Marriage Minute: Facts will serve you better than myths

Recently, The Washington Post invited the Gottman Institute to debunk five marriage myths. Much conventional marriage advice isn’t always true or helpful, but the facts that they discovered about relationships will serve you well.

1. Common interests keep you together. They won’t if you don’t interact in a positive way when engaging in common interests. (Remember, 5:1!)

2. Never go to bed angry. If you’re flooded and you need a break, sleeping on it isn’t a bad idea at all.

3. Couples therapy is for fixing a broken marriage. Couples therapy can help repair serious issues, but it’s more effective as preventative maintenance.

4. Affairs are the main cause of divorce. False. According to a study, 80 percent of divorced men and women cited growing apart as the reason for divorce.

5. Marriages benefit from a “relationship contract.” Instead of keeping score of who does what for whom, building a culture of appreciation in your marriage is a much better approach.

You can read more about each of these five myths here. We hope you find them helpful!

More articles about debunking relationship myths:
Debunking 5 Myths About Premarital Conflict
4 Marriage Myths That Cause Divorce
Debunking 12 Myths About Relationships

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 5 June 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Promotion of Mental Health – National Prevention Week: Day 6

keep_talking_about_mental_healthPrevention, early intervention, and mental health promotion can help assure the health of young children and adolescents, then assist them throughout their life. There are several core concepts behind the science of prevention and promotion:

  • Mental, emotional, and behavioral health refers to the overall psychological well-being of individuals and includes the presence of positive characteristics, such as resiliency.
  • Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders means supporting the healthy development of young people starting at birth.
  • Mental and physical health compliment each other. Young people who grow up in good physical health are likely to also have good mental health, while having good mental health contributes to good physical health.
  • Successful prevention and promotion involves many different groups and is involved throughout a variety of settings including families, schools, neighborhoods, and communities.

From childhood through late adulthood, there are certain times when we may need help addressing problems and issues that cause us emotional distress or make us feel overwhelmed despite how healthy we may think we are.

Military life, especially the stress of deployments or mobilizations, can
present challenges to service members and their families that are both unique
and difficult. Some are manageable, some are not. Many times we can successfully deal with them on our own. In some instances matters get worse and one problem can trigger other more serious issues. When you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced, trained professional to check things out and see what is really happening.

535324_10150798966353437_660913436_9592816_663798851_nSeeking help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Prevention and early intervention is key. Don’t wait until the issues snowball into a major event that affects your work and home life as well as your relationships.

Services available to the Ellsworth AFB community:
Mental Health Clinic 385-3656 (Active Duty Only)
Base Chaplains 385-1598 (Chaplains offer 100% confidentiality)
Tricare: Family members do not need referral for first 8 visits with a network provider (Find a Network Provider)
Military OneSource non-medical counseling services are available to provide help with short-term issues to those who are eligible. They offer the following service options: Face-to-Face Counseling, Telephonic Counseling, International Calling Options, Online Counseling.
24/7 National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Airman & Family Readiness Center


Worried About Your Security Clearance?

The Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, used to ask the applicant to acknowledge mental health care in the past seven years. It does not ask for treatment details if the care involved only marital, family, or grief counseling, not related to violence by the applicant, unless the treatment was court-ordered.

Officials said surveys have shown that troops feel if they answer “yes” to the question, they could jeopardize their security clearances, required for many occupations in the military.

Since April 18, 2008 applicants have not had to acknowledge care under the same conditions, nor if the care was related to service in a military combat zone. The revised wording has been distributed to the services and will be attached to the cover of the questionnaire. The revised question will not show up printed on the forms until the department depletes its pre-printed stock. Read the announcement that appeared on the Official Air Force website.


Learn more by downloading the Fact Sheet on Promotion of Mental Health in the U.S. [pdf].

Other Resources:

Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Day Event: 15 May

The Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Day held at Rapid City’s Main Street Square on Thursday, May 15, is a kick-off to National Prevention Week Activities held May 18-23, 2014.

This specific local awareness event features community leaders and community citizens sharing their personal stories of living with mental illness, suicidal thoughts, attempts, or losing someone to suicide, and having sought help from the local mental health providers in the our community.

Entertainment is provided by Sheltered Reality with free food provided. Mental health resources are available to all who attend.

Take a look at the event on the Main Street Square Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1423887551206635/

Father & Daughter Creatively Grieve Their Loss

Grief2Grief can be defined as an intense emotional state associate with the loss of someone or something with whom (or which) one has had a deep bond. It is not always associated with a death. You can go through the grieving process from a PCS, retirement or separation from a job, loss of property, ending of a relationship…the list can be endless.

