The Lifegiver Podcast for Military & First Responder Marriages
The Lifegiver Podcast for Service Marriages is hosted by Corie Weathers, a Clinical Military and First Responder Consultant. Corie started off her career as a licensed professional counselor serving families behind confidential doors. After a few years of working with service families, she found common themes that she wanted to address on a much bigger scale. The Lifegiver Podcast was launched as a way to start a much broader conversation. Each episode tackles a topic or interview that relates to the military and/or first responder lifestyle as well as marriage enrichment.
“The only thing consistent is inconsistency”. My husband and I coined this phrase 7 years ago when he left patrol for a full-time swat position. It has now become our family motto. It never ceases to amaze me how unsettling this lifestyle can be. Just when I think I’ve figured it out, just when I think I have all of the tools and all of the motivation…I find myself maxed out and stretched well beyond my limits. Like most supporting spouses, I love the good ole’ illusion of control. Structure makes me feel safe. Predictability helps me keep all of my bases covered. If you’re familiar with the Gallup StrengthsFinder, Consistency is number 34 of 35 on my list. To explain that bluntly, I’m terrible at being consistent…in anything. In my daily life, I have found two things that help me circumvent my lack of consistency: Personal accountability, and Routine (Not to be confused with a schedule). But what’s a girl to do when my number one personal accountability partner is absent and his service-filled lifestyle bombs my best effort to establish a routine?! Answer: scream and beat the tar out of a punching bag, cry, throw up and then watch Sleepless in Seattle all at 3 am. In all seriousness, I can tell you that when I am at my worst and overloaded with the waves of sabotage this lifestyle hurls at me,I quickly reach for change as an answer. “If only we could just quit.” “If only we could have a normal life.” My perspective focuses inward and my expectations become unrealistic. What exactly am I wanting? If I’m honest…I’m longing for a life free of suffering, pain, and hardship. I want things to be easy…I want them to be the way I dreamed they would be when I was a little girl fantasizing about home and life and marriage. When things get hard, I want solutions. I grasp at ways to control and when I can’t seem to find them, I turn to self-pity and resentment. But what if I choose a different lens? Life doesn’t turn out the way we dreamed or even the way we think it should go. But what if that’s okay? What if we stop trying to get rid of the things that disappoint us and instead hold them alongside moments of joy? What if I told you that your marriage could get better BECAUSE of the hardship the job brings? It is in the darkness of life that our senses can sharpen. We can learn to listen more closely, love more deeply, laugh more heartily. It is because of the hardships we can grow into something beautiful. So what can I control? I can control my emotions, my actions, and my words. Controlling my emotions doesn’t mean not feeling them. It actually means I need to be aware of them. Controlling my words doesn’t mean I don’t speak up. It means I need to figure out ways to communicate clearly, and kindly what is true. Controlling my actions doesn’t mean putting all my wants and desires on the back burner. It means making wise choices with my time and recognizing the season of life I’m in. Growth never comes without pain. Sometimes forging a new path or creating better habits involves the exposing and tearing down of old ones. Sometimes, to gain deeper intimacy, we must confront hard truths. Rather than seek to anesthetize the discomfort, let’s seek to hold it, sharpen the senses in our marriages and be better for it. ….and still punch a punching bag every now and then.
