Unit HomeChaplainMarriage Guide
Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton


Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton

Support the Warfighter

Marriage Guide to Success
What an exciting time this must be for you and your spouse or spouse to be. The purpose of
this packet is to be a resource to both of you as you embark on this great adventure. This
resource is not mandated, you will not be held accountable by your command, or humiliated in
front of your fellow marines if you do not complete this marriage guide. However, statistics
show that the first enlistment marriage failure rate is 85%. The degree to which you invest in
your marriage will be the degree to which it succeeds or fails. If you choose to put no effort
into making your marriage a success then you are preparing to join the 85%. If you follow the
steps outlined in this packet then you will be prepared to handle the majority of dangers and
road blocks that are contributing to that disheartening statistic. As a marine you have a whole
host of resources at your disposal and it’s all free to you! All you have to do is do the work. The
choice is yours. If your desire is to join the 15% then proceed to step 1.
STEP 1: The first recommendation for marriage preparation is to seek premarital counseling.
There are many options aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. My recommendation is
that you pick two resources from section 3: marriage counseling resources from this packet,
and not just any 2. Of the first 3 resources (Joining the 15%, PREP, and CREDO) pick one. These
resources will help you work through common overarching struggles in marriage. They are
designed to give you basic skills in maintaining a healthy relationship. Also, I would recommend
that you pick one of the last two options (counseling in town, or with your chaplain). This
aspect of premarital counseling will get more in depth, and help you deal with your specific
issues (everyone has some psychosis so don’t be too self conscious about dealing with yours).
Maybe you struggle with trusting your future spouse, or you handle relational conflict in an
unhealthy way. These sessions will give you an opportunity to address these issues, and keep
them from tearing up your relationship. Again, these resources are free so take advantage.
Civilians pay allot of money for these types of services.
STEP 2: Get Financial counseling. Money is one of the biggest contributors to divorce. If you
do not have a united plan for how to spend your money then your marriage will suffer. There
are plenty of options for financial planning and budgeting on base so proceed to section 4:
Financial Counseling and pick out a class or two that appeals to you. Again, these services are
free so take advantage of them.
STEP 3: Follow the requirements for your religious tradition to prepare for marriage. Section 5:
Religious Preparation has some resources that are available on base for specific religious
traditions. This is a critical step if you and your spouse are religious. Especially if you are
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Catholic, marriage preparation can be a sticky spot. I have heard of Marines and spouses being
denied communion at Catholic Mass because they got married out in town and not through the
church. Make sure you know what your tradition requires. If you do not know, then ask you
chaplain. If you and your spouse are not religious you can skip this step.
STEP 4: Go to section 6: Recommended Readings and pick out a book that both you and your
spouse (to be) might enjoy and read it together. You can find these books online. If you don’t
want to spend allot of money you can find them used at Amazon.com.
STEP 5: go to section 7: Know Your Partner and review how to make a military marriage work
and discuss the questions before you say “I do” with your spouse (to be).
STEP 6: If you and your spouse (to be) are still on talking terms after steps 1-5 then proceed to
section 2: Administrative in the marriage user’s guide to reserve a base chapel, reserve your
chaplain, and get your marriage license. You and your spouse are stubborn enough that you
just might make marriage work.
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Make the day memorable by hosting your event in a chapel on Camp Pendleton.
There are many different occasions to reserve a chapel:
* Weddings
* Marriage Vow Renewals
* Memorial Services
* Baptisms
Call the Religious Development Center at (760) 725-4700. Due to limited availability, make your
wedding reservation for a chapel at least 60 days prior to the event.
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To reserve a base Chaplain for your wedding call your MCAS or MAG Chaplain to reserve your
wedding date. If neither chaplain is available you can submit a chaplain request form to the
RDC (Religious Development Center) and they will submit your request to all of the base
chaplains. As a fair warning, most chaplains require that you have engaged in some form of
premarital counseling before they will agree to officiate your wedding. Some may even require
that you be counseled by them. It never hurts to ask.
MCAS Chaplain: (760) 763-8987
MAG Chaplain (760) 725-8180
RDC (760) 725-4700
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Welcome to the State of California, Department of Public Health’s web page. This web page
will give you general information regarding the requirements for the issuance and registration
of public and confidential marriage licenses in California, as well as answer many frequently
asked questions regarding the laws pertaining to marriage licenses and ceremonies in
California. For further information, please contact the County Clerk/Recorder’s Office in the
county where you will be applying for the marriage license, or performing the marriage
ceremony. Information regarding contacting the County Clerk/Recorder may be obtained by
clicking the following link:
The registration of public and confidential marriages in California is a local and state function.
