Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Military Marriages’ Category

marriage dance

You can ask anyone about marriage and the answer will almost always be the same.  I want a good, strong, happy marriage.  No one stands at the altar and says, “I’ll give you the best five years of my life.”

Polls and surveys share the same information on marriage.  The vast majority of people desire happy, lasting marriages, whether rich or poor, male or female, and regardless of cultural background.

The big secret about marriage is that it works.  Yes, I said it, marriage works.  While out-of-wedlock birth rates are high and divorce rates are higher, marriage works.  Look at the last thirty years of research; married couples are happier, live longer, and build greater financial security.  Children with married parents perform better in school, have better physical health, have lower rates of suicide, and experience fewer cases of child abuse.  Click here for new research on “Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from Social Science.”

Deep down, everyone wishes they could have a rewarding lifelong commitment with their spouse.  But in the midst of challenges, we forget how marriage can benefit our personal lives.  We are losing our determination and the skills to keep marriages healthy and strong.

February 7-14, 2013 is National Marriage Week.  This time is set aside to focus on the institution of marriage and strengthen it at a national level.  This is a collaborative effort that encourages groups to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture.  The website offers several marriage resources, event guides, reading lists, and videos on how to build a satisfying marriage.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, let us focus on the skills that can strengthen our relationships and keep our marriages intact.  Here are a couple of goals or reminders for a healthy marriage:

  • make time for each other (fun, friendship, romance)
  • work as a team (instead of me vs. you)
  • talk without fighting

Remember why you fell in love and think how hard you worked to maintain your romance.  After marriage, we normally encounter a period of time when couples spend less time on their relationship due to kids, careers, and other factors.  Take time to reconnect, go on a date, and rekindle the romance in your marriage.  Use National Marriage Week as a way to strengthen your marriage and focus on the one you love.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Military Hands

Every marriage is precious in the sight of God.  It is an institution that began in Eden and continues with us as a gift from our Creator.  We often forget that marriage was meant to be a blessing for humanity.  When Jesus was asked about divorce in Matthew 19, he pointed back to the creation story in Genesis. Perhaps the people needed a lesson on the original intent of matrimony.  Here Jesus reminds the crowd that the marriage of a man and woman was meant to be permanent, a bond of eternal love and devotion.  It is a lesson that we still need today.

No marriage is easy.  They all take work.  They all require sacrifice and commitment.  Military marriages require all the above plus an extra dose of patience, a heap of faithfulness, a double batch of kindness, and a strong shot of self-control.

This week served as a reminder that military marriages are especially difficult.  A recent investigation by the Associated Press showed that 30 percent of military commanders who were fired since 2005 lost their jobs because of sexually related offenses.  The list includes sexual harassment, adultery, and improper relationships.  These 78 commanders lost more than their rank.  They lost more than their position on a military post.  They lost their families.

We all have distractions in our marriage, but military couples truly have an extra burden.  They endure deployments, reuniting as a couple and a family once the deployment is finished, frequent separations for training missions, plus a litany of long days and late nights for regular work to get done.  It is tough to make a marriage like this succeed.

When I completed the chaplain officer basic course at Fort Jackson, drill instructors had the highest divorce rate on post.  Soldiers with this job had an 85% divorce rate.  That number shocked me back then and it still does today.  When you get past the initial surprise, the percentage made sense.  These drill sergeants arrive at work before 5 am, wake up the recruits, train hard all day, get home around 7 or 8 pm, and repeat this kind of schedule until graduation day.  Where is the time for your spouse?  When can you enjoy your family?  With schedules like this, who would be surprised with such a high divorce rate?

Don’t focus on the headlines.  Don’t focus on the gloom and doom.  Military marriages can and do work.  Part of the solution is making time for each other.  Stay current with your spouse.  Attorneys, doctors, social workers, and yes, even chaplains, are required to get a set number of continuing education hours each year.  This is encouraged to keep professionals current on the latest ways of helping those they serve.  We should show the same devotion to stay current in our marriages.  Don’t allow your relationship to wither on the vine.

Remember the gift that God has given you.  Your marriage is meant to be a blessing.  Also remember how God intends us to use the gift of marriage.  May Christ continue to strengthen your eternal bond of love and devotion.

Read Full Post »

If you are looking for a cause that needs your prayer and support in 2013, look no further than the American Soldier.

Even though the surge ended this year, there are 68,000 service members who are still fighting in Afghanistan.  While the headlines talk about budget cuts, college football games, and Hollywood celebrities, their stories are often untold and forgotten.

These are America’s warriors who have left their homes and families to defend our nation.  These are the college students who cancelled classes when their nation called.  These are the fathers and mothers who missed a child’s first steps at home.  These are the veterans who have dodged bullets and bombs to stay alive.