It is important to note that everyone grieves in their own way and it is normal to grieve. There are five generally recognized stages of grief:

  1. Denial – Rejection or refusal to accept the truth (also known as shock).
  2. Anger – Physical expression of hostility directed toward others.
  3. Bargaining – An agreement between conscious mind and soul involving a negotiation for more time to live.
  4. Depression – Reactive grief over a specific loss and/or preparation for loss.
  5. Acceptance – An acceptance of existing conditions, a receptivity to things that can’t be changed

Recognizing that you are grieving something is sometimes harder for you to realize and then once you realize it, what do you do with your grief? Counseling can assist with recognizing and processing the loss. For Ben and Olivia, they were grieving the loss of a wife, mother, and moving from their home. The following story was shared on the NBC’s Today Show, and the Bored Panda website.Grief

“Ben Nunery and his young daughter Olivia have published a gripping and beautiful series of images in which they bid farewell to their home and to their wife and mother Ali, who died of cancer in 2011 at 31 years of age.”

“Ben and Ali were married in 2009. Because they had just purchased their new home, they decided to take their wedding photos in the home that was to be their future. After Ali passed just 2 ½ years later, however, Ben and Olivia had to move into a new home together. To say goodbye, Ali’s sister Melanie Tracy Pace joined them for one more photoshoot in the home where Ben and Ali had their wedding day photos and where they had lived together. The resulting images, some of which even shadow the original wedding-day photos, are a touching and beautiful farewell to Ali and to their old home.”

Check out the photos on the Bored Panda website (http://www.boredpanda.com/father-daughter-recreate-wedding-pictures-ben-nunery-melanie-tracy-pace/) , along with some more specific information about Ben, Olivia and Ali’s story.

Promotion of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Well-Being

Mental, emotional, and behavioral health refers to the overall psychological well-being of individuals and includes the presence of positive characteristics, such as the ability to manage stress, demonstrate flexibility under changing conditions, and bounce back from adverse situations.

From childhood through late adulthood, there are certain times when we may need help addressing problems and issues that cause us emotional distress or make us feel med-1044-depressionoverwhelmed despite how healthy we may think we are.

Military life, especially the stress of deployments or mobilizations, can
present challenges to service members and their families that are both unique
and difficult. Some are manageable, some are not. Many times we can successfully deal with them on our own. In some instances matters get worse and one problem can trigger other more serious issues. When you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced, trained professional to check things out and see what is really happening.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Prevention and early intervention is key. Don’t wait until the issues snowball into a major event that affects your work and home life as well as your relationships.

Services available to the Ellsworth AFB community:
Mental Health Clinic 385-3656 (Active Duty Only)
Base Chaplains 385-1598 (Chaplains offer 100% confidentiality)
Military & Family Life Counselors
Tricare: Family members do not need referral for first 8 visits with a network provider (Find a Network Provider)
Military OneSource non-medical counseling services are available to provide help with short-term issues to those who are eligible. They offer the following service options: Face-to-Face Counseling, Telephonic Counseling, International Calling Options, Online Counseling.
24/7 National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
– Airman & Family Readiness Center


Worried About Your Security Clearance?

The Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, used to ask the applicant to acknowledge mental health care in the past seven years. It does not ask for treatment details if the care involved only marital, family, or grief counseling, not related to violence by the applicant, unless the treatment was court-ordered.

Officials said surveys have shown that troops feel if they answer “yes” to the question, they could jeopardize their security clearances, required for many occupations in the military.

Since April 18, 2008 applicants have not had to acknowledge care under the same conditions, nor if the care was related to service in a military combat zone. The revised wording has been distributed to the services and will be attached to the cover of the questionnaire. The revised question will not show up printed on the forms until the department depletes its pre-printed stock. Read the announcement from the Official Air Force website.


Learn how you can help promote mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being in the U.S. by downloading the Fact Sheet from SAMHSA.

Other Resources:

Renewing Your Relationship After a Deployment

return_editWelcoming home our deployers becomes an exciting time for couples. In the days leading up to the reunion, you may have felt excited to see each other and ready to get things back to normal. Each person will have certain expectations often picturing the “perfect” reunion. So while the joy and excitement of the event exists, the reunion also brings challenges. Being flexible and keeping your expectations realistic can assist in renewing your relationship after a deployment.

Whether this is your first deployment or fifth, you both have changed. Each of you has had new experiences during the separation and worrying that the couple grew apart is common. It is also normal to redefine your role in the relationship as well as worrying about unresolved issues from the past.