The California Family Code provides for a continuous and permanent marriage registration
system. The system depends upon the conscientious efforts of local officials, clergymen, and
other officiants in preparing the original records and in certifying the information on these
“Laws are mutually accepted rules by which, together, we maintain a free
society. Liberty itself is built on a foundation of law. That foundation provides
an orderly process for changing laws. It also depends on our obeying laws once
they have been freely adopted.”1
The County Clerk issues public and confidential marriage licenses. The County Clerk is
the local registrar of confidential marriages (Family Code, Section 511). The County
Clerk maintains a permanent index of all confidential marriages registered.
The marriage officiant, e.g., clergyperson or authorized individual, who performs the
marriage ceremony, is required by law to complete the marriage license and return it to
the County Recorder’s office within 10 days of the event for registration. For
confidential marriages, the marriage license is returned to the County Clerk’s office for
1 1985 by Freedoms Foundations at Valley Forge.
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The County Recorder is the local registrar of public marriages (which includes declared
and non-clergy marriages) under the direction of the State Registrar (Health and Safety
Code, Sections 102285 and 102295).
The local official is required to see that a complete and acceptable certificate is filed for
each marriage, and that each entry on the certificate is clear and unambigous. Once
reviewed for proper completion, the local official collects the certificates of marriage
filed and transmits them to the state office on a monthly basis (Health and Safety Code,
Section 102355).
An important function of the local registrar of marriages is to produce an index of
marriages registered in his/her jurisdiction (Government Code, Section 27252).
You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California.
To marry in California, the two parties to the marriage may not be already married.
Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California. Family Code, Section 420(a) requires the
two parties, marriage officiant, and witness if applicable, be physically present together in
the same location for the marriage to be performed.
Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.
Both parties must appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the County
Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license in California. Valid picture identification is one
that contains a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date, such as a state
issued identification card, driver’s license, passport, military identification, etc. Some
counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate.
If you have been married or in a State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP), you will need to
know the specific date your last marriage or SRDP ended, and how it ended (Death, Dissolution,
Divorce or Nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous
marriage or SRDP ended by dissolution or nullity. An RDP need not be dissolved prior to the
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issuance of a marriage license if the parties to the RDP and the parties to the marriage are
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married
within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid. You must purchase a new license.
Many County Clerks in California perform civil marriage ceremonies in their offices. For
further information regarding civil marriage ceremonies, please contact the County Clerk’s
Office directly to see if they provide this service.
California Family Code, Section 400 states the persons authorized to solemnize marriage
ceremonies in California are as follows:
A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner
of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant
commissioner of a court of record in this state.
A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States:
A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created
by an act of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good
A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a member of Congress who
represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.
All fees and hours of issuance for a marriage license may vary by county. Please contact the
County Clerk/Recorder’s Office directly to find out this information. Information regarding
contacting the County Clerk/Recorder may be obtained by clicking the following link:
The person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the
County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable within 10 days of the date of the ceremony.
Addresses should be on the county site.
You will NOT receive a copy of your marriage license after you have been married unless
you request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or County Recorder as
applicable. You may access an application to request a certified copy of a marriage
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certificate at the following link:
ALL information on the marriage license MUST be legible, unambigous and reproducible.
DO NOT change any information on the license, cross out information, use white out, etc.,
as that will require the payment for and issuance of a duplicate marriage license. Contact
the County Clerk’s Office if you have questions about completing the marriage license
and/or incorrect information contained on the marriage license.
There are two types of marriage licenses commonly issued in California. The public marriage
license and confidential marriage license. In addition to the general requirements listed above,
there are additional requirements for each of the licenses listed below.
You must be at least 18 years old. Persons under 18 with written consent from at least one
parent (or legal guardian) AND permission from a California Superior Court Judge may
marry. Emancipated minors are NOT exempt from this process. Contact the County Clerk’s
Office in your county for further information regarding these requirements.
The marriage license may be obtained from any county in California. You are not required
to get married in the county where you purchase the public marriage license; however, you
must be married in California. You must file the license in the county where it was
You must have at least one witness present at your ceremony. The license contains a place
for two witnesses if you prefer. You may NOT have more than two witnesses sign the
official marriage license. Licenses received with more than two witnesses’ signatures will be
returned to the officiant and a duplicate marriage license will need to be purchased.
