Married in the Military: 8 Key Questions Every Military Marriage Should Ask
By Michael and Myra Holmes
Making a marriage work is hard…and the challenges are exponentially compounded in military marriages. Frequent deployments, separation from your family support group, and the extreme pressures of military life can take a heavy toll on military couples creating anger, frustration, loneliness, anxiety, heartache, and fear.
After you say, “I do,” no one gives you a user’s manual to guide you through the treacherous minefields of marriage.
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No marriage is perfect; however, when you address these 8 questions, you will discover you have taken a huge step toward beginning the hard work to improve yourself, and to secure and transform your marriage. Remember the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” By simply focusing on changing your attitude you will begin the transformation process of becoming more intentional in your thoughts, words, and actions. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Before you can begin to address the issues of your relationship, you have to first conduct an honest self-inspection assessment. While your spouse may be acting differently, distantly, or defiantly, it is unhealthy to retaliate in-kind. Rather, take a 60-second pause to search your own heart with willingness to accept the hard, naked, ugly truth about how your actions and attitude have contributed to your relationship challenges.
Sit down facing each other, holding hands, and while looking into each other’s eyes have a Strategic Brainstorming Self-Inspection Assessment session and address each of the following questions:
1) What do I need to “Change” to become a better husband, wife, companion, man, woman, and friend? Instead of making a resolution to exercise more or watch less TV, conduct an introspective inventory of yourself. None of us are perfect and all of us need to grow. As Dr Gary Chapman, Author of the “Five Love Languages” says, “Marriages and relationships don’t stay the same; they either grow or they atrophy.”
2) What do I need to “Sacrifice or Give Up” to become a better husband, wife, companion, man, woman, and friend? We enter the world as selfish little creatures, who grow up to be selfish big creatures. When babies are hungry, need their diapers changed, or want to be held; they cry…and they will continue to cry because THEY WANT IT NOW! Making the shift from selfishness to selflessness is a deeply personal gift that can create an atmosphere to foster healing, forgiveness, and deeper communication.
3) What “Commitments” do I have to make to become a better husband, wife, companion, man, woman, and friend? Which commitment takes priority? Does commitment to your service take priority or commitment to your wife and family? The strain associated with the competing commitments of marriage and career can wreak havoc on a relationship. Military families find themselves caught-up in a never-ending battle of tug of war.
4) What should we “Start Doing” that perhaps we haven’t done yet? Identify specific behaviors, actions, and activities that will ignite (or reignite) passion, excitement, fun, and fulfillment in your marriage. Dare to be creative and challenge yourselves to think outside the box. Consider every aspect of your relationship (e.g., romance, lovemaking, date nights, intentional time together, sharing your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, concerns, and fears).
5) What should we “Stop Doing” that’s not contributing or is getting in the way of our happiness? Most marriage teams consider this to be a much-needed, long overdue exercise. It provides an excellent opportunity to trim fat, declutter, and eliminate those things that don’t yield any relationship value. You eliminate time sink holes by aggressively seeking out activities that suck up a lot of time. We like to call this “garbage time.” Things that qualify as garbage time may include: television, social media, video games, sports, Lifetime Movies, etc.,).
6) What should we “Continue to Do” that’s working and we need to ensure it continues? As you conduct your Strategic Brainstorming Self-Inspection Assessment, it’s important not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Therefore, successful marriages maintain a laser-like focus on the things they do that work and generate positive results in the relationship. Maintain a clear situational awareness of these value-added actions to ensure they don’t inadvertently drop off your radar screen.
7) What should we “Do More Of”? This is closely related to the previous item (What should we Continue to Do?). However, now you can use your list of those things you need to continue to do as a baseline, and review the list to see if there are any high-value items that provide high-impact results. These may include things that are easy to do…you do them routinely…and they are responsible for much of the love, peace, and joy you enjoy in your relationship.
8) What should we “Do Less Of”? As you build this list, you will target things that are value-added, but doing them more frequently doesn’t produce significant gains. Activities fitting into this category might include: going out to dinner (a nice “to do” occasionally, but you don’t have to do it
The late 1970s and early 1980s singer/songwriter Pat Benatar won a Grammy Award for the song, “Love is a Battlefield.” While it may be true that marriage sometimes seems like a battlefield, it does not mean that you should be fighting each other. Instead of fighting against each other, you should be fighting side-by- side to fortify, enhance, and enrich your relationship.
Regularly completing this Strategic Brainstorming Self-Inspection Assessment will help you to target and neutralize your relationship vulnerabilities, while further developing your strengths. This will generate an outcome that will transform your marriage, putting it on a path of continual renewal and improvement. Dr Johnny Parker, author of “Turn the Page,” says, “Marriage Success is Hard Work, It’s Heart Work, Do the Work Because It’s Worth It.”
Are you a couple facing challenges in your marriage? Schedule a FREE 30-Minute Consultation with Life M8Z today!
About the Authors: Michael and Myra Holmes are the founders of LifeM8Z (pronounced Life Mates) Life Coaching and Marriage/Relationship Mentors. LifeM8Z is especially focused on strengthening and saving military marriages by helping them to overcome the unique stresses of military life.
Michael and Myra are a unique husband and wife Life Coach and Marriage/Relationship mentor team who work together to ensure the perspectives of both clients are given equal time to be seen, felt, and heard. Together they have coached and mentored hundreds of couples over the past 20 years.
Michael and Myra Holmes are Certified Professional Life Coaches, Certified Better Marriages Leader Couple, Certified Prepare/Enrich Facilitators, and Co-Marriage Ministry Leaders at Six Mount Zion Baptist Temple in Hampton VA. Michael served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force before he retired in May 2006 in the rank of Colonel. Mike and Myra enjoy helping couples learn how to give and receive love.
More available at BlackandMarriedwithKids.com. Link to article https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/2017/11/married-in-the-military-8-key-questions-every-military-marriage-should-ask/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=married-in-the-military-8-key-questions-every-military-marriage-should-ask.