In order to address some of these changes, let’s focus on what helps strengthen a relationship:

  • Trust – Showing confidence in each other helps the relationship stay on track
  • Respect – It’s important to respect your partner as an individual and treat each other as equals
  • Communication – Feeling free to share your goals and concerns makes it easier to talk out disagreements
  • Teamwork – sharing responsibilities and setting goals together helps build the relationship

012413-Unmarried-Couple-600It is important to remember that no relationship is perfect. Unresolved issues can make the reunion and reintegration difficult if you don’t have trust, respect, communication, and teamwork.

As I mentioned before, you both have changed during the deployment. Airmen have had different experiences that often come from going overseas. Most likely you have worked long hard hours at a tempo that is not seen at work during time at home. Sometimes this can be hard to dial back and slow down. For the partner who stayed home, the Airman may seem withdrawn at times. Don’t take this personally; they may need some time to reflect on the deployment experience and reintegrate to home.

This is not to say that things at home have not been hectic. Your partner at home often has had to learn to do tasks that the Airman usually did. They have developed new skills and have increased their confidence and competence making them more independent. Additionally, during your absence they may have developed new hobbies, interests, or friends to help fill the time during the deployment. As the Airman, allow your partner to continue doing the tasks that he or she has taken over until you both have a chance to discuss new roles around the house. Don’t criticize or judge the changes they have made; keep an open mind. Instead, give your partner some credit for taking it all on and becoming more independent. Don’t take this personally and assume they don’t need you anymore.

The reintegration process is a slow process. Take your time and ease back into your former routines. Here are some suggestions to do this:

  • Discuss your budget and any financial decisions that were made during the deployment.
  • Discuss household chores and how they were accomplished during the deployment.
  • Hold off on major changes. Often the deployed Airman will expect to take back all their tasks and roles that they held before leaving. Work together with your partner to help define responsibilities over time.
  • If you have kids, discuss the routines, discipline issues and changes that took place while you were separated. The kids have changed too!
  • Avoid criticizing and being defensive if you don’t agree with changes made while separated. The changes may have been necessary to make things work in your absence.
  • Put the “To-Do” list on hold. Take time getting into a new routine.
  • Show your appreciation for your partner that stayed home and keep things running smoothly and let your Airman know that they are still needed.

All of this does not work without communication. It is important to keep the communication going as you adjust to life back together. Make a point of checking in with each other every day.

Be a good listener. This is done by: making eye contact, not interrupting, not judging or criticizing, and focusing on what the other person is saying.

Pay attention to your body language. Your posture and expressions will often speak louder than your words.

When asking questions, use open ended questions like:” What was a typical day like during the deployment?” or ”What are you hoping to do now that I’m home?”

Keep in mind that all relationships have conflicts. If they are handled in a healthy way, even disagreements will help keep your relationship strong. Common sources of conflict include finances, responsibilities around the house, and parenting styles.

floorTo solve conflicts we suggest using the Speaker/Listener Technique to assist keeping issues from escalating and increasing understanding of each other’s points. Click the link above or picture to learn about this communication tool.

Take time to enjoy each other again. Allow the Airman time to settle in and get used to the routine before planning any dates. If you have kids, they will also need individual one-on-one time with the Airman to rebuild the bond again. If needed, give each other space and realize that there may be activities you enjoy doing on your own.

Be patient, it may take time to feel like a couple again after being separated. Sexual tension is common and can take a while for one or both of you to feel relaxed and comfortable being physically intimate again. While some people feel awkward talking about physical intimacy, you and your partner may need to be honest about your feelings with each other.

couples_counselOvertime, if things are not getting back to normal, you make need to seek assistance. There are many resources out there for you. Take a look on our Common Questions About Counseling page for details. You can also visit our marriage page for other tools to help your relationship, whether you are married or not.

You can keep your relationship strong, even after a long deployment. It will take time. Be sure to continue communicating effectively about your feelings and concerns and listen to each other. Finally, accept help. Take advantage of the resources the base offers or utilize the resources in the community.

DOD, VA Release Mobile App Targeting Post-traumatic Stress

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2012 – The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have released a free Apple and Android smartphone mobile application for use with post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.

The app is called PE Coach; PE stands for “prolonged exposure.”

Psychologists at the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology, known as T2, and the VA National Center for PTSD developed the mobile app to help patients with their therapy. Both departments use prolonged exposure therapy as an effective treatment for PTSD.

“PE Coach is a helpful tool that assists our service members and veterans who are…

Read the full article at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117339.