August is Romance Awareness Month, and while romance is portrayed a certain way in mainstream media, what it really comes down to is connection. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) offers a couples’ version of its Project Odyssey® mental health workshop that facilitates this connection through discussion of Gottman’s Sound Relationship House.
Learn more about WWP’s Project Odyssey®.
The seven parts to Gottman’s Sound Relationship House are to build love maps, share fondness and admiration, turn towards instead of away, find the positive perspective, manage conflict, make life dreams and aspirations come true, and create shared meaning. According to WWP Project Odyssey Director Ryan Kules, this discussion, in combination with the activities of the couples Project Odyssey, provides warriors with invaluable tools for their relationships.
“We introduce some things that folks may see when they’re doing traditional clinical support,” Ryan said. “The participants may decide to do marriage counseling and use these principles, so this is a cool thing to introduce to folks.”
Ryan further explained how the couples Project Odyssey allows warriors to put these principles into action.
“It’s not just classroom talk or dry stuff but using outdoor and adventure activities to put those principles into practice,” he said. “We’ll do high-anxiety activities to get folks out of their comfort zone and show them that they can still do things they thought they might not be able to, or that their significant other can support them in whatever goals they’re trying to achieve.”
After attending a Project Odyssey workshop, Army veterans Brian and Natalie Vines used the relationship tools in their marriage.
Brian said he noticed positive changes in his marriage during a WWP cooking class. “That [class] built upon the successes of the couples Odyssey as far as working on couple skills, but also it gave us an opportunity away from all of the distractions of the world for Natalie and I to be together and grow together.”
Jim Mylott, Army veteran, gave credit to Project Odyssey for helping to mend his marriage.
“Jana and I ended up separating and divorcing. And just as we were starting to like — trying to figure out getting back together, [wondering] can we do it — that’s when Wounded Warrior Project started the couples Odyssey,” he said. “So, we went on a couples Odyssey. We got some coping skills. And they set us up for counseling. And we still fight from time to time, but now the way we fight is different. Because a lot of times, you’re only listening to reply. You’re not listening to hear.”
Ryan Kules at WWP added that the activities at a Project Odyssey workshop help warrior couples establish new rituals and understandings within their relationships.
“We typically have folks go on a date night, which is something they might not have done in a while,” he said. “This can encourage couples to set a goal for when they get back home to have date nights on a weekly or monthly basis and rekindle some of the romance in their relationship.”
Ryan also explained that helping mend these relationships is a fulfilling part of Project Odyssey.
“We see as an outcome that couples are more satisfied in their relationships because of what they have learned,” he said. “Romance is not one size fits all, and folks find that they are impacted and have grown in their relationships.”
Contact: Erin Cinney — Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.832.5326
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.