Are blogs dead? That’s the question we’ve been asking at Lifegiver recently. And honestly, I don’t know. More than that, I’m not sure I’m the best one to answer that question. You see, I am a lover of all things old. Antique furniture, pioneer ways, run-down farm homes…if it’s old and decaying I love it. Lately, I have found myself feeling so nostalgic. From longing for my old hip hugger flares, to missing 90’s wispy big barrel bangs, my heart aches for the past. I’m sure in some way or another, after these last two years, yours does too. I remember the good ol’ days, before social media really took off, I would sit and read mommy blogs while nursing babies in the middle night. I laughed. I cried. I felt seen and known in the midst of postpartum depression and spit-up sweatpants. But somewhere in the spinning, rushing world of technology and progress those blogs faded away. In their place came to the point, how to’s. Quick, concise, consumption. Sure it was nice for a while, and those type of blogs still have their place, but what happened to conversation? What happened to contemplation? Am I the only one tired of the echo chambers and quick fixes? Tired of everyone vying to give me as a consumer want I want versus what I need? Years ago, I was at the end of my rope with first responder life. It was 2016 and I remember googling “how to be a first responder wife”. You know what came up? Two things. The first, a to the point, three-step approach to packing lunches and getting sweat smells out of duty vests and the other, a very much drama-filled lament of a wife pining for the sound of Velcro in the middle of night so she could rest easy knowing her officer was home. My first thought was “I can’t live like that” and so I trudged forward into the unknown of this life determined to not let it destroy everything around me. When I look back and think of that woman, the one waiting for the Velcro, I can see past her lament now. Though her words were thick with theatrics, what she was really trying to communicate was that she just wanted to be seen. She, like myself and many others who have lived this life, was desperate for anyone to see how hard this life can be. How not normal it is and how very lonely and isolating it can all be. Does anyone know what it’s like to “hope” you make it to retirement with your serving spouse? Does anyone see how often I am alone, the sole bearer of consistency for our children? Does anyone feel that even if we physically make it to the end of this career… who in the world will we be? We may escape physical harm, but what the heck is this all doing to us psychologically and physiologically?? And mostly, does anyone know how to make a duty vest not smell of sweat?! First responder life is not for the faint of heart. Especially now. And even if blogging is dead, we as a community are behind the times anyway. For too long we have done this life alone, with little resource and little acknowledgment. We have been unseen. My hope is that Lifegiver can breathe life back into the blogosphere, Breathe life into the marriages of those who for too long have felt unseen and alone. My hope is to bring contemplation and conversation to this lifestyle and offer more than any quick fix consumption could ever give. Let’s not forsake the old and broken things, let’s breathe life back into them.
The USO is launching a new virtual series with Corie and Matt Weathers on how military families can stay strong while apart. Corie and Matt Weathers will share how they are keeping their military marriage strong through a season apart – as well as tips for how you can do the same. Tools and concepts discussed during the series apply to all types of military-initiated separations; from deployments and trainings, to geo-bachelor tours, unaccompanied tours, and even third shift schedules. Intimacy is a HUGE topic, especially for service couples. In this episode, Matt and I address sexual intimacy and many of the other types of intimacy couples can use to connect. Believe it or not, experts say there is between 5 and 40 different types of intimacy. We take some of the most popular questions surrounding intimacy, especially for couples who have to spend time apart. Don’t miss this one! To access the Series dashboard, including the videos and handouts: https://www.uso.org/campaign/mvp-youre-leaving-again Part 1: Part 2:
The USO is launching a new virtual series with Corie and Matt Weathers on how military families can stay strong while apart. Corie and Matt Weathers will share how they are keeping their military marriage strong through a season apart – as well as tips for how you can do the same. Tools and concepts discussed during the series apply to all types of military-initiated separations; from deployments and trainings, to geo-bachelor tours, unaccompanied tours, and even third shift schedules. This episode answers some of your biggest questions about parenting- especially while apart. Regardless of which stage you are in, there will always be times where you parent out of an imprinting from your own childhood or clash with your spouse on parenting techniques. Listen in as we share some of what we have learned. To access the Series dashboard, including the videos and handouts: https://www.uso.org/campaign/mvp-youre-leaving-again Part 1: Part 2:
The USO is launching a new virtual series with Corie and Matt Weathers on how military families can stay strong while apart. Corie and Matt Weathers will share how they are keeping their military marriage strong through a season apart – as well as tips for how you can do the same. Tools and concepts discussed during the series apply to all types of military-initiated separations; from deployments and trainings, to geo-bachelor tours, unaccompanied tours, and even third shift schedules. This episode covers how you as a couple can stay connected and on the same page during especially difficult Holidays, whether it is Christmas, Birthdays, or even an Anniversary. Listen as Matt and I authentically share how we are doing and what tools we re using to stay connected. To access the Series dashboard, including the videos and handouts: https://www.uso.org/campaign/mvp-youre-leaving-again Part 1 Part 2:
The USO is launching a new virtual series with Corie and Matt Weathers on how military families can stay strong while apart. Corie and Matt Weathers will share how they are keeping their military marriage strong through a season apart – as well as tips for how you can do the same. Tools and concepts discussed during the series apply to all types of military-initiated separations; from deployments and trainings, to geo-bachelor tours, unaccompanied tours, and even third shift schedules. This episode talks about the feelings that come with having to say goodbye. Everyone knows it is hard, but what if you feel a little bit of relief? Is that wrong? How do you set your sights forward and get on mission? Plus a special guest joins in the discussion… To access the Series dashboard, including the videos and handouts: https://www.uso.org/campaign/mvp-youre-leaving-again Part 1: Part 2:
The USO is launching a new virtual series with Corie and Matt Weathers on how military families can stay strong while apart. Corie and Matt Weathers will share how they are keeping their military marriage strong through a season apart – as well as tips for how you can do the same. Tools and concepts discussed during the series apply to all types of military-initiated separations; from deployments and trainings, to geo-bachelor tours, unaccompanied tours, and even third shift schedules. This episode is about “The Tension Before You Go”- So many couples struggle with tension and emotions all over the place before you rip the bandaid to spent that time apart. Matt and Corie cover what they went through and what many other couples describe as one of the most challenging times a couple can go through in the military. To access the Series dashboard, including the videos and handouts: https://www.uso.org/campaign/mvp-youre-leaving-again Part 1: Part 2:
My favorite stories are ones of redemption and restoration. Every one of us experiences some level of pain… some level of suffering. As a clinician, it is always an honor to step into someone else’s story and walk with them from darkness into light. Healing, though I have found, is only when we evolve to a place where we can bring purpose from pain by serving someone else. That… is when we see that God can indeed bring good out of all things. “Healing, though I have found, is only when we evolve to a place where we can bring purpose from pain by serving someone else.” So… introducing Lifegiver Stories. A place where you can read and listen to real stories of other people who have seen light come out of darkness. You will not find perfection here. In fact you will hear some level of healing still to be found because perfect healing is something we will not see this side of heaven. But I guarantee, you will hear a little bit of your own story in their’s, practical steps that may help you turn a corner, and hope that light can shine out of the darkness. Would you like to submit your own Lifegiver Story? Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as you think and I will walk you through some tips on how to get it ready. Click here to get started. *I reserve the right to not publish stories that are not in line with the values of Corie Weathers, LLC and the Lifegiver Podcast. All content published is owned by Corie Weathers, LLC to be shared and used to encourage others.
In response to the growing number of “listeners” rather than “watchers”, Lifegiver returns to its audio version. In this series, I return from a recent sabbatical to talk with you about how often times, “good things” can be just as distracting as “bad things”. In a service culture, we are often tempted to help, serve, volunteer, or do “more”. What if too much of that is pulling you away from your best potential?
In this episode, I talk about the similarities and differences found between military and first responder communities and why we need to find ways to better support each other. <iframe title=’More Alike Than Different’ src=’https://www.podbean.com/media/player/2nqcg-97de6f?from=yiiadmin&download=1&version=1′ data-link=’https://www.podbean.com/media/player/2nqcg-97de6f?from=yiiadmin&download=1&version=1′ height=’122′ width=’100%’ style=’border: none;’ scrolling=’no’ data-name=’pb-iframe-player’ ></iframe>
In this interview, Jonathan and Kylie share their experience as a law enforcement couple. Jonathan is part of the Dallas Fort Worth Police Department and shares his experience navigating the chaotic schedules and adrenaline spiked work days. Kylie shares how they have navigated keeping their relationship connected and the similarities they see with the military world.