There is no age requirement in California for witnesses; however, they must be old enough
to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony AND be able to sign their name on
the official marriage license.
The marriage license is registered at the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the
license was purchased, and is a public record. Anyone may request copies of the marriage
certificate by submitting the required fee to the County Recorder. You may access an
application to request a certified copy of a marriage certificate at the following link:
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Only one officiant may sign the marriage license as the person who solemnized the
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The two parties to the marriage must be at least 18 years old to apply for a confidential
marriage license. Minors may NOT purchase a confidential marriage license.
The couple must be living together as spouses at the time they apply for the marriage
license, and must sign an affidavit on the license attesting to that fact.
The couple MUST be married in the county where the license is issued.
No witnesses are required to be at the ceremony, AND no witnesses sign on the marriage
The marriage license is a confidential record and is registered at the County Clerk’s Office in
the county where it was purchased. Only the couple may purchase copies of the marriage
certificate and must present valid picture identification together with the required fee to
the County Clerk in order to do so. Persons other than the parties to the marriage
requesting copies of a confidential marriage certificate may only do so by presenting a court
order to the County Clerk in the county where the license is registered.
Copies of confidential marriages are not available from the state office.
1. If I am deputized to perform marriages for a day, do I have to perform the marriage in
the county I was deputized in?
No. The authority of a commissioner or deputy commissioner of civil marriages to
solemnize marriages extends throughout the state. However, the deputy for a day
program varies and may not be available in all counties.
2. Does a deputized commissioner of civil marriages have to be a California resident?
No. Family Code, Section 401 contains no requirement that a deputized commissioner
of civil marriages be a California resident. Out-of-state or
out-of-country priests, ministers, or clergy persons may also perform marriages in
California if they are ordained or invested by a denomination.
3. Where do I register to perform marriages in California?
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The laws of the State of California make it unnecessary for persons performing
marriages to file credentials with the clerk of the court or with anyone else. The county
and state are removed from any responsibility for verification of credentials. The State
does not maintain a central registry of members of the clergy. Any such concern for
verification is totally at the discretion of the parties to the marriage.
4. What authorization do I need to perform a marriage in California?
In California, it is the ordination or investment by the denomination that gives each
clergy member the authority to perform the marriage rite. Family Code, Sections 400-
402 are the statutes pertaining to who can solemnize a marriage in California.
5. What statutes do I need to know to perform a marriage in California?
The marriage officiant who performs the marriage ceremony must know the California
laws regarding the performance of a marriage and the requirements for officiants.
Family Code, Sections 420-425 are the statutes pertaining to the performance of a
marriage in California. Please visit www.leginfo.ca.gov for the full Family Code sections.
6. Can Captains of the Salvation Army perform marriages in California?
Yes. Captains of the Salvation Army are permitted to perform marriages in California.
7. Can the captain of a ship solemnize a California marriage?
It depends. Ships’ captains have no authority to solemnize California marriages unless
they fall into one of the categories listed under Family Code Section 400-401.
8. Can a Medicine Man perform marriages?
Yes. Native American religions are recognized as “denominations.” A religious leader or
a Shaman is authorized to perform marriages. If the title of the religious leader is
Medicine Man, then he is eligible to perform marriages.
9. How soon after the wedding ceremony do I need to return the marriage license?
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Ten (10) days. Family Code Section 359(e) states, “The certificate of registry shall be
returned by the person solemnizing the marriage to the county recorder of the county
in which the license was issued within 10 days after the ceremony.”
10. When is a duplicate marriage license issued?
According to Family Code Section 360, “(a) If a certificate of registry of marriage is lost
or destroyed after the marriage ceremony but before it is returned to the county
recorder, the person solemnizing the marriage, in order to comply with Section 359,
shall obtain a duplicate certificate of registry by filing an affidavit setting forth the facts
with the county clerk of the county in which the license was issued. (b) The duplicate
certificate of registry may not be issued later than one year after issuance of the original
license and shall be returned by the person solemnizing the marriage to the county
recorder within 10 days after issuance.” Contact the County Clerk in the county where
the license was issued to find out the cost and process for issuing duplicate marriage
11. Do I have to review the marriage license prior to solemnizing the marriage?
Yes. The marriage license must be reviewed by the marriage officiant prior to
solemnizing the marriage. Any person who solemnizes a marriage without first
reviewing the license is guilty of a misdemeanor (Penal Code, Section 360).
