Laughing their way to better marriages now seems like mission possible for some soldiers at Fort Polk.


As part of an ongoing effort to serve soldiers and their families, the 94th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, conducted a marriage seminar in the Post Chapel here.
The 94th BSB Chaplain, Capt. Jeff Bernard, said the seminar helped improve soldiers' home lives and increase spouses' understanding of each other. Especially popular, he said, was the video, "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage," by Mark Gungor.
"Soldiers have been to numerous training events, Power Point slides and all sorts of things," he said. "Here, it is more involving than seeing a feature film, because not only are they enjoying themselves, but you can watch people look at each other and say, 'Oh, that's me' or 'That's you' or 'Oh, I never knew that,' so it's very involving as well as very entertaining."
Soldiers and spouses usually remember one or two things from the presentation that will benefit them, facilitating happier, more-productive soldiers, Bernard added.
David Wittenberg and his wife, Spc. Kathleen Wittenberg, attended the seminar, and both considered it beneficial.
"He (Mark Gungor) is down to earth. He puts everything on the table, and he uses a sense of humor," David Wittenberg said. "He doesn't whitewash anything. It's all real, and I like that. I just like the fact that it is extremely beneficial for the minds, the male and female minds."
Spc. Wittenberg said she liked the way Gungor approached uncomfortable subjects in a manner that didn't make people feel uncomfortable because he addresses everyone as a whole. She advises soldiers and their spouses to attend marriage seminars and retreats if they have the opportunity.
"I would definitely tell them, after being married for 12 years, that you always run into bumps in the road, and a marriage seminar helps you take a step back and realize where you have the bumps," she said. "It gives you a little different perspective (about) how to deal with things."
First Lt. Stacey Rodgers and Jessica Rodgers have been married almost two years, and they came away with different perspectives than they had before.
"This is great," 1st Lt. Rogers said. "We will try to come to every one that we can. I really like this. It's been good."
Jessica Rodgers said she learned it is okay to have faults in a marriage and for spouses to be different.  She also said that she thinks a marriage seminar is something single soldiers and couples considering marriage should attend.
Pfc. Amanda Ray of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 88th BSB, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, attended the seminar with her husband, Spc. Joseph Ray, 94th BSB, and she agrees with Rodgers about not having to be married to benefit from such a seminar.
"It is also a great thing not just for those couples who are already married, it is a good thing for those who are thinking about getting married," Pfc. Ray said. "So, you kind of have to include fiancés."
Spc. Ray said the positive nature of the seminar made it a good event for him. "It focuses on the good things of marriage instead of trying to identify problems," he said. "I think happy people make better decisions in problem solving."
"It has been a real eye-opening experience," Pfc. Ray added. "Like my husband said, everybody normally focuses on the problems ... but this seminar is focusing on the good things and how to help keep the passion and love alive inside of your marriage."