Renewing Bonds: Family reconnects at 4th ASOG Marriage Retreat

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jared Lovett
  • 86 AW/PA

In the picturesque setting of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, amidst snow-capped mountain peaks and Bavarian countryside, a U.S Air Force first sergeant and his wife embarked on a journey to strengthen their marriage.

The couple attended a marriage retreat held by the 4th Air Support Operation Group at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort from Feb. 29-March 3, 2024.

Reflecting on the positive impact the previous retreat had on them, they returned with a shared commitment to deepen their bond.

"Last year's retreat was so incredible, we had to return," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Curtis Cain, 7th Combat Weather Squadron first sergeant. "We came to the retreat last year with uncertainty, not knowing what to anticipate, but the transformative experience fostered by the group made a profound impact on my marriage."

For the Cain family, the retreat provided opportunities for meaningful connection, both within their own family and other couples who attended. There was also time to spend with Capt. Rotimi Adedokun, 4th ASOG unit chaplain, who led the retreat. 

"The retreat was structured in a way that allowed us to really connect as a family," said Cain. "We had plenty of time to spend with each other and with the chaplain, learning ways to strengthen our relationships from his seminar."

The chaplain’s seminar was called “Reconnect.” There were four sessions of the seminar over the course of the retreat. 

"Our 'Reconnect' sessions were meticulously designed to guide couples through a journey of self-discovery and mutual understanding," said Adedokun. "Through interactive exercises and heartfelt discussions, we aimed to not only uncover hidden barriers but also provide practical tools for couples to navigate challenges and strengthen their bond. Our curriculum focused on fostering communication and empathy, empowering couples to cultivate lasting intimacy and resilience in their relationships."

A distinguishing feature of this year’s retreat aside from its focus on enhancing spousal relationships was nurturing parental bonds with their children. Cain emphasized how the retreat helped him to "sharpen the sword" of his marriage and further strengthen his connections with his children.

"The first retreat really helped improve communication between my wife and I, especially since English isn't her first language," said Cain. "Being in Garmisch, our favorite area in Germany, made it even more special."

The allure of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, combined with the intentional programming of the retreat, created an ideal environment for personal and relational growth. Cain was grateful for the retreat's curriculum, noting its blend of structured learning and valuable family time.

"You don't need to have any problems to go to the retreat," said Cain. "It enhances an already-strong marriage; It did for mine."

As the Cain family returns to their duties at U.S Army Garrison Wiesbaden, they carry with them a renewed sense of connection and purpose. 

Cain’s group commander emphasized the importance of such efforts.

"It's crucial to prioritize initiatives like the Marriage Retreat for our Airmen and their families," said Col. Jeffrey Mack, 4th ASOG commander. "Maintaining strong, healthy relationships at home is fundamental to the well-being of our Airmen and their ability to execute the mission effectively. When there's peace and stability in their personal lives, our Airmen can focus wholeheartedly on their duties, knowing that their families are supported and thriving. Investing in programs that strengthen family bonds not only enhances our airmen's resilience but also contributes to the overall success of our mission."

While the Cain family is only one of the couples who attended, their journey stands as a testament to the impact of morale events like these; a path leading to healthy personal lives and successfully accomplishing the mission.