SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Couples enriched their marriages by learning how to create a “safe haven” relationship in the first-ever Intimate Allies workshop at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 20.
Dr. Ken Robinson, Specialist for the Primary Prevention of Violence, facilitated the class, which he developed during his work at Ft. Carson.
According to Robinson, Intimate Allies is an empirically supported program, based on evidence and proven scientific research. The ultimate goal is for couples to know how to create a safe haven marriage.
“A safe haven marriage is a relationship in which couples are attuned to each other. They’re emotionally and physically available, and they’re able to repair disconnection. It is a marriage in which couples experience high levels of intimacy, feel safe, secure and connected,” said Robinson.
According to a July 2016 Military Family Life Counselor report, the installation’s number one member-presented problem was relation distress with their spouse or partner, making safe haven marriages an important topic for military members.
Robinson explained safety and security in a marriage lowers anxiety and fear about the relationship. It builds trust instead of worry about the other partner abandoning them.
Senior Airman Jared Theobald, 50th Space Communications Squadron, shared it was important for him and his wife to attend the workshop.
“We’re newlyweds and we just want to have the best marriage that we possibly can,” said Theobald.
The safe haven concept is especially vital to military relationships, due to the potential of deployments and separation.
“When couples are in distress over separation, with a safe haven, they know that everything’s going to be OK. That they’re committed to each other and that they can deploy knowing ‘when I get back, my spouse is going to be there for me.’ And the same thing for the spouse knowing that ‘my military spouse will return ready to re-bond and recommit to the relationship,’” said Robinson.
As opposed to couples who have not established a safe haven, Robinson explained they often deploy in more chaotic and stressful situations, believing the relationship will only grow worse.
One of the workshop’s core foundations is attachment theory, which helps couples understand how to attach or bond to each other. Many of those dynamics originate from the individual’s family background.
A secure attachment style means a partner is not afraid of intimacy or closeness, is comfortable with expressing a wide array of emotion and can be available or attuned to the other spouse’s needs. On the flip side, a partner who has an insecure attachment style can be avoidant or anxious, and not be able to express emotions or may give too much to the partner to affirm love for themselves.
The attendees also took an assessment to determine what type of attachment style they have. Based on these conclusions, Robinson taught the couples how to properly understand their relational dance, connect and respond to each other’s unique emotional needs.
Throughout the workshop, couples participated in hands-on lessons and intimacy exercises, including scenario discussions, and a physical intimacy exercise.
“I think it’s extremely important because depending on what your attachment style is, you relate to people in different ways. Some people are more secure and some people avoid emotions so if you can realize what’s happening it’s easier to avoid conflict,” said Theobald.
Team Schriever couples can be on the look-out for more Intimate Allies workshops in the future.
“As the SPPV, we’ll be doing more events like Intimate Allies as part of our prevention program, looking for workshops for parents as well, and also pre-marital workshops for Airmen. And all these are based on the attachment model,” Robinson said.
For more information on Intimate Allies, contact Robinson at 567-2647.