By Dave and Lucy Snyder
The Story: It was a windy but sunny day in January 1967 at Ft. Lee, Virginia. The Post Catholic Chapel was still decorated from the Christmas holidays, and members of our wedding party wore red velvet and dress blue. As we said our vows and became a Sacrament that beautiful day, we were both aware of the beginning of our new life as a married couple—what we didn’t realize was that we were also beginning a lifelong journey as a military married couple.
Through the years of traveling with the Army, separations and deployments, raising our family and now in retirement, our married journey has been an amazing adventure. Yes, we have had our ups and downs, good years and not-so-good years just like any ordinary couple, but we have been able to grow together right from the beginning because we had the wisdom and advice of our parents and “military” family.
We also had the great fortune to attend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) Weekend when we were married ten years. In addition to the personal and spiritual conversion we experienced, that weekend helped us to realize that we are not alone in our relationship, but are connected to all other Catholic married couples. Through our Weekend, we learned to rely on God more intentionally in our relationship, and He has been guiding and protecting us through every stage and all the years of our marriage.
We have been privileged to work with hundreds of couples and priests over the past forty years in marriage ministry, especially military couples and chaplains throughout the U.S. and overseas. The deep friendships we created in the early years of our military marriage, and then our ministry in WWME, have been the source of great encouragement and hope for us.
We’ve learned so many insights about marriage in the military and feel excited to share some of them with you. We also ask that you share with us your stories and strategies that have helped you to have a happy, healthy military marriage. Notice we didn’t say perfect marriage, since there is no such thing!
The Strategies: These first three tips are from parents (Lucy: I was an Army daughter) and are based on our belief that WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER.
Tip #1: Both your marriage and your service in the military are 24/7, but you are NOT in a competition—with each other or the military. You are in this together, you’re on the same team.
Tip#2: Laugh together every day—it helps to ease loneliness and reduce stress.
Tip#3: Discover a hobby or activity that you can do together. We learned to golf the first year we were married, and still enjoy playing together after all our fifty-one years!
The Scripture: Colossians 2:1-2, “…That their hearts may be encouraged as they are brought together in love.”
Dear Lord, we thank you for giving us each other to love for a lifetime. Help us to let go of any competition in our relationship and give us the strength to be teammates in our marriage. Amen.
Stories, Strategies and Scripture
…to create lifelong married love
This blog is written by military couples to share the wisdom, insights, experiences and faith that they have gained in their years of Catholic marriage. Comments welcome! Share your ideas and experiences with other military couples and help us support one another in the vocation of marriage!