“I Am ME” profiles individuals and couples who are touching the lives of families and children in communities throughout the nation through Marriage Education. This week, Fatherhood Channel features Michelle Lynn, a PAIRS Instructor for marriage enrichment retreats for veterans sponsored by the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.
Marriage Education is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. “I Am ME” profiles individuals and couples teaching relationship and marriage education classes in their local communities.
“After my husband’s deployment in 1986, he returned a changed man. I couldn’t understand what had happened. Back then, we didn’t know about PTSD. It wasn’t until 2004 that we finally learned he was suffering from PTSD and Bipolar. We struggled all those years trying to hang on to our marriage. I searched and searched for anything that could help, but to no avail. For four years, we were actually divorced, although we stayed with each other. After we remarried in June 2009, we went to the PAIRS retreat sponsored by the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. PAIRS provided the best information we’d ever been given along with tools that really work. Today, we have the best relationship ever.”
Michelle Lynn has been married twice, both times to the same man, Ralph Lynn, with whom she’s shared her life for more than 30 years. Michelle and Ralph met in 1979 shortly after Ralph moved to Georgia from North Carolina. They dated for nearly three years before getting married in 1984. For 15 years, they were a military family, raising three sons and a daughter, who are all now married and raising their own families, including Michelle’s five grandchildren and another on the way. During her husband’s Army service, Michelle stayed home to care for her children while actively contributing to family support activities for Ralph’s battalion. From 1992 until 1998, she served as president and coordinator of the battalion’s family support group. She’s worked in the health care field since 2004 and was introduced to PAIRS last year when she and Ralph participated in a retreat sponsored by the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta. She went on to provide support for other veterans at several other retreats and recently completed training to be a PAIRS instructor.
1. What led you to teach relationship/marriage education?
What led me to want to teach relationship and marriage education is my own personal relationship, family and the passion to be able to help others to have a better relationship.
2. How are the challenges facing young couples today different?
The challenges of young couples today are different from those I faced because in today’s society everyone is busy trying to earn a living with the economy in the shape that it is in, a lot of couples lose sight on the very foundation that got them together in the first place. In today’s times it takes both partners working and earning a living to meet their budget, which adds extra stress to the relationship, having to balance their marriage, family, work and social life. In my era I was able to stay home with my family and even though it was hard at times we made it. Not at all like today. The good news is today there is the PAIRS program that gives information and tools for couples to get back what they once had.
3. How has being an instructor impacted your family?
It helps us to keep a strong value on what is most important and that would be our marriage. We are able to apply what we teach in our everyday lives, are closer, and communicate much better. Three of our children also use it and they all three have a better relationship than they have ever had before. It has also made me open my eyes on how important it is to keep a happy and healthy marriage; after all I once was the person that needed the help of the PAIRS program. Also at the retreats that we attend, I can see the positive impact that it has on every couple that comes there. To be able to see a couple come in and are not looking and touching each other, yet by the time they leave with the information and tools from PAIRS, they are laughing, kissing, holding hands, communicating and are able to be a couple again. It is very rewarding to see the transformation.
4. Some favorite hobbies you enjoy sharing with your family?
Some of my favorite hobbies that I share with my family are better ways to improve our family as a whole, family time as in having a day that we all get together and find a new recipe and we all have a great meal together. I also share with my family fishing and hunting.
5. Qualities you would like your family to most admire about you?
- Always Honest
- Passion for Helping Others
- Passion for Fighting for Love
Editor’s Note: If you’d like us to feature a Relationship and Marriage Educator in your community, please e-mail their name, contact information, and a brief statement about why you’d like to see them profiled on the FatherhoodChannel.com to email@example.com.