Chapel strengthens social resilience through marriage-tune up, spark nights

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Nunez-Pellicer
  • 319th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

As the North Dakota winter continues through the early months of the year, it can be arduous and straining on relationships. It is important to deliberately build upon and maintain social resilience and connections with loved ones; the on base Chapel team offers two avenues at no cost to assist families to keep relationships strong.

The Chapel’s marriage tune-up class gets couples off base and into the local community to enjoy time together, a simple but important gesture. During the winter months, and even into spring, activities are limited and budgets are often strained due to increased heating, electricity and attire costs.

“It’s like an oil change or a quick maintenance for your marriage,” said Capt. Charles Gormley, Chaplain for the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. “It’s not necessarily a crisis intervention but it’s definitely preventative maintenance to help couples enjoy their time together and build connections to improve their day-to-day marriage.”

Even after the winter thaw, many relationships experience the peak of their strain in spring and early summer, following holidays such as Valentine’s Day, and through comparison to other couples they perceive as happier than they are.

“It’s really draining, you’re devoting a lot of time to your spouse and a lot of couples they just feel tired of that,” said Gormley. “Some people self-reflect and wonder why they aren’t as energetic or motivated as other couples which can get them into bad mindsets and moods.”

Families often carry work stress home and home stress to work, leading to feelings of being trapped in an endless loop of negativity. The goal of the marriage tune-up is to get back to relationship basics, reignite the proverbial ‘flame’ between partners and keep it burning through the cold, isolating winter months.

“It’s important to allow them to come together and learn together,” said 1st Lt. Fernando Monsalve, Chaplain for the 319th RW. “It’s also important to build a network, especially with deployments and things like that, it’s good for them to know they have other people they can relate with and go through that with.”

In addition to the marriage tune-up, the Chapel introduced Spark Night, a six-week initiative with a faith-based focus to strengthen relationships between families, friends and the larger community.

“Families come together and connect through sharing a meal and fellowship,” said Gormley. “It’s more spiritually based and focuses mostly on families uniting.”

Spark Nights take place every Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Sunflower Chapel until April 9, 2024, and the marriage tune-up event will occur on a quarterly basis, with dates to be announced in the future.

“People can come to us anytime, any day, whenever they feel they need us” said Monsalve. “Our purpose and goal is to help and grow bonds in not only couples and marriages but in families and the whole community -- a military family.”

For more information, or to sign up for the next marriage tune-up, contact the Chapel at 701-747-5673.