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Schriever couples refresh marriages

Schriever Air Force Base married couples gather on the last day of the MarriageCare retreat, hosted by the 50th Space Wing Chaplain’s Office, during a weekend getaway Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Frisco, Colorado. Couples were encouraged to spend quality time together through relationship sessions, exercises and a candle-lit dinner. (Courtesy photo/Je’Mahl Ray)

Schriever Air Force Base married couples gather on the last day of the MarriageCare retreat, hosted by the 50th Space Wing Chaplain’s Office, during a weekend getaway Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Frisco, Colorado. Couples were encouraged to spend quality time together through relationship sessions, exercises and a candle-lit dinner. (Courtesy photo/Je’Mahl Ray)

FRISCO, Colo. -- Twelve Schriever Air Force Base married couples attended the MarriageCare retreat to enrich relationships during a weekend getaway Friday through Sunday in Frisco, Colorado.

The 50th Space Wing Chaplain's Office hosted the free event. Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, 50 SW, led the couples throughout the weekend.

"The Chaplain's office hosts several marriage retreat events per year. I think we all recognize the importance of strengthening that bond, especially as military families, (because) military life is very different. So (relationships) need to be cultivated, and need to stay strong because when we all retire or leave the Air Force, what we have left is our families. We can't make it without our families and spouses, so we want to pour into and cultivate those relationships," said Ray.

The couples in attendance provided diverse perspectives and marital experiences ranging from newlyweds married just over a year to couples entering their 24th year this month, like Rich and Dawn Sharkey.

"I (travel) a lot for the government so I'm on the road a lot, and we've got two kids so we don't have a lot of time to be alone together. When (Dawn) floated the idea, it seemed like a really nice opportunity to be together without any distractions," Rich shared.

Ray led the couples in different exercises and sessions addressing topics including love and apology languages, healthy communication, understanding family backgrounds, managing expectations and conflict resolution.

Alexandra and Francisco Linarez, married for four years, found the one-on-one breakout sessions to be beneficial.

"The sessions were really good at helping us look deeper at things that we were not aware of before, like traditions and what we brought into our marriage unintentionally from our family backgrounds," said Alexandra.

Friday night, laughter could be heard throughout the hallways during the newlyweds game, which tested couples on how well they know their spouses. The next day, most of the couples put their brains together to solve puzzles and mysteries in an escape room. These rooms are designed to creatively challenge participants to work together and solve themed challenges in under an hour.

The Linarez's emerged victoriously with about five minutes to spare. 

"It was easy to connect with people. The events were fun, the escape room was awesome. We even learned some stuff about each other that we hadn't learned before," Francisco said.

Couples were allowed to deviate from the scheduled group events and venture into Breckinridge and Frisco, Colorado to have alone time with their significant other.
Ray is hopeful the memories made at the retreat will not just be a momentary place of happiness for the couples, but will instead benefit their relationships in the long-run.

"My hope is that they got some tools and some insight on how to fuel their long-term goals for their families and for their marriages. That they'll be able to continue on and cultivate the love that was already there and that they honestly got a chance to have a break and have a good time and remember the fun and remember the love," she said.

The Chaplain's Office will be hosting another marriage retreat in August and a family retreat in September. For more information, call their office at 567-3705.
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