Part 1: Every marriage will deal with sin- that is a fact. But when there are destructive patterns like betrayal, addiction, and selfish behavior, what does it actually mean to love like Christ? How do you selflessly serve when firm boundaries need to happen in your relationship? Matt joins me for a 2 part episode on understanding scripture on marriage roles, submission, and dealing with sin. Part 2: Last time on the Lifegiver Podcast, Matt and I started a conversation about Christian marriage. In response to my message in Sacred Spaces that we should be pursuing our spouse, I commonly get emails that sound like this… “How long should I pursue my spouse when they aren’t reciprocating?” “What if my service member came home different and neglects me and our family?” “How long must I lead before my husband picks up his role as the spiritual leader of our home? These are tough questions and the root issue here is… “How do we address sin in a christian marriage?” -Here is some of what you can expect in Part 2: -Matt and I continue our discussion on gender roles in a godly marriage -We share some of our own story of how we addressed unmet expectations in our marriage -Matt talks to service members who have come home different and need hope.
Part 1:Wisdom with Deanie Dempsey In this sweet, but candid, interview- Deanie Dempsey shares how she and her husband kept their marriage strong after over 30 years in military service. Her husband, General Martin Dempsey was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff- overseeing the Joint Chiefs of all branches and reporting to the president. Part 2: Wisdom with Suzie Schwartz Known in the military world as Mama Suzie, Suzie Schwartz has rightfully earned her spot as a mentor for military spouses. Her husband Norton was the Joint Chief of Staff for the Air Force and together they inspired thousands. In this candid and inspirational interview, Suzie shares her wisdom on geo-baching, marriage during a 39 year service to the military, and how she uses her message of kindness to change the world.
After presenting “The Hero’s Journey” at the The Military Spouse of the Year Town Hall in Washington, DC, many remarked that it was very helpful to their journey and wanted it available to share. Every one of us is capable of becoming our own hero as we invest in lives around us- hopefully seeing the hero in them as well.
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 a different pace. I haven’t met anyone who married thinking, “Gee, I don’t plan on making this last.” Setbacks can happen when we are least expecting it. An injury while training for a physical goal or a career put on hold for a relocation can be incredibly disappointing and discouraging. You may even be tempted to quit. Most couples have at least one area of their relationship that they are hoping to improve or fix. Parenting, finances and even sex can lead to heated disagreements and (hopefully) deciding together on ways to get on the same page and work together. Life’s interruptions or an impulsive decision by one of you can make it feel as if you will never reach that goal. In that moment or setback, quitting feels like a very real option. Sometimes, there are very minor consequences to military marriage problems or a setback that only require a deep breath, a good night’s sleep, and starting again tomorrow. But destructive choices such as too much video gaming or pornography use by one spouse can cause even bigger consequences, including feeling like this is a major rift in your ability to be a couple. For some, the marriage is already on thin ice if you are working through serious issues such as overcoming infidelity or addiction. Destructive scenarios like these involve a more detailed process of change and support to gain traction. You may feel like the setbacks will never stop, and you will never be able to move forward. No matter what you are dealing with as a couple, whether it’s small or large, setbacks are more likely than not to happen as you work toward a new pattern of behavior for both of you. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. With a few tools in your pocket, you can move through them. Instead of giving up, try these three steps. 1. Hit a pause button. Learning to develop self-control and hit a pause button when things get complicated is a great practice in general. Self-control gives you the opportunity to think through what is happening, feel any feelings that are naturally there and gain perspective. Relocations and deployments are a natural interruption in the military lifestyle when everything feels out of order. Basic needs such as food, shelter and safety all take priority, and you might feel distracted from the intense focus you had as a couple. For example, if you were dependent before your move on a counselor or group for support, it will take some time to find that again. Try not to rush yourself or your spouse through what you were working through when these bumps come along. Instead, agree on a healthy timeframe to reconnect with support or resume the plan when you are both ready. Having grace for each other and getting on the same page are more important than aggressively working on the goal. If you find your spouse is not as motivated as you are, invest your energy toward your part by reading an extra book on the subject or taking a deeper look through journaling. The important