An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Take the time to enjoy your marriage

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Eugene Taylor
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Superintendent
It's been more than eight months since my wife and I went out on a date. A recent deployment to Iraq, daily work crises and the school work and extracurricular activities between our five children constantly put fresh demands on our time. Like many couples, we spend so much time dealing with our daily stressors, fulfilling our roles as parents and community leaders,  we forget how to enjoy being ourselves.

That changed for us just over a month ago.

During the first weekend of September, I attended the 336th Training Support Squadron's Marriage Care Retreat hosted by Fairchild's chapel staff. I've probably been to five military sponsored marriage weekends over the years, in Germany, Turkey and here at Fairchild. Each time, we've come away relaxed, de-stressed and feeling better-able to handle whatever life happens to throw at us next.

This time, the Fairchild Air Force Base Chapel put 30 couples up for free in the beautiful Coeur D'Alene Spa and Resort for a weekend. They even paid for our meals!

The resort is in downtown Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on the shores of Lake Coeur D'Alene, with everything from nature trails, to airplane and boat rides, to shopping and dining opportunities within a short walk of your hotel room.

Previous retreats we've been on had extensive seminar classes, but the chapel limited their seminars to Friday evening and Saturday morning. That gave us plenty of "couple" time on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning with instructions to "go out on a date."

That time alone, away from work, my children and everyday life, was worth more to me than any amount of money. My wife and I saw a movie together (we poked fun at a lousy romantic drama), did some casual shopping (where we played in an old-time toy store and bought mementos for our children) and talked pleasantly without interruption through a long, quiet dinner.

In general, we acted like kids, and loved every second of being together. It was more than a vacation -- it was a chance for us to reconnect, make some new memories and focus on ourselves as a couple.

I spoke with three other retreat couples at the retreat. Each of them told me the best part of the weekend was being alone together, enjoying each other's company and escaping the day-to-day worries of military married life.

Now, more than a month later, I can still look at my wife and remember that feeling -- it reminds me of not only how we support each other through life's trials and tribulations, but why. I recall how my wife and I felt carefree and in love. It's that feeling that gets me through my hardest days.

Retreats like this one reinforce the importance the Air Force places on resiliency. As a matter of fact, the chapel is one of the base's core "Helping Agencies" where their focus is our well-being. It's important to maintain not only your physical fitness, but your mental, spiritual and social fitness levels as well. Spend time with your families, especially your significant others -- they're the ones who get you through the rough situations life throws our way.

So, the next time an e-mail comes across your desk, asking you to sign up for a marriage retreat, I'd recommend going. People who are either deploying or recently returned from deployment have priority. If you have kids, you'll have to find your own child care, but there are usually enough vacancies to make room for everyone who's interested in attending.

I think you'll be glad you did. I certainly am.