WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic’s (CNRMA) Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO) team hosted a two-day Marriage Enrichment Retreat (MER) in Williamsburg, Virginia Feb 10-12.

Service members, assigned to various commands around the Mid-Atlantic Region, attended the retreat, which is aimed at providing education, reconnection and quality together-time to Navy couples looking to explore their marriage and connect with other Navy couples in the area.

Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Matthew Malloy, assigned to CNRMA’s CREDO staff, said he enjoys teaching at the retreats because he can see couples taking in new information that will help them in their relationship.

“I enjoy providing training and support on personality types and communication techniques and seeing the ‘lightbulb’ turn on for couples,” said Malloy. “It’s great because we are allowing a safe space for everyone in the room to see they are not alone, and we all feel these things.”

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Grimes, assigned to CNRMA,

attended the retreat with her husband, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Stachyra, assigned to Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, and said she has been looking forward to spending quality time with her husband who was deployed for nine months in 2022 and is about to deploy again in a few weeks.

“I think what helped us most was how the retreat unlocked a sense of understanding that we didn’t have before,” said Grimes. “Learning our love languages and personality types was really useful in making problem solving and communication plans moving forward. I learned how to appreciate the things my husband does for me, even if they don’t register in my mind the way they do in his.”

Instructional seminars, held at the retreat, are designed to strengthen marital relationships by teaching participants skills for improving communication skills and handling conflict constructively.

“I think the retreat helped teach us how to talk to each other,” said Grimes. “Even though we may be looking to solve the same problem, we can be looking at it from drastically different angles.”

Grimes said she would recommend the retreat to other couples looking for some useful tools for their relationship.

“If you can find the time to go, then go,” said Grimes. “This retreat is so much more than a free chance to get away from the kids for a weekend. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart though. You’re going to discover problems in your relationship that otherwise you may have never thought to fix, but they give you the tools to fix them too.”

CREDO offers multiple MERs each year and members from all branches of service are welcome to sign up. Attendance is free of charge which includes meals and lodging for the service member and their spouse. For more information about upcoming MER dates, visit CNRMA’s Facebook page or email cnrmacredo@gmail.com.

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