Relationships are critical to overall wellness, whether you’re single, casually dating or married with children. The connections you have and even the way you feel about yourself can affect day-to-day life, work, readiness and resilience.
But everybody has relationship challenges at times. Military life in particular can be tough on couples and single service members alike. That’s why it’s important to reach out for help when you need it. And there is plenty of support available for the military community.
Review the Relationship Wellness Summit sessions below and get tools to strengthen your relationship with yourself, build critical relationship skills and rekindle bonds and connections with others. Make sure you share this information with others who might also benefit.
Review Relationship Wellness Summit videos
Whether you’re in a committed relationship, looking for that special someone, taking time to focus on yourself or hoping to improve the bond with your child, you’ll find helpful tools, information and resources in these Relationship Wellness Summit videos. You will also hear stories from members of the military community and receive tips and guidance from military couples, single service members and military parents.
Get started listening to the inspiring keynote and opening remarks from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Patricia “Patty” Montes Barron and Corrie Weathers, LPC. Then continue with sessions of interest listed in the sections below that best fit your current relationship status and needs.
Note: All sessions were previously recorded, so products mentioned during the sessions (such as the fulfillment kits) may not be available.
Day 1 Opening Session & Keynote: Breathing Life Into Your Relationships
Presenters: Patricia “Patty” Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense, Military Community and Family Policy; Corie Weathers, LPC NCC, military spouse and owner, lifegiver, LLC; Kelly Smith, LCSW, program analyst, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy
Reinvigorate your romantic and intimate relationships.
Whether you’re together or apart, feeling close or disconnected, take advantage of the tips and resources and learn from the honest dialogue discussed in the sessions below. You may be surprised by how easy it is to take your relationship to a new level!
Day 2 Opening Session: Candid Conversations Others Aren’t Having About Military Marriages
Presenters: Sharene Brown, Air Force spouse of General Charles Q. (CQ) Brown, Jr., the chief of staff of the Air Force; Angela Holmes, MFT, lead educator, Army Community Service, Fort Bragg; Bree Carroll, military marriage coach, 2020 Air Force Military Spouse of the Year, founder, Military Marriage Day; C. Eddy Mentzer, Air Force spouse and associate director for strategic initiatives, DOD, MC&FP; Chaplain Corwin Smith, director of staff, Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, MC&FP
Healthy Couples in the Age of Covid-19
Presenters: Deanna Laur, LMFT, training subject matter expert, Military and Family Life Counseling Program; Meghan Maggitti, LCPC, LMFT, VTC subject matter expert, Military and Family Life Counseling Program
Screen Time or Me Time? Navigating the Impact of Social Media on Romantic Relationships
Presenter: Julia Gwyn, LPC, military and family life counselor, Marine Corps Station Parris Island
Strength During Separations: Research-Informed Ways Military Couples Can Successfully Navigate Deployments and Other Time Apart
Presenter: April Thompson, LCSW, program analyst with MC&FP in the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy
Beyond the Stats: Self-Awareness in Your Relationship
Presenters: Amber Rodgers, LCSW, BCD, mental health flight commander, USAF, BSC; Jessica Allchin, LMSW, True North program manager, 99th ABW, Nellis Air Force Base
Healing Your Marriage: Recovery After Trust Is Broken
Presenter: Angela Holmes, MFT, lead educator, Army Community Service, Fort Bragg
Tools for Managing Stress and Worry
Presenters: Dr. Alisa Breetz, senior manager, clinical practice, Cohen Veterans Network; Dr. Stephanie Renno, senior director of training and clinical practice, Cohen Veterans Network
How to Build Healthy Relationships
Presenters: Cpt. Tracy Beegen, group clinical psychologist/behavioral health, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne); Rocky Beegen, U.S. Army, retired
Strengthen your relationship with your child.
Parents, your military children have incredible resilience, but they also face challenges of frequent relocation, deployments and more. Learn tools and resources you can use to help your family through the ins and outs of MilLife.
