"I am me," is a powerful, timeless declaration of self-esteem written by Virginia Satir more than 30 years ago.
"More than one Veteran has talked about having it all one day and then finding himself living on the streets, a car, storage unit, bus stop, train station or abandoned building the next, having lost everything," says Miguel Marquez, Outreach Specialist for Operation Sacred Trust.
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.
Dianna Nash was raised in a single-parent household. "Because of that lifestyle," she says, "I always wanted to be apart of a two-parent family." But as an adult, Ms. Nash says her relationships failed. "Because of my failures, I sought love in the wrong places and for the wrong reasons." Today, through Talk It Out Relationship Services in Roseville, California, Ms. Nash is helping couples and singles learn to build healthy, vibrant relationships by "talking it out."
As a chaplain at Naval Station Norfolk, the worlds largest Naval Station, Lt. Sharon Wheaton helps military families find the strength and skills needed to navigate stressful lives. Chaplain Wheaton completed PAIRS Professional Training at the Hampton VA Medical Center in September to bring evidence-based, relationship skills classes to the Sailors, Marines and Coasties she serves.
"Relationships are everything," says Charlotte Michie, a Cary, North Carolina marriage and family therapist. "If you have a good relationship with your spouse, you have it all even if you are sick and without money." Next month, with assistance from her husband of 34 years, Charlotte will begin offering evidence-based, skills building weekends to help couples learn to create and sustain happy, successful marriages.
"Marriage and Relationship Education builds a resiliency in a couple that means they are more able to face the inevitable crises that come their way," says Navy Chaplain Len Driskell, who serves more than 2,000 active duty and reserve Coast Guardsmen, their families, and the civilians who work alongside them as the Sector Charleston and Sector Jacksonville Chaplain.