MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Combat Center’s Chaplain Office worked in conjunction with Marine Corps Community Services to host a Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program workshop, sponsored by LifeSkills, for couples aboard the Combat Center at building 1651 Sept. 19.
PREP is a workshop focused on teaching married or engaged couples communication skills, ground rules for handling conflict safely and techniques for promoting intimacy. The program’s aim is to prevent future marital problems including violence and divorce.
“The purpose of this class is to help build better marriages,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Wheeler, deputy assistant chief of staff of religious ministries, Headquarters Battalion. “Whether they are just starting off or in a later phase, we want couples to develop a better marriage.”
The 15 participants created an interactive environment in which they discussed danger signs such as escalation or arguments, invalidation of the other spouse and diminishing their feelings, withdrawal from the spouse and negative interpretations which can lead to a breakdown of the relationship. The couples focused on how to express concerns constructively and how to identify issues which can build quickly in a marriage.
Some Marines in attendance were present because their command encouraged participation for the class, knowing that a Marine can gain a lot from the workshop.
“I came to this class after a friend convinced me because I plan on getting married,” said Lance Cpl. Samuel T. Wood, aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171. “I feel that I am learning communication skills and how to better deal with arguments and petty disagreements.”
Lee Risper, LifeSkills trainer, Marine Corps Family Team Building, lectured the class about a color system that reflects their personality.
In this personality tool, different colors bring different meanings to a person. Red represents someone who likes to take charge; blue represents someone who is disciplined and organized; yellow shows someone who is kind and caring; green reflects someone who is fair and tolerant; purple represents someone who is independent; and orange reflects a person who is outgoing and risk-taking.
Participants discovered the colors represented how they communicate and what they value. The color system ultimately proved to determine weaknesses and strengths, and help them understand themselves and their spouse so they could better work together as a couple.
“(Communication) is definitely about listening to each other talk, not interrupting each other and letting the other person say what they want to say,” Wood said. “Arguments should not get overly vocal.”
Any couples interested in enhancing their communication skills can gain valuable insight with the LifeSkills PREP workshop.
“This class is open to anybody in any phase of their relationship,” Wheeler said. “If they are in a good place in their relationship, this class can help them go to great.”
For more information on PREP, talk to a unit Chaplain or call the Protestant Chapel at (760)-830-6464.