12. What statutes pertain to confidential marriages?
Please visit www.leginfo.ca.gov for the pertinent Family Code, Sections 500-511.
13. A couple comes into the Recorder’s Office and presents their marriage certificate issued
in a foreign country. They want the Recorder’s Office to record their foreign marriage
certificate in California. Can their marriage be recorded in California?
No. A foreign marriage certificate cannot be recorded in California. If the couple needs
to establish a record of the marriage in California, they can file a petition in Superior
Court to establish a Court Order Delayed Certificate of Marriage.
14. Will I automatically receive an official copy of my marriage license?
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No. You must request and pay an additional fee to receive an official (certified) copy of
your marriage certificate. You may access an application to request a certified copy of
your marriage certificate at the following link:
15. Can I have more than two witnesses sign on my public marriage license?
No. The public marriage license requires the signature of one witness, and if desired,
has a place for an additional witness. No more than TWO witnesses may sign on the
public marriage license. Only one signature per line is allowed. No witnesses may sign
on the confidential marriage license.
16. Can an ordained minister from another state perform a marriage ceremony in
Yes. If they are authorized under Family Code Section 400, out-of-state ministers may
perform marriages.
17. Can an ordained minister perform a marriage ceremony for multiple couples at the
same time?
Yes. There is nothing that prohibits multiple couples from being married at the same
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The statistics for first enlistment marriages are very disheartening. Of those Marines who marry
during their first enlistment 85% will get a divorce. What makes you think you are a part of the 15%?
What are you doing to prepare yourself for the challenges Military marriages bring? Come join the Air
Station chaplains as we discuss key marital struggles, and how you can overcome them. We meet
every first Thursday of the month in the Air Station classroom. Topics that will be covered include:
Positive Communication
Negative Communication
Meeting Your Spouses Relational Needs
The Importance of Commitment, Trust, and Forgiveness
To reserve your spot call the MAG Chaplain’s office at 725-8180 or the MCAS
Chaplain at 763-8987.
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The Marine Corps Family Team Building staff and your chaplains have teamed up to offer you a truly
out-standing program known as "PREP" (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program). This
program has proven so effective in recent years that it has been featured on 20/20, 48 Hours, Oprah,
and in many articles of the printed media.
You're involved in a close relationship such as seriously dating, an engagement, or a
You want romance and passion in your marriage;
You'd like to be able to talk together as friends;
You'd sometimes like to shut out all of life's hassles and just be together;
You're determined to knock down those communication walls that creep up with time and
PREP offers a fresh approach. It is basic and straightforward. The workshop and the materials
teach couples the skills they need to nurture a lasting love. Couples spend most of their time in special
discussions or practicing skills. Key topics include expectations, commitment, fun, forgiveness,
friendship, feeling understood and sensuality.
PREP is NOT therapy, and is unlike anything to which you have been exposed. No encounter group
or sharing of personal concerns, no dry psychobabble . . . simply thrilling insights into a more loving,
growth filled relationship!
PREP begins with teaching effective communication skills, then address problem resolution
strategies that work, how to discover the hidden issues in every relationship, and then move into
forgiveness, fun, friendship, and sensuality.
Questions Couples Ask About This Enrichment Workshop:
We're doing pretty well; why should we attend a Marriage Enrichment Workshop?
All of us can improve our skills when it comes to loving the most important people in our lives.
Every couple starts off their relationship committed to make it work. Unfortunately, many of
us simply do not know HOW to accomplish a healthy and fulfilling marriage. The difficulty is
not knowing what to do to make that happen! PREP can provide concrete strategies and tools
to build a rewarding marriage.
Will we be expected to tell a bunch of strangers what our problems are?
No. This is not group therapy; it is an educational and practical application opportunity to
learn what works in marriage (and what makes marriage work). It's not necessary that we
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share those short-falls with the group. Your confidentiality is important to us and will be
Why would commands give people time off to attend a Marriage Enrichment
o They really do care about your family relationships;
o If you become more effective at open communication while knowing how to keep
discussions from escalating into arguments, it will benefit the workspace as well as at
home; and
o Participating in this Workshop is a huge boost to family readiness and tranquility.
Is this a religious program?
