For years, Ralph Lynn, a former Marine sniper in Iraq, suffered from undiagnosed PTSD. “My own relationship with my wife suffered to the point of divorce. After I got help, I am happy to say I am re-married to my best friend.” Ralph and his wife Michelle today help other Veterans through marriage and relationship education retreats offered by the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.
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Marriage and Relationship Education (ME) is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. “I Am ME” profiles people teaching evidence-based relationship, fatherhood and marriage education classes in their local communities.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
~ Joshua 1:9
Ralph Lynn was once a Marine sniper in Iraq. For years, he suffered from undiagnosed PTSD. Today, he proudly reports, “with the proper medication and diligence, I am living a healthy life.”
“When we went to that first [PAIRS] retreat, I had PTSD so bad I couldn’t even sit with everybody,” Ralph remembers.
“I had to sit in the back of the room, against the wall, so I could see everybody. [Ralph’s wife] Michelle sat back there with me. She was the only one I could trust. I didn’t trust anybody else.”
He said that experience “forever changed the way I communicate in my daily encounters as well as the way I show affection towards my family. I am now the father and husband I believe I should be. I communicate better with everyone from family to friends and acquaintances.”
Ralph is today a certified PAIRS Instructor, working together with his wife Michelle and others from the team at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia to contribute to the lives of Veteran families.
What led you to want to teach relationship and marriage education?
PAIRS is a very powerful communication program which I am honored to be a part of. It is a way for this former soldier to help my brothers in arms who may need help in the area of their relationship with their partner.
What are some of the reasons you’ve found marriage and relationship education is particularly important for active-duty military, Guard, Reserve and/or Veterans?
The divorce and suicide rates among soldiers are at an all time high. It is my opinion and the opinion of couples who have completed the program that it is crucial for these soldiers to know they are not alone in their situation. The PAIRS program has and continues to help save relationships on a continuous basis. It is not therapy. It is soldiers helping soldiers through some of the toughest steps whether deployed or returning home. Help is a phone call away.
What inspires your passion for helping relationships?
My own relationship with my wife suffered to the point of divorce. After I got help [as a participant in PAIRS], I am happy to say I am re-married to my best friend from whom I was once divorced. I whole-heartedly believe in this program. That is why I became an instructor. My passion stems from my own personal relationship difficulties and the desire to be a part of a healthy relationship. If I can help one person or one couple cherish what they have together it is worth every effort I could put forth to keep families together.
What are some of the challenges you’ve found people are better equipped to overcome in their lives as a result of Marriage and Relationship Education?
Every relationship has a unique set of challenges. We give you an array of tools to use during stressful times as well as daily communication. We teach conflict resolution to daily communication skills to enrich the relationship and grow your relationship in a healthy and mutually nourishing way.
What’s a wish, hope and/or dream you’d like to share?
My wish is this program to go global. My hope is every soldier will be informed about this program. My dream is that all who need or want to come to this program be able to do so.
What three qualities would you like to be most admired for by your family and friends?
- Willingness to simply listen during a stressful time;
- Show empathy towards others;
- Only offer advice when asked to do so.
What else would you like people to know about you?
Though I may always stumble, I have the courage of a soldier to ask for any help I may need to better myself, my life, my marriage and my family.
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|Address:||1852 Sanford Road
Hull, GA 30646