Put Me in the Game, Coach! – Positive Parenting
Presenter: Charles Pennington, Army veteran, life coach, Family Advocacy Program specialist, Army Community Service, Fort Bragg
Family Fun with Finances: Money Activities for All
Presenter: Beth Darius, AFC, program analyst, Financial Readiness, Office of DASD
Parenting and the Military: Where’s the Manual for This?
Presenters: Karen Storc, child and youth specialist, Air Force Child and Youth Programs; Karen Terry, Air Force, retired, program analyst, Office of Special Needs, OMFRP, MC&FP; Kelly Blasko, Ph.D., lead, mHealth Clinical Integration, Defense Health Agency; Melissa Haas, Child and Youth Programs specialist, Navy Headquarters Children and Youth; Melissa Kimball, Marine spouse, compliance specialist, Child and Youth Programs, headquarters, USMC
Building Skills: Healthy Power and Control
Presenter: Christine Heit, primary prevention, Marine and Family Programs Division
Parenting Our Social Media Explorers
Presenter: Will Meeks, Psy.D., lead, Counseling Center of Excellence, Leidos
Parenting in the Age of COVID: The Importance of Self-Care
Presenter: Elizabeth G. Hilsman, Psy.D, adjunct faculty clinical supervisor, Nova Southeastern University
Helping Infants and Toddlers Thrive Through Positive Parenting
Presenters: Alison Thompson, LCSW, HealthySteps specialist, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL; Pamela Urdang, LPC, HealthySteps specialist, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
Trust the Science: How a Strong Spiritual Core Can Protect Your Kids
Presenter: Dr. Gabriel Paoletti, ED, MAAP, senior mental fitness scientist, HJF, Consortium for Health and Military Performance
Find support and build relationship skills as a single service member.
Taking care of yourself and learning what’s important to you is critical throughout your military career. Get tips and ideas for practicing self-care, building positive relationships and finding satisfaction so you can live your best MilLife today and in the future.
Bring Your Best Self to Your Relationships: 3 Skills to Boost Social Fitness
Presenter: Lauren Messina, Ph.D., LCMFT, director of HPO education, HJF, The Consortium for Health and Military Performance
Single Service Member Breakout Session #6: Dating in the 21st Century
Presenter: Shadia Young, FAP specialist, Army Community Service, Fort Bragg
Single & Serving: An Honest Conversation With Single Service Members
Presenters: Airman 1st Class Trinity S. Watts, deputy vice president (Air Force), Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers; Charlene Sanchez, Army veteran, program analyst, Military Community Support Programs, MC&FP SSM; Cpl. Devon Douglas, ID-R BOSS representative, Fort Carson; Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth P. Wise, 92A, automated logistics specialist, Army Garrison Fort Stewart; Aysha Sweilem, Signals Support Systems specialist, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, president, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers
You Got This…and We Got You
Presenters: Laura Neely, Psy.D., program analyst, Military Community Support Programs, MC&FP; Michelle Aldana, program analyst, Military Community Support Programs, MC&FP
Year-round relationship support
Just like strength training and team building, developing strong relationship skills requires attention and actionable steps. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. The DOD, through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling program, provides free, non-medical counseling geared to military life. Check out these other resources to help you reach your relationship goals:
- Re the We. Find a range of resources to renew, rekindle and repair your relationship.
- Re the Me. Rebuild and renew your commitment to yourself after a breakup.
- Building Healthy Relationships. Sign up for flexible specialty consultations from Military OneSource by phone or video to help you deepen relationships with family, friends, your partner and others.
- Relationship Tips: Four Common Pitfalls and How to Tackle Them. View this five-part Relationship Real Talk video series featuring Dr. Kelly Blasko with the Defense Health Agency, and Kelly Smith, LCSW, from Military Community Support Programs. The series looks at four common conflict styles, how they get in the way of healthy communication and how you can keep them from damaging your relationship.
- The Phases of Relationship Breakups. Read this article and watch the video to learn what to expect after a breakup and how to take care of yourself as you heal.
Tap into a virtual community of support. Use the videos and other relationship resources to strengthen, improve or start a new relationship.