Not at all, although the Bible is a tremendous source of wisdom about how relationships can
thrive. No religious nor denominational teachings are included in "Marriage Enrichment: the
PREP Approach."
Enjoying the good times: More than "Don't Worry, Be Happy," learn the secrets of keeping
busyness from crowding-out the fun in your relationship.
Viva La Difference! Gain fresh insights into why men and women see life so differently. You'll
leave with a whole new appreciation for who you are -and whom you love.
Danger Signs: Learn the danger signs that can lead to marital discord and eventually
breakdown of the relationship. Discover how to express your concerns constructively and how
to examine hidden issues or expectations that can build so quickly in a marriage.
Everyone benefits when you take advantage
of this opportunity!
To Register:
Contact your Marine Corps Family Team Building or Chaplain's
The Cost: FREE.
Uniform: Civilian attire is preferred.
MCAS Chaplain (760) 763-8987
MAG Chaplain (760) 725-8180
Marine Corps Family Team Building (760) 725-9052
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To attend a Marriage Enrichment Retreat call your chaplain or the contact number above for an
application and retreat dates.
Programs and Retreats:
Personal Growth Retreats (PGR): provides insights for personal growth, acceptance of responsibility and
builds self esteem
Teen Retreats (TR): provides a nurturing community for self-reflection, enhancement of self-esteem, trust
and interpersonal relationships.
Marriage Enrichment Workshop (MER): provides tools for enhancing human understanding, intimacy and
Spiritual Growth Retreat (SGR): provides insights to understanding your relationship with God.
Unit Team Building (UTB): provides appreciation of individual differences and develops shared visions,
communication and cooperation in units.
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For those couples who would like to utilize a couples counselor out in town see the contact info
below. You can call one of these counselors and they will walk you through the steps to make
your appointment. These counselors are covered by TriCare so once again there is no cost to
you. They are Military OneSource providers.
Individual, Couples, and Family Therapy
2424 vista Way, Suite 210, Oceanside, CA 92054
A TriCare and Military One Source Provider. License #19979
Fax: 760-721-1700
Individual and Family Psychotherapy
2495 Harding Street, Suite 110
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Phone: 760-519-2555
Fax: 760-730-0021
Email: surfbarr@adelphia.net
Counseling an dPsychotherapy
Clinical Supervision
Program Development and Consulting
PO Box 2351131, Encinitas, CA, 92024
Phone: 760-613-9136
Fax: 760-730-3933
Email: lheitlcsw@sbcglobal.net
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7 counseling sessions
1. expectations: get to know you get to know me
2. God and Love (let’s get biblical)
3. Roles and Expectations session (with Chaplain)
4. Communication session (PREP, Five Love Languages, Love and Respect DVDs)
5. Personality mapping (4 lenses)
6. Finance class (Marriage and Money)
7. Planning the wedding
1. Both participants must be confessing Christians.
2. Both participants must be willing to abstain from sexual contact until the wedding day.
This eliminates the potential of the relationship solely being based on physical
attraction, and it provides a good Godly foundation for your marriage.
3. Both participants must be willing to participate in the counseling sessions, and in the
take home assignments (reading, discussions, videos, etc.).
4. If at any point during the counseling session information comes up that should cause
pause for the relationship (i.e. abuse, illegal activity, etc), I reserve the right to be able
to excuse myself from officiating the wedding.
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We Offer Classes Every Friday!
1st & 3rd Fridays 0900 - 1200 Building 13150
2nd Friday 0900 - 1200 Building 13150
4th Friday 0900 - 1200 Building 13150
Classes 2nd Thursday of the Month 1330 - 1500
CALL FOR SCHEDULE 760 725-6098
Go To www.mccscp.com For Class Listings and Enrollment
Beth Middleton, BA
Gerald A. Williams, MBA
Financial Counselors
Marine & Family Programs
Building #13150
Any Concerns With Your Personal Finances Please Contact Our Office!
We Are Available To Teach Classes and/or Conduct Individual/Couples Counseling Sessions
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1) Pre-marriage counseling. Couples meet with the priest or deacon performing the ceremony.
The purpose of these sessions is to assess the moral and spiritual readiness of the couple to
make a marriage covenant. Couples should come prepared with a current copy of their
baptismal certificate (i.e., issued within 6-9 months of the wedding).
2) Catholic Pre-Cana and Engaged Encounter Weekend. This is a combined information and
skills training program. It consists of a one-day conference and weekend (Fri. – Sun.) For cost
and reservations go to www.engagedencounter.org or call 858-490-8296/97.
