Double deployments, double challenges
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You helped a military couple overcome . . .
Their marriage was a battlefield. Now Spencer and Margaret* volunteer with the Military Ministry of Cru® to help other couples.
Marriage can be especially challenging when both parents are active duty. Spencer and Margaret can tell you firsthand. Spencer serves in the Air Force. Margaret is with the Air National Guard. While raising their two daughters, they would often take turns deploying. Because of the high operation tempo for security forces, they were frequently separated.
“In the first eight years of our marriage, we were split up for half of it,” said Margaret.
With only short times together and sometimes as much as a year in-between, the couple had grown so far apart, there seemed no bridging the gap. But both had come from broken families. They were determined to give their children the stability that they didn’t have growing up.
“We want to break the cycle,” said Margaret. “That’s what it becomes, a cycle because it’s easy to run.”
When Cru Military volunteers invited them to attend a FamilyLife® Weekend to Remember getaway, they gratefully accepted. FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru, offers the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway deeply discounted to military couples. At the event, Cru Military provides breakout sessions especially geared for military couples.
“I was willing to try anything,” said Margaret. “We felt like a door was opening. We both thought, ‘We’re definitely doing this.’”
“We get a lot out of volunteering. Being able to share your story is healing.” —Margaret
“My sole focus was my military career,” said Spencer. “As a husband, the Weekend to Remember taught me that I need to love Christ first and then to love my wife.”
Margaret felt like a giant weight was lifted from her shoulders that weekend. She told us:
“Realizing that my marriage is about glorifying God, not about Spencer and me, took pressure off.”
When they were invited to help out at the next Weekend to Remember event, both jumped at the opportunity to give back. Then they came back again last year, this time leading the military breakout session. They did a wonderful job! One of the many couples whose lives they helped touch wrote:
“Before this getaway, we were making plans to move forward with a divorce. However, after this experience, we have decided to fight for our marriage.”
Spencer and Margaret are so effective because they share from their heart, and allow other military couples to see that they are not alone.
“What I share is that we’re not perfect and we need Jesus,” said Margaret. “Our testimony is that with Gods’ grace we’re still together and we’re still a family. I’m thankful for that.”
Spencer contributes his own perspective during the breakout session. He tells people, “If you let go and quit trying to control things you’d be amazed at what can happen in your marriage.”
Spencer recently surrendered his life to Christ, which is having a wonderful impact on his family. “Refocusing, letting it go and giving it all to God is so freeing!” he said with emotion.
The couple faces another relocation soon. But they have faith that their family will continue to thrive. And through Cru Military, they and their family will have the support to successfully plug into a new church and social network, and of course more opportunities to help others.
*Real names have been changed