News: Mixing marriage and the Marine Corps
Story by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - All Marines make an oath to defend the constitution of the United States, and several Marines also vow a commitment to marriage with devotion to their spouse – through thick and thin.
The Marine Corps and marriage are life-changing commitments, but they can coexist, and at Cherry Point the Marine Corps provides several resources to help facilitate a fulfilling and happy marriage.
One resource that is catching on at the air station is the video seminar, “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage,” by motivational speaker, Mark Gungor.
“Sometimes people are thrown off by the name and not sure if they want to invest the time in it,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jay J. Kersten, about the four 90-minute sessions in four days. “But it’s very effective and not clinical, dull and dry like some assume it should be. It’s very well worth the time,” added Kersten, the chaplain for Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2.
By looking at the comical side of everyday situations, Gungor discusses the dynamics of a typical marriage and how preventative measures can be taken when a couple understands the natural tendencies of one another.
Being married in the Marine Corps has additional stressors, like deployments, relocations and long periods away from family. Gungor’s tips and techniques can help a couple establish a good foundation, so under the extra weight of deployments a marriage will still be strong.
“It’s not just a job it’s a lifestyle,” said Kersten about being a Marine or a family member of one. “This is not the civilian world, and unless the family engages, utilizes and embraces the culture they’re in, there is going to be a sense of conflict.”
It’s a common misperception that a couple must be having a difficult time in their marriage to take a class like this explained Rosie Muth, who recently went through the laugh your way course with her husband, Staff Sgt. Eden Muth, an avionics electrician with Marine Attack Squadron 223.
The Muths, who have been married for 10 years, said it can be considered marriage enrichment and improve a couple’s communication.
Communication can be a difficult hurdle in to overcome the Corps and when unresolved, the “Who left the toilet seat up?” disputes only become more common.
“It’s normal to have problems in relationships,” Kersten assured, “and normalizing them makes it easier.”
Sometimes the hardest part can be taking that first step.
“It can take a lot of guts to put yourself in a vulnerable position,” said Cmdr. Robert B. Beede, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing chaplain. “The key is to understand the reason why somebody does something.”
The “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” seminar is scheduled every couple of months at the training and education building here. For information on the programs and seminars provided at the air station, call your command chaplain’s office or call the wing chaplain’s office at 466-3314.
Information is also available at http://www.marines.mil/unit/2ndMAW/Pages/Chaplain/default.aspx.