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Ellsworth couples attend mil-to-mil workshop

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – More than 15 couples from Ellsworth AFB attended a military-to-military marriage workshop at the Rushmore Hotel in Rapid City, S.D., Sept. 23.

The mil-to-mil workshop focused on the foundation of marriage and the unique challenges military couples face.

“We are trying to help them with the unique stresses they have being married and in the military,” said Stacey Knight, spouse of Chap. (Maj.) David Knight, the base chaplain assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing. “We cover a lot of things like communication and how to deal with the specific stresses, and the five love languages and how to make your spouse feel loved by learning all the different languages and how to learn the language your spouse speaks.”

Tech. Sgt. Shannon Olson, the chaplain assistant Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge assigned to the 28th BW, stated the purpose of the workshops are to equip these couples with the tools they need to strengthen their relationships and focus to strengthen their marriage.

“The first workshop is about the five love languages,” Olson said. “Specifically tailored to a military couple, they will learn how to speak each other’s love languages and how they feel loved as individuals. Then we go to the foundation of communication, respect, differences we may have as two people and how the military makes that more difficult, followed by a mentorship process with senior couples, NCO’s and officer couples and they go around the room and share their stories of how they have strengthened their marriages.”

Olson mentioned if people are not aware of these tools and are facing stressors, then that is going to be where they might struggle, because the foundation was not as strong as it could have been. She emphasized how these tools are important for a healthy and lasting marriage.

“People have responded really well,” Knight said. “I think they really enjoyed reacting with other couples and getting ideas and information from each other. I think that’s one of the purposes of having this, so that they can meet other spouses who have similar situations and learn how they deal with them.”

While couples had the opportunity to meet other couples, the focus was also on each other. 

“More than anything, my goal was for people to have a good time, get away from work for one day where they can focus on each other and their marriage, why they got married and why they want to stay married and enjoy that,” Olson said. “Enjoy that for one day – where you don’t have any other distractions and that’s your sole focus. I don’t think we get enough of that.”

The event is offered quarterly and couples can sign up through their first sergeants. For more information, contact Olson at (605) 385-1598.