples share the household duties and care of children. But the core values and needs are still there.
For miliatry families, there is now the added long deployments.
The group shared the pros and cons of deployments, how to be creative in staying in touch with the deployed soldier.
We then broke into soldier and spouses groups. I found this most helpful. Since Mark is a Civil Affairs officer, he is attached to a unit and send off. And I am left here with no support other than family and friends. Other spouses in the group had similair situations. We able to speak openly, knowing whatever was said, remained in that room.
I walked away, realizing, that as hard as these four deployments have been, I was truly blessed.
We headed out for lunch, at one of the little eaties at the lodge. The dinningroom prices were just a little too high.
We were invivted by another couple to join them. Then Chaplain Jonathan and his wife joined us. it was a nice lunch of hanburgers and just getting to know each other.
Later, Mark and I sat before a roaring fire and I fell asleep on Mark's shoulder as he stroked my cheek.
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