The Wellness Spotlight series highlights military spouses and their real-world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook Live series. Below is an excerpt of Corie’s feature.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
Thirteen years ago, my husband met a green beret at the gym, came home, and said he wanted to become a chaplain. Of course this was news to me and for almost two years I said no. I thought we had everything we needed as a civilian family, but what we didn’t have was a career in which he not only had a sense of purpose, but joy. What I could not have known was just how much joy I would have in this lifestyle myself. The military spouse journey is a marathon. You start off with adrenaline only to find there are slumps along the way. Everyone experiences pain and discouragement, but eventually you look up and realize there are people cheering you on and you are not alone. For me, the spouse journey has brought me to a place where I now know there is no other place I am called to be.
Are you a health or wellness expert?
I am a mental health counselor. I have served women out of prison, substance abuse, trauma, adolescents, and military marriages. In the last few years I have expanded to serving first responder families as well. So much of their life is similar to ours and they have even fewer resources than military, and without the community support. I love nothing more than being welcomed into other people’s journeys where I get to not only listen to their stories, but play some part in their healing.
What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?
Deployments are always on the list of lows. I was parenting two small boys during a difficult and tragic deployment while also serving as the care team coordinator. I have gray hair now because one of those sons decided to show his strong-willed side. I remember many times where I think I sat in the middle of my living room and wept, only to get up and do it all again. I’ve also had low moments when I burned myself out by taking on too much and being all things to all people. I have since learned to set limits on myself and healthy boundaries with others.
The longer you are a military spouse, the more of these you have. This doesn’t have to be discouraging. I now look back and realize that those moments stretched my character and made me who I am today. Tomorrow’s struggle will do the same.
Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey.
Of course, winning 2015 AFI Military Spouse of the Year was a huge moment. Not because I won the award, but because it was a such a public thank you. So many of us give every part of ourselves with no recognition or thank you. I vowed that day to extend that thank you to as many military spouses as possible. My other high was the opportunity to travel overseas with the Secretary of Defense and visit troops of four branches, Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. I traveled with the press and got to experience a glimpse of what deployment is like. It was a game changer for my marriage to finally see what my husband had been talking about and trying to get me to understand. I hope to bring that message to more marriages through my book Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage.
I am 41 now and I absolutely love it. I am healthier than I have ever been — in perspective, overall health, and confidence. I give myself so much more grace now than I used to and my priorities are more in line. My current goal is to continue to refine my priorities, narrow my yes-es to opportunities that truly utilize my gifts, and encourage more marriages.
How do you avoid burnout?
Take care of yourself first before trying to serve others. Neglecting your body and your soul will only cause you to make impulsive decisions aimed at pleasing the world when the world will never have its fill.
What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?
Be a part of someone else’s success. Too many people try to succeed by taking advantage of others. A rising tide lifts all ships. I always try to look for where I can pull someone up or share an opportunity. You never know, that person may be someone who later extends a hand to you.
WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
A journal! There are so many wonderful books, podcasts, and resources out there to improve your marriage. Beginning a journal allows you to process all of your thoughts privately. Rather than trying to talk everything out with your spouse, which can sometimes lead to conflic), try journaling first and you will be surprised how much more productive your communication and conversations will become.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud is my go-to recommendation. One of my favorite podcasts is Java with Julie on marriage and sexuality.
(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)
ABOUT corie weathers, lpc
Corie is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), is a sought-after speaker, consultant and author. Corie has focused her career for the last 15 years as a counselor specializing in marriage, divorce, women’s issues, PTSD, and substance abuse. In 2015, Corie was named the 2015 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year® where she advocated for mental health issues and served as a media correspondent writing online and print publications, consulting for command teams, and speaking to groups on issues like PTSD, grief, and marriage. She traveled to Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to visit troops and see deployment conditions.
Today, Corie continues to encourage others through her inspirational blog. She currently serves as an Ambassador for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation serving military and first responder families and volunteers.