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Andersen hosts "Fireproof My marriage" retreat

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
More than 51 military couples and their families attended a free marriage retreat hosted by the 36th Wing chaplains at the Pacific Island Club (PIC) Sept. 11-12. 

Twenty-eight families of up to four people stayed at the PIC at no cost, thanks to an Air Force grant. Retreat organizers provided all hotel accommodations, amenities, meals, and snacks, as well as child care for children between 4 and 12. 

One family of five commuted from Saipan to take advantage of the unique opportunity, according to Chaplain (Maj.) Andrew McIntosh, a chaplain for the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base. 

Most of the funding was provided by an $8,700 grant from the Air Force Chief of Chaplains. The Andersen chapel provided an additional $1,200 for families not covered by the grant to have meals and snacks free of charge. 

The retreat, entitled "Fireproof My Marriage," was geared towards families of servicemembers who have recently deployed or will soon deploy. 

"'Fireproof My Marriage' was chosen as the theme because the movie was popular and familiar," said Chaplain McIntosh. "The material was pre-established and we liked the key topics." 

The two-day retreat focused on a variety of topics, including communication, teamwork, gratefulness, marriage vows, commitment, pride, unconditional love, temptation, lust, reconciliation and forgiveness. 

Instructors emphasized they would be available to participants and their families for additional support or counseling after the course ended. The instructors were not only chaplains, but also included family advocacy and mental health specialists, and experts from Andersen's Airman Family Readiness Center.

Maj. Spring Myers, of the 36th Medical Operations Squadron, guided attendees through a communications seminar.

"It was worthwhile," she said. "It hit all bases and gave couples practical information to think about in a fun way,"

More than 51 families attended the event, totaling more than 140 children and adults. The event was so successful that the Andersen chaplains are planning to host another marriage retreat in early October. 

"The retreat was not about saving bad marriages, it was about making good ones better," explained Chaplain McIntosh. "There is always room for improvement in individuals and couples since each person is a work in progress and couples can grow and learn together."