thing here is that you process how you are feeling about what happened and avoid doing your spouse’s work. 2. Check your progress. The actual definition of a “setback” involves a “check in progress.” Most of us see it as a failure, but it is actually an opportunity to think through the progress you are making — or not making. In addiction recovery, we teach that relapse is not necessary for recovery but can be “part of the process” if it happens. Setbacks can provide an opportunity to take a look at the deeper issues that caused it so you can avoid similar mistakes in the future. If you move too quickly, you will miss huge revelations of yourself, your spouse and your relationship. If you are dealing with a bigger issue such as rebuilding trust, a professional counselor can help you find these answers and build greater empathy for each other. Keep in mind that stressful times such as deployment, reintegration, relocations or trauma can trigger setbacks or relapses, making them more likely to occur. If this is an intense time for your family, be graceful if the setback happened by learning more about each other and doing a good check on whether the path you were on is working. If you know you are going into an intense season, discuss ways to be proactive to prevent one. 3. Move forward. If your spouse caused your setback, it can be incredibly discouraging to think about moving forward. How many setbacks are too many before you should give up? If you are struggling with this question, finding a counselor to talk to will help you determine what is right for your family. If you caused a setback, the shame is equally debilitating. Even when you don’t feel like it, take the next healthy step forward. In recovery, there is a phrase — “fake it till you make it.” It doesn’t mean you should be inauthentic. It means you decide to take the next step even when you don’t feel like it. Eventually, your motivation will come back. Shame (in you or your spouse) spirals into an unproductive place and is not the same thing as processing the present disappointment. Sometimes, the next step is a willingness to physically reach out and hold your spouse’s hand again. Embrace that mistakes in our own lives and our spouses are part of being human. One of my favorite phrases is “start simply, but simply start” and is likely to get you going again. Every couple has military marriage problems and issues to work through, which means setbacks are going to happen. Who will you be when it happens to you?
Parenting with Small Kids Marriage can often feel like a partnership more than a marriage during the years of raising kids. So many families talk about missing the intimacy they used to have and life feeling more like survival. Sure enough, it can feel like you are more shoulder-to-shoulder during this season. In this episode, we talk about how you can make more face-to-face time with your spouse as well as find ways to be more protective of it during the parenting years. We will talk about how to handle conflict, plan dates, as well as navigate the struggle of different parenting styles. A must-listen for military and first responder couples who often feel like ships passing in the night. Here is what others have said: 1. Always make an effort to treat each other as we would a guest in our home. Common courtesy and everyday kindness makes all the difference in the world. A simple “Can I get you anything” or “Can I help with that” have kept our marriage first. 2. Staying positive is really important and although it can be challenging at times I have found it always helps us get back to that sweet spot we long for. 3. Taking even ten minutes to talk to each other. It could be at 0500 or 2200….but either way, just spend some time not on an electronic device (provided they are not thousands of miles away at the time) and asking the other person about their day. We attend Bible studies and church functions where we can grow spiritually while the kids are doing the same. As the kids get older, the minutes will be easier to turn into hours. But for the very small and precious time the kids are little, my best advice is to make the most quality out of the little bits of time. Bullying: It’s Not Just Kids Anymore Bullying is a worldwide epidemic that impacts both children and adults. In today’s culture, we see cyber-bullying impacting adults like never before. Divisive conversations over social media, trolling, and mean-ness is causing people to think twice about staying connected online. During this episode in the parenting series, I sit down with Dr. Bina Patel an expert in workplace dynamics, conflict mediation with women, and conflict mediation between culture/religious groups. Dr. Patel offers strategies you can use in your workplace, volunteer circles and with your kids on how to confront bullies and build confidence. In today’s culture, ♣ 30% of teens in the US have experienced bullying ♣ School bullying: 1 in 4 kids at school have been bullied; 160K kids in the US miss school due to bullying ♣ Gay bullying: 2 to 3times more likely to commit suicide and 30% of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis in the US. ♣ 9 out of 10 LGBT students have reported being bullied at school within the past year. It’s not just for kids, though. Bullying between adults can make the workplace difficult to walk into each day. While many of us grew up being told to ignore