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IDS presents: Passport to a better relationship in 2014

Military couples watch, “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage,” presented by Joint Base Andrews Integrated Delivery System during a couples retreat at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 30th, 2013. Colonel Daniel Waters and his wife Liz hosted this event called, “Your Passport to a Better Relationship in 2014." IDS is designed to integrate and implement community outreach and prevention programs to Team Andrews. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Military couples watch, “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage,” presented by Joint Base Andrews Integrated Delivery System during a couples retreat at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 30th, 2013. Colonel Daniel Waters and his wife Liz hosted this event called, “Your Passport to a Better Relationship in 2014." IDS is designed to integrate and implement community outreach and prevention programs to Team Andrews. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md -- "To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world."

Being married or in a committed relationship often means you are someone else's world. If you're lucky, another person can be your best friend, true-love and/or life-long partner all-in-one. While being the world to someone may seem quite riveting, life's challenges occasionally make receiving help from the outside world necessary.

Several organizations from the Joint Base Andrews Integrated Delivery System (IDS), took a proactive approach to reach out and help service members with a couples workshop event, held at the Jacob E. Smart building hosted by Colonel Daniel Waters,11th Wing/JBA vice commander and his wife Mrs. Waters, JBA Key Spouse program lead.

"Members from the Family Advocacy, Mental health, Military and Family Support Center and the Chapel put together this event to give our people skills to add to their toolbox and build up their relationship," said Javonika McCree, 11th Wing community support coordinator.

To kick off the event, Col. Waters and his wife offered many of the attendees some perspective on what has helped them as committed couple.

"This is a workshop, so I'm going to give you some tools you can use inside your marriage," said Waters. "There are four C's I want to leave you with: control, commitment, communication and counseling."

Not to be fooled, the colonel said he didn't mean controlling or "tweaking" anyone except the only person somebody can control; oneself.

"We all go through stressful times," Col. Waters said. "Even though we decide to marry someone, they can make us madder than anyone else on the planet. Taking a step back and saying I'm committed to this person and to this relationship will get you through the bumps in the road. Commitment is the oil that keeps the wheels going around."

He addressed the males in particular on the importance of communication. And said when the first three C's aren't working, attend counseling.

Following his discussion, a series of activities took place to help members get to know themselves and each other better.

The day included an introspective relationship assessment measuring each individuals overall level of satisfaction in their relationship, they would later share with one another. They then learned about their "True Colors" in group exercise personality assessment.

Chaplain Capt. Dennis Gueu, inserted humor into the day with "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage," by Pastor Mark Gungor.

The second half of the day included information on couples resilience, finance and parenting. Participants also learned of resources available to them on base.

"Family advocacy provides family and marital counseling for an unspecified number of weeks," said Trina Taylor, Family Advocacy licensed certified social worker and treatment manager. "If there is no reported abuse the active-duty service member and their spouse can come in without command notification."

The turnout was phenomenal, Mrs. Waters exclaimed.

"About 72 people signed up for the event. The exciting thing is the event attracted a broad scope of couples. We have newly married, not yet married and couples like ourselves [longstanding] who have signed up for the event."

One young couple said they found the experience to be useful in guiding them in their new marriage.

"I think this workshop is very helpful, especially for newly married couples," said Jill Parrish, military spouse.

The "True Colors" exercise helped us gain a better perception of each other's traits and tendencies, she said.

"Knowing he is gold and I am blue effects how I will respond to him and deal with his characteristics and him for me, because that's the struggle for us. Hopefully we can manage conflict better after this," Mrs. Parish said.

"The self-assessment helped us see where each other are at and our ways of thinking," said Airman 1st Class Justin Parrish, 11th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist.

According to the hostess, the IDS are on target with their initiative in helping service members here.

"I think this is a great coordinated effort from all of the community activities," said Mrs. Waters. "It's spectacular they realize, these are their people, and they're taking the training to the people. This proactive approach is the whole purpose of what the IDS is doing this year; bringing the resources to the community."

Additionally, each attendee received a passport to a better relationship in 2014 form. If they participate in the next three couples workshops offered through April, and get their form signed by the presenter, they will be entered in a drawing to win a $400.00 gift card to be used at a local hotel.