The Lifegiver Blog

Communicating Through Crisis

by Mariangela Gordon Communication in marriage is imperative. Marriage is one of the most valuable relationships, yet we tend to let if fall by the wayside. Communication during a crisis…during a transition… to reach a decision…  to help resolve a

You Can’t Stay on the Back Burner Indefinitely

In Season 5 Episode 4 of the Lifegiver podcast, Corie unpacked the results of the 2019 Blue Star Military Family Survey. She also discussed an all-too-common mentality that many service families live with: Mission first. My place is on the back burner.

Keep the SPARK in Your Service Marriage

It’s a new year! This is the perfect time to take your 2020 calendar and add 12 items that will help you keep your marriage full of life. If your spouse is deployed or has travel dates, you may have

What are we becoming?

Where is your attention most of the day?  What concerns, thoughts, worries, and fears consume you most of the day?  And where do you take them? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  In the last year, I got

A Review & Perspective on LIFEGIVER Interview with Sarah Drew

By Dinah A. Dziolek, LMHC, LPC Corie Weather’s interview with Sarah Drew was very authentic. It really connected the issue of pain and suffering, grief with service life. Sarah was vulnerable about her own grief with leaving one phase of


As the wife of an active duty chaplain and a licensed professional counselor, I work with military and first responder couples. Every single day, I see men and women who struggle with what we call the “invisible wounds of war.”

How to Stop Begging in Your Military Marriage

The deepest hurts of marriage are often deeper than the current circumstances. Instead, it is the fear that perhaps we are so different there is no hope. Personality differences that once attracted you to each other now drive a wedge.

Raising Gen Z Military Kids

There is a moment in parenting where you realize that you no longer have the advantage and you now know absolutely nothing. For me, it was the moment I was schooled by my kids on the new word for “cool”,

It’s Time for You to Be a Military Spouse Mentor. Here’s Why.

The truth is that many of us have been in receive mode for far too long. For the past five years I’ve watched the military tradition of mentoring fade or be attacked as unnecessary. Our most senior spouses have told

How to Handle the Holiday Traditions Problem in Your Military Family

A few weeks ago, a seasoned military spouse well into retirement asked a question that threw me: “What traditions have you and your husband created for your family?” It was a simple question to which I gave a simple answer. For Christmas


I put on my old watch today.  My normal routine is to wake up, drink a cup of coffee, or three, and then when I can’t put it off any longer, take my digital watch off its charger and start

What I Learned From Winning Military Spouse of the Year

What happens when you take a woman who serves in the shadows, who is terrified of success and who is flawed like everyone else, and thrust her into the spotlight? I have tried many times to communicate what I have

Remember These 5 Things Next Time You Fight With Your Spouse (as seen on Military.com)

It might sound crazy, but conflict in your marriage can be a healthy sign. Two people who see the world in very different ways are never going to agree on everything. Too often, couples let marriage fighting spin wildly out

Try Some Extra Kindness in Your Marriage (As seen on Military.com)

During a particularly difficult week, I scrolled through Facebook and paused on a post reporting that a local Starbucks gave out customers’ orders for free with no explanation. Baristas answered inquiries with merely “Have a wonderful day.” Even though I

Stellar Spouse: As seen on Military.com

I already knew I had a stellar soldier for a husband- but right then I kinda hated it.  Perhaps you have one too.  The kind of spouse that strives to be his best at everything and sets his sights on

Sin in a Christian Marriage

“How do I confront my spouse’s negative behavior?” “What does it look like to be a godly wife when my husband has stopped caring?” “Is God is okay with me ending my marriage?” “How do I continue to love and serve

Who Is Really the Problem Here? The Reintegration Battle (Military.com)

When I came home from my extended business trip, it was clear: My husband and our boys had together adopted a new world and language. My trip was longer than most I’ve done recently, and my husband had held down

Tips for a Happy Military Marriage (Military.com)

What if we make marriage a lot harder than it needs to be? What if I told you there are a few tips for a happy marriage you can follow to easily bring intimacy and closeness back to your relationship?