a bully, Dr. Patel offers some ways to confront the bully immediately. Dr. Patel offers us an inspiring way to help our children build their self-esteem, find their words, get to the root of their feelings, and become assertive. Of course we all need a little bit of this too! Here are a few tips and resources that Dr. Patel offered: ♣ Confront the bully: don’t ignore it. Turn the negative into a compliment ♣ Love and respect: be confident and love yourself. If you respect yourself, the negativity and harsh words of the bullying will bounce off of you. – you control your own emotions, if you believe that you do, others will not be able to hurt you. ♣ Tell them to stop: point out they’re hurting you (assertive communication) – use the “put yourself in my shoes” technique. ♣ Silence: specific to online bullying- confront them through assertive communication, but do not continue the dialog. This is more harmful to the victim as others are reading it and it is set in writing. Note: if nothing else works, the silent treatment is the best treatment. As the victim, walk away from the bullying. ♣ Online bullying: block posts, delete the posts, report them to Facebook; reach out to the victim either via separate/private message, or stand up for the victim by responding to a bully’s post (assertive communication). Note to Parents: Know your child – know their behaviors, moods, and what makes them tick/happy. If you are cognizant of their behaviors on a normal basis, you will know that something is wrong if your child does not eat, becomes withdrawn, looks sad, etc. Monitor the social media outlets that your child may be using. It is wise to create an account to monitor them, more so that you are aware if someone is bullying them. Be a friend! When your child is depressed, sad, withdrawn, etc, talk them as though you are friends. It is important so that the child feels comfortable they can tell you what is on their mind. One of the books recommended: Confessions of a Former Bully Parenting Teens with Pam Brummett On this episode of Lifegiver, I sit down with my good friend Pam Brummett who has raised three fantastic kids, two of them still in high school. It turns out the military doesn’t ruin your kids 🙂 Win-Win Parenting In this final episode in the Parenting series we are talking about how to apply Steven Covey’s Win-Win habit of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families to parenting. Trying to get your kids to do chores can be a chore itself often leaving you feeling you are on the losing end. As kids get older, they start wanting to find ways of being on the winning end as well. Win-Win can help you both feel successful while your kids are motivate by their freedom to choose what they do. I also take some time to talk about how teens develop and how you can better understand what is motivating your teen to find his or her peer group or apply themselves to their school work.
Lifegiver is BACK with an all new episode! Welcome to 2017! I’ve returned from a sabbatical and have been thinking a lot about compassion fatigue and burnout. No doubt that I have seen this in my own life, but what if it is a bigger problem than we realize in our community? If you are burned out from volunteering or giving all of your compassion away to the outside world- you are not alone. In this episode, we will talk about how to know if you are struggling with compassion fatigue and ways you can get yourself back on track and healthy again. It is a big problem, especially if you have nothing left to offer your marriage or family. Military and First Responders have the most difficult time saying “NO” when their entire world revolves around service.
Dr. Mike Sytsma is one of the most respected Christian Sex Therapists in the US. Based out of Atlanta, his office, Building Intimate Marriages, sees mostly couples who feel sexually “incompatible” or are post-affair. Most of his post-affair couples continue on to find new hope in their marriage. In this candid interview (FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY), I ask Dr. Sytsma all the questions I believe we are often most afraid to ask, especially as it relates to military specific issues that interfere with a healthy sex life. We discuss what couples can do during and after deployments, how to protect your marriage from affairs, and what you can do to start healing if your marriage is broken because of one. You can find all of the resources Dr. Mike mentioned in the link provided. Special thank you to In-Dependent.org for allowing me to host the Military Spouse Wellness Summit 2016 where I interviewed Dr. Mike and allowing me to post this extended version of that interview here.
Who would have ever thought that we needed help with making friends? In the military, we have to make them quickly. In the first responder world, they are necessary to get through daily chaos. In both worlds, they are crucial to survival but did you know that we need to be working on this area of our life? According to Shasta Nelson, author of Frientimacy, we can’t just tell someone our life story and suddenly be BFF’s. In this episode, Shasta will explain the process of friendship and the importance of understanding just how deep and intimate the relationship actually is. What if you are more serious about the friendship than they are? What if you are incompatible? Can we be friends with the opposite sex?