Couples learn to be scream free in marriage

By Jessica Healey | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | August 04, 2014

What is a ScreamFree Marriage?

According to Hal Runkel, founder, ScreamFree Institute, a ScreamFree Marriage is about learning to fight fair without screaming, or acting out.

Military couples at Fort Riley discovered the meaning of having a ScreamFree Marriage during the first of a three-part series class July 10 at Child, Youth and School Services.

The course is taught every few months by Carlyn Tolliver-Lee, a family advocacy program specialist from Army Community Service.

“They always say that marriage is not for wimps, and I think that’s what this class really teaches. It takes maturity to be in a life-long committed relationship,” Tolliver-Lee said.

The classes are not meant to focus on what’s wrong in a marriage or examine personal problems, she added.

They are meant to teach each couple how to identify their own part in the marriage and how to move forward.

The couples attending varied throughout walks of life and experiences.

One husband, married for more than eight years, said he found the material relevant and useful.

“I think this fits us pretty well; it gives us a baseline to continue to grow off of,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Butcher, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

“The class was recommended to us, and we wanted to continue to grow and learn how to get better with each other. It’s very informal and informative at the same time.”

One newlywed couple said they also found the class to be helpful.

“It was great; I liked how it was an open forum and everyone contributed,” said Sgt. Steven Jones, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div.

His wife, Brianna Jones, agreed.

“I didn’t know what to expect, really; but it was pretty good -- pretty open,” she said.

“Marriage is difficult, really difficult,” Runkel said in a video shown during class. “It’s supposed to be difficult, because it’s about growing up.”

The ScreamFree Institute has published books and classroom material on ScreamFree Marriage and ScreamFree Parenting.

Free child care is provided for the classes with advance registration.

Anyone who would like to attend or may have missed the first class and registration is welcome to sit in briefly.

“Anyone can come in for an audit, which means that they can come and sit in, observe and see if they would like to take it next time,” said Tolliver-Lee.

For more information about family and marriage classes offered, call ACS at 785-239-9435 or visit 

MORE ONLINE at  The ScremFree Institute online offers marriage and parenting tips from Hal Runkel, an interactive blog along with newsletter and email tip sign ups.