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Marriage 101: Communication a key component to a healthy relationship

Chaplain (Capt.) Troy Allan, Fort Rucker Family Life chaplain, heads the Marriage 101 workshops held the second and fourth Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each month as a way for couples to learn what to expect from marriage before making the commitment. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Chaplain (Capt.) Troy Allan, Fort Rucker Family Life chaplain, heads the Marriage 101 workshops held the second and fourth Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each month as a way for couples to learn what to expect from marriage before making the commitment. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: May 22, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 22, 2014) -- Marriage is a huge step in anyone’s life, and the Fort Rucker Religious Support Office wants to make sure that people on the installation are ready before making that commitment.

That’s why it’s offering Marriage 101, a premarital coaching and marriage enrichment seminar designed to teach people what to expect before taking their vows, said Chaplain (Capt.) Troy Allan, Fort Rucker Family Life Chaplain.

“Marriage 101 really gives people a good overview of what marriage is all about,” said Allan. “It’s not just for people who are going to get married, but for those who may already be married and want to tune up their marriage. It gives couples a broad view of marriage and it’s actually pretty fun.”

The seminars are held in eight sessions, during which people will learn about different subjects from what to expect in a marriage, how money affects marriage, sexual intimacy and everything in between, said the chaplain.

“We’ll talk about communication, personality differences, conflict resolution, spiritual intimacy, and the big one – money,” he said, adding that money can be such a big issue in marriages that there are two sessions on the subject.

Allan said it’s a good idea for couples to take the Marriage 101 workshop to not only learn about what to expect in a marriage, but to also learn more about each other and what to expect from one another.

“From what I’ve seen, couples who are engaged or who are preparing for marriage quite often put their best foot forward,” he said. “When we get into marriage, many times things can change, and if you’re not prepared for that, then that can be a real shock.

“When couples come to me and we do this course, we really get down to the nuts and bolts of what a relationship looks like, and prepare them for lifelong happiness in their marriage,” he added.

Additionally, to use any of the chapels on post for a marriage ceremony, a couple is required to go through the Marriage 101 workshop.

“We require that because we’re trying to take care of people and we’re trying to do a little preventative maintenance, and the Army is all about that,” said Allan.

One thing that Allan doesn’t want people to confuse the Marriage 101 workshop with is typical marriage counseling, which can have some negative connotations.

“If you’re already in a relationship, you don’t have to be struggling in that relationship to go through this seminar,” he said. “You don’t wait to change the oil in your car until it breaks. You do these tune-ups all the time to prevent things from breaking down.”

Allan said people should look at the sessions less as counseling and more like training to help prepare for what’s to come in their relationship.

“Whenever people hear the word counseling, they get scared,” he said. “They think that means that their marriage or relationship is falling apart, but that’s not the case with Marriage 101.”

The added benefit of the workshop is people will be learning from someone who has years of experience in a marriage, and although all marriages are different, Allan said that learning from someone with those experiences is helpful.

“I’ve been married more than 19 years now, and I’ve found a lot of joy in my marriage and my relationship, but it doesn’t come without its struggles, and it doesn’t come without learning and growing together,” said the chaplain. “I think if I would have had something like this seminar before I was married, our marriage could have skipped some of the growing pains that you learn as you go along in a marriage.”

Allan said it’s important to look and see what people bring into their relationships.

“What do we bring into our relationships?” he asked. “We bring our past relationships into them and we bring our parents’ relationships and we bring what we learned as kids on TV and what we saw in our friends’ parents’ relationships. We bring all of that into our own relationships, so in order to understand those expectations, we need to learn about them.”

There are eight sessions throughout the workshop and each session runs about 30-45 minutes. The sessions are held over the course of two days from 1:30-4:30 p.m., and are held the second and fourth Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each month.

“I do care, and the reason that I do care is because I love people,” he said. “When you love people, you want to share how happiness can affect them. Happiness is really found in good relationships – if your relationship is strong at home with your Family, your children or your spouse, you bring that with you where ever you go – that positive energy.

“It’s a real thing, and with strong Families and strong relationships we do have better communities. We have better places where children can grow and thrive,” Allan said.

For more information or to sign up, call 255-3447 or 255-2989.

This article was originally published at

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