I have never been a romantic comedy movie kind of girl. Why do these movies always seem to end at the start? They also like to fit the same plot; man meets woman, they like each other, fall in love, have a big fight, get back together and (maybe) marry, cue credits here... Is that all? Why end at the beginning? The stories are formed and based on the getting together but misses the most important trial, staying together.
I don’t believe many marriages are like those you see highlighted in the movies. Especially military marriages.
Marriage involves hard work, something that many might not think about in the beginning. The easy part is making it to that altar; being married is the real work. If you go into a marriage thinking that it will always be happiness and love, you may be a bit surprised down the road. Expect to work harder than you have ever before in your life.
“Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day.” -Barbara De Angelis
How are you working in your marriage?
Throughout the years in marriage we can become stubborn and settle into our comfortable ways of handling disagreements, we might even hate admitting when we are wrong. This hurts our marriages and surely can strain them along the road. What about separations and transitional periods throughout our military life journey? Military marriages can go through so much strain.
It’s a work-in-progress, a marriage in motion and while you don’t see anything wrong with your marriage, why would you wait until something goes wrong? Wouldn’t you want to have the tools and strategies for a better marriage?
I know it could be difficult to schedule time outside long work days, kid’s schedules and perhaps duty days, you may even live away from family and childcare could be an issue. Military marriages do tend to come with higher demands, putting your marriage first to re-connect with your spouse should be high priority.
The secret to help…
Marriage retreats can help partners to focus on relationship-building skills to thrive within the military lifestyle, as well as helping couples in crisis, offering general tips for effective communication, managing money, and renewing your marriage commitment.
While we can’t just wish for an easy marriage, marriage retreats can arm you with the strength and strategies to both continue working and supporting each other. We could all use a little courage and wisdom to make it through the trials we are given.
Whether you and your spouse are looking for a weekend getaway to strengthen your marriage or are going through a rough patch, these retreats are offered to all military couples. Be sure to do your research and find the one that could help you and your specific situation.
Here are 6 military marriage retreats worth looking into:
Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO) is designed for service members and their spouses who are in the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard. This program focuses on enhancing and improving your relationships. CREDO is open to only active duty service members and their families, and is free.
Strong Bonds couple weekend retreat is offered by Army chaplains and is designed to strengthen relationships, inspire hope, and rekindle marriages. Strong Bonds is open to active duty Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and Air National Guard families. This program is free.
Coming Home Project offers marriage retreats free of charge near the San Francisco Bay Area. Travel and lodging scholarships may be available if you live outside that area.
Operation Oasis offers free retreats to couples if a service member has returned from a deployment within the past 12 months. The retreat is open to all active, Guard and Reserve military members.
Project New Hope is open to ALL combat veterans pre and post 9/11. Three day retreats are free and include meals.
Project Sanctuary focuses on strengthening marital and family bonds after deployment. This five night retreat is open for you and your spouse, as well as families. There is an application process in which they serve on a first-come-first-served basis.
When the kids are out of the house and retirement settles in, what will you have in your marriage if you didn't take the time when it mattered most to work your hardest?
Have you ever attended a marriage retreat? How did it help your relationship? Share with us in the comments below.
About the blogger: Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
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