Remember them in 2013.  Remember those who are fighting and sacrificing for you.  Remember military spouses.  Remember military families.  Remember them in your prayers and your efforts.    Remember the 68,000.

Read Full Post »

Last weekend was great.  It was Sunday morning and the conference room was full of military couples.  People were smiling.  Husbands and wives were holding hands.  Others just kept their arms around each other.  I could tell that folks did their “homework” and made time to reconnect.  The dynamics of the room had changed.  There were no folded arms or frowns like the day before.  The room was full of happy people.  These marriages were stronger, satisfied, and renewed.

As a co-leader, it is great to see couples learn new skills and rekindle their romance.  The big “homework” assignment for Saturday night is to take your spouse on a date.  Both must agree on the details and craft a plan for the night together.  Additionally, every couple needs to treat their spouse like a friend, have fun, reconnect, and spend time listening to one another.  Why couldn’t every homework assignment be this good?

No matter if you attend a marriage retreat or a marriage enrichment seminar like this, we all need the reminder.  Instructors and attendees must hear the message alike.  Relationships are important.  Our marriages need to be nurtured and strengthened.  Take time for each other.  When our marriages were young and new, we never spent time apart.  Now, it is difficult to find a quiet evening to talk.  Make time for each other.  Remember why you fell in love.  Dates don’t have to be expensive, they just need to happen.

Read Full Post »

It is tough being single, especially in the military.  You want to find the right person and be happy in a relationship.  Nobody wants to have their heart broken or even worse, marry the wrong person.

There are two common problems with dating today.  First, too many people do not know what to look for when dating.  They go out on the dating scene with no expectations.  This is a matter of education and learning what to look for in your next relationship.  Second, people minimize problems when they are dating.  People focus on matters of the heart, fixing a person, or accept bad behavior when they should instead hit the eject button to avoid a serious crash and burn.

Army chaplains frequently offer a program for single soldiers called, “How To Avoid Falling for a Jerk(ette).”  This program is also known as PICK, premarital interpersonal choices and knowledge.  While that title sounds complicated, PICK allows soldiers to build healthy relationships and follow your heart without losing your mind!

It is designed to provide singles and singles-again of all ages with a plan for pacing a relationship and exploring the key areas that foreshadow what that partner will be like in marriage.  This way you have a roadmap and mile markers to guide you in your next relationship.

No one should settle for a jerk or a jerkette.  Learn what to look for and know when to run for the exit sign.  You deserve a safe, happy, and healthy relationship.

Check out the Love Thinks website at www.lovethinks.com and the Army Strong Bonds website at www.strongbonds.org.  You can find additional information on building healthy relationships and also learn where future seminars will be held in your state.

Read Full Post »

Found a great article on the struggles of marriage that will speak to every military couple.  She does a great job of sharing practical tips and reinforces the fact that being a Christian does not exempt you from marital problems.

Hats off to Elisabeth K. Corcoran for the excellent advice.  Enjoy the article.

In a Difficult Marriage? | Kyria.

Read Full Post »

Chaplains are pretty busy during Annual Training season in the National Guard.  Tuesday I gave another suicide prevention class.  It’s a requirement that Soldiers get the presentation at least once a year.  The training focuses on the magnitude of the problem, how common issues can drive anyone to the point of despair, and that everyone can watch out for your battle buddy.

While many try to pin the Army suicide issue on multiple deployments, the majority of issues that drive people to suicide are common issues:  failed relationships, financial difficulty, and legal woes.  These are typical factors that we see in the civilian population, at schools, in factories, and even in the church.  PTSD is a factor in military suicide, but it is not the top issue that Time magazine or other media outlets want you to believe.

The fundamental issue to remember is that everyone can save a life.  You probably survived a breakup, be it in high school, college, or at work.  You probably understand what it is like to bounce a check or have a tough time making your paycheck last the entire month.  We are all in the same boat.  We all have the life experience necessary to help people at risk of suicide.

Remember and apply ACE: Ask, Care, Escort.

If you believe that someone is at risk of suicide, ask him/her about the problem.  Find out what is going on in the person’s life.  Directly ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.  Care by listening to the issue.  Find out what is causing the pain and suffering.  Why is the Soldier upset?  Finally, escort the Soldier to a resource.  That can be a chaplain, a medic, a counselor, an NCO, a friend, or a family member.

Don’t leave the person alone.  Make sure that he or she gets help.  It is okay to call a suicide hotline or wake up a supervisor, just don’t ignore the warning signs.

You don’t have to be a mental health counselor to apply ACE.  You don’t have to be an expert.  But you can practice these basic steps in suicide first aid.  Do your part to reduce suicide and help your friends.

If you need immediate assistance these suicide hot lines are always available:

Military One Source – 1.877.995.5247 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1.800.273.TALK (8255).

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: