U.K. conference aims to strengthen marriages
Stars and Stripes March 1, 2006
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Marriage can be crazy.
There’s the mortgage to worry about, the car payments, parents to visit, kids to take care of, a million little reasons to argue or, at best, neglect the things needed to make a relationship work.
Every once in a while, it pays for a husband and wife to take a little time out to focus on each other and ways to improve a marriage, said Jim Fishback, organizer of the upcoming Military Marriage Conference, set to take place Friday through Sunday in Cambridge.
For couples who feel they need to revitalize their marriage, talk about their relationship or just get away for a couple of days, the annual conference can be a good way to get some time alone together.
A seminar-cum-intimate retreat set at the Cambridge Crowne Plaza, the conference is made up of workshops, talks and lectures, with time out for romantic dinners and dates in the city.
The three-day conference also has participants engage as couples in “projects” — practical exercises to bring home the message of each workshop, Fishback said.
Topics cover areas such as forgiveness and conflict resolution between spouses, with activities in between such as an assignment for each person to write a love letter to their loved one, said conference coordinator Amy Back.
The goal, Fishback said, is “to help couples build oneness in their relationship together, to grow closer together.”
A large focus of the program is to identify threats to a marriage and talk about ways to deal with them. One of the most popular features with the scores of couples that generally attend is the portion on forgiveness, Fishback said.
“Many couples have been able to both ask for and express forgiveness about differences” after attending the conferences, he said.
The Military Marriage Conference is sponsored by the chapels at RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall, but Fishback — who does work with the organization Campus Crusade for Christ — said there isn’t an overpowering religious bent to the program.
“It is a chapel-sponsored program. It is Bible-focused, but the word that I would use to describe it is ‘nonthreatening,’” he said.
The cost for the conference is $200 for officers or civilian equivalents, $150 for enlisted servicemembers, Back said. Buses are available to and from the Cambridge Crowne Plaza. Those interested in attending can contact Back at 01638-52-831.