AL TAQADDUM, Iraq --
Despite the many miles apart and months away from their spouses, service members and civilians took steps to strengthen their personal relationships.
The 5 Love Languages seminar, lead by Navy Lt. David S. Yang, a 37-year-old chaplain with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), is based on a book by the same title written by Dr. Gary Chapman. The seminar explains the five “languages” individuals use to express love, helping them translate for their partners.
“This is a great tool, just to be able to see the importance of communicating between (you) and (your) spouse, particularly knowing how you want to be loved,” said Yang, who is from Columbia, Md.
“Even though (couples) are apart from each other, the love can continue,” explained Yang.
The five love profiles discussed were words of affirmation, gift giving, acts of service, sharing quality time and physical touch.
Yang provided participants with a questionnaire to help them figure what love style they identify with. This was followed by discussions about each style to help participants learn more about their personal needs.
“Anybody should come, if not even for their spouse but to learn something about themselves,” said Capt. Catherine M. DeLeal, 27, assistant operations officer, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, 2nd Marine Air Wing, who is a native of Staten Island, N.Y.
“I figured I would be an ‘acts of service’ profile because that tends to be what I try to give,” she said.
For example, as a newlywed she expressed her love by brewing coffee for her husband every morning. Instead of considering the gesture as a show of love, her husband continuously threw out the coffee to prepare a stronger brew.
“I definitely have an appreciation of finding out what my husband responds to and the realization that what works for him may not work for me,” said DeLeal.
By learning what approach is more effective, participants can improve long distance interactions with their spouse.
“Our communication skills are just so much better,” attested Sgt. Scott M. Backhaus, fuels training noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Airfield Operations Company, MWSS-272. Backhaus, 22, from Springville, N.Y., came to a previous seminar and shared the information with his wife. “It was very informative because my wife has different needs.”
Most participants took a copy of the related guide and questionnaire to share the lessons discussed during the seminar with their significant others back home.
Yang explained he would like to see more service members return to take advantage of the next seminar before redeploying.
“I think a lot of the issues that we have in general deal with that whole separation anxiety and anything they can do to enrich a marriage is a good thing out here,” said 1st Lt. Meghan K. Harvey, 25, adjutant, MWSS-272, from Ripley, Ohio. “We only have a couple of months left (here), so in that time, if I can use something to help my marriage, I definitely will.”