How to Be Your Own Marriage Superhero (Military.com)

When I pretended o be Wonder Woman as a kid, I focused on her superpowers, trying to mimic flying through the air and dodging bullets. But as an adult, I realized I could not truly be a fan without looking

Military Marriage: When to Separate (Military.com)

How do you know when to separate from your spouse or when to call it quits? In almost every scenario, I tell a couple to fight for their relationship. Too often, I see couples give up. It’s one of the reasons I

So You’ve Hit a Marriage Setback: 3 Steps (Military.com)

We all have hope for a marriage that lasts and is fulfilling. What we often don’t expect is how hard it will be when we disagree with our spouse on important values, military marriage problems or finding ourselves moving at

How to Be a Wonder Woman in Your Military Marriage (Military.com)

It was a silly thing to fight over, especially since it was an argument about fitting as much joy as possible into a Florida Disney family vacation. I, led by my “mom-guilt,” argued that our boys had wanted to go

Sex and Military Marriage: It’s Complicated (Military.com)

Let’s talk about sex. One of the most beautiful ways we love our spouses is through sexuality. It’s also one of the most emotionally complicated. Popular culture portrays it as simple, spontaneous and very uncomplicated, but I assure you most

3 Military Parenting Secrets for Raising Teenagers (Military.com)

My own awkward and painful memories of middle school flooded my mind. I had watched my son, only 12 years old and now in seventh grade, enter gracefully into a mostly civilian school mid-semester with dreams of performing in the

3 Huge Lies of Military Parenting After Deployment (Military.com)

The parenting standoffs between my husband and me after deployment rival those that I’ve had with a two-year-old who didn’t want to put away his jacket, with a colossal impact on my marriage. Like my toddler refusing to give up

3 Ways to Change Your Military Marriage Story (Military.com)

When I look back on the years of my military marriage, I see it as a bookshelf lined with memories. The deployment years are a lot like survival stories. Reintegration seems like a classic drama. There are pages with hurt,

Real Military Love: This Is Going to Hurt (Military.com)

There are two sides. Neither listen. Both are determined they are right. No, I’m not talking about politics or the tone in our country. I’m talking about marriage and military love. (But perhaps what I’m about to say could help

The Power of the ‘Sacred Space’ in Military Marriage (Military.com)

The gap between my husband and me felt as wide as the Grand Canyon. Desperate to give it clarity, we called each life-changing moment that had over time created it a “sacred space.” Let’s be real. After my husband’s first

No More Footsie: When Military Marriage Is a Fight, Not a Love Fest (Military.com)

I recently watched as my cousin and his new fiancée constantly held each other, looked at each other, and played “footsie” under the table. The beginning years of a relationship are filled with face-to-face moments in which the rest of

When You Bring Desperation to the Christmas Party (Military.com)

Home. I usually don’t know what to do with that word. Just as I am trying to create a “home,” I seem to be leaving it. Military couples say “home” is not where I hang my pictures, and bumper stickers

Is This the Secret to Military Love that Lasts? (Military.com)

Wartime has been the guest in my home (and likely yours) that has long overstayed its welcome. Yet, as a military couple, we chose a lifestyle of service to our country that includes adding a seat at the table and

Healers of Soul Injury: A Clinician’s Call to Serving Military Families

My professor set me up for success in the clinical world when I was tasked read Unspeakable Truths and Happy Endings: Human Cruelty and the New Trauma Therapy, by Rebecca Coffey.  The purpose, was to prepare us as students to

An interview with Patty Barron, our Military Spouse Mom

Being a military family is tough.  There are not only significant challenges, but endless resources out there to help you.  How do you know who to go to?  Who is standing up for the needs we have?  Is anyone in

Who I Really Am

If you didn’t know, I love Wonder Woman.  As a child, I zipped up my leather boots, grabbed my nylon yellow rope my Dad had in the garage and lassoed trees in the yard.  Forcing them to tell me the

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want to get Help (As seen in Military Spouse Magazine)

One of the biggest challenges we can face as a military spouse is when our service member comes home different from deployment. Although thousands of service members return every year unscathed, even the most boring deployment causes a couple to

Village Parenting in the Military World (As seen in Military Spouse Magazine)

As a mother of two boys, moving three times in two years has been especially difficult.  I have worried that the military lifestyle will have a negative impact on their lives. Like many of you, I have held them as

The Power of Being Seen

Matt and I have been blessed to provide close to 35 marriage retreats since joining the Army through the Strong Bonds Program.  It is possibly our favorite thing to do.  To see families drive somewhere away from their everyday life

#PowerofMarriage (As seen in MSM- March)

Recommitting can never come too late or too often.  With Spring around the corner, it reminds us that life can come out of the harshest of seasons, even when you think there is no life left.  Seasons will come in

Intimate Influence (As Seen in Military Spouse Magazine)

By now, you hopefully know me well enough to trust me as I address a topic that many couples are afraid to talk about- SEX!  Although I can’t cover everything, I thought I would tackle the most common issues I

The Big Reveal: A Military Spouse Journey

Sacred Spaces and “Not Understanding” It was the day before the packers were coming.  I had spent every day for the last two weeks cleaning out drawers and rooms while the kids and my husband were out of the house.