3) Liturgy planning. Planning the wedding ceremony consists of Selecting Scripture, readings,
music and participants. This is done in conjunction with the priest or deacon.
If you desire to have a Catholic wedding, make sure to contact the RDC (Religious Development
Center) to meet with their Deacon or Priest. (760)725-4700
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If you are a part of a Protestant tradition, make sure to contact your Pastor, Reverend, or Priest
to discuss your tradition’s religious requirements for marriage. If you do not know, call your
unit Chaplain and he/she can assist you.
Make sure to contact your chaplain or religious organization to follow the tenants of your faith.
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If He Only Knew: Understanding Your Wife
- Gary Smalley explains a woman's deepest needs, shows a man how to meet those needs, and
gives ten simple steps to strengthen any marriage. He helps men to understand not only how
to respond to a woman's feelings, but also how to make her feel important. Using humorous
and touching illustrations from his own life, as well as case histories and biblical examples, Gary
Smalley maps a blueprint to a better marriage.
For Better or for best: Understanding your Husband
- Gary Smalley explains what motivates men and how women can use their natural attractive
qualities to build a better marriage. He helps women to understand not only the way men
think, but also how to move a man's heart. Using case histories and biblical illustrations, he
solves with empathy, humor, and wisdom every practical and emotional problem a woman can
face in her marriage. Do you want your husband to: -- Meet your romantic needs? Comfort you
when you're down? Listen to what you have to say? Appreciate you? Do more around the
house? Spend time with the kids? Be your most intimate friend?
Things I wish I’d have known before we got married
-Gary Chapman writes, "Most people spend far more time in preparation for their vocation
than they do in preparation for marriage." No wonder the divorce rate hovers around fifty
percent. Bestselling author and marriage counselor Gary Chapman hopes to change that with
his newest book. Gary, with more than 35 years of counseling couples, believes that divorce is
the lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as
intimate teammates
The 5 Love Languages
-Gray Chapman, What if you could say or do just the right thing guaranteed to make that special
someone feel loved? The secret is learning the right love language! Millions of couples have
learned the simple way to express their feelings and bring joy back into marriage: The 5 Love
Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman’s is a New York Times bestseller! EASY QUICK READ THAT CAN
Love and Respect
-Emerson Eggerich is cracking the communication code between husband and wife which
involves understanding one thing: Unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional
love is for her. You and your mate can truly start afresh with the groundbreaking guidance
provided in this interactive guide. To be used as a companion with the book, Love & Respect.
Although this is a Christian based series my husband and I took this seminar and after 17 years
of marriage completely changed the way we communicate with each other. I HIGHLY
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Military marriages are very stressful because the couples have to deal with
the prospect of deployment and long periods of time spent away from each
Marriage is stressful in even the most ideal situations, so it isn’t hard to imagine that a military
marriage is doubly stressful. You have to worry about last-minute deployments that could last
months or longer. You have to face the reality that if you marry someone who is in the military,
your life is going to revolve around the military. Your partner who is in the military is willing to
risk their life for the country, even if that means that they will leave you a widow or widower.
You have to be prepared to move around a lot, which can make it hard to raise a family and
maintain friendships. Many military marriages end in divorce because couples are not taking
the future into careful consideration before they exchange wedding vows. It is critical that both
of you are committed to putting in the work necessary to make your military marriage work,
despite all the challenges that you may encounter along the way.
Deployments are certainly one of the toughest hurdles that a military couple will have to
jump together. It is understandably very challenging to be separated for long periods of time,
especially if the person being deployed is going into combat. Letter writing is one viable way to
stay in touch with your deployed spouse. Although you may be having an emotionally hard time
at home, your deployed spouse is surely suffering ten-fold, so you want your letters to provide
comfort and love to get them through their deployment. You don’t want to make your spouse
feel guilty for being away fighting for the country. Write letters every day to keep you partner
abreast to what is happening in your life, what’s going on with your children (if you are
parents), what is going on in town, etc. It will keep the bond strong through your separation.
You should also invest in a digital camera so that you can take pictures of yourself and your
family everyday. Print them out on your personal computer, and send them to your spouse
along with the letters. If you have children, have them write letters too, or draw pictures, that
you can send to your spouse. These mementos from home will be a source of happiness and
strength for your deployed spouse.
Support groups are great way for you to share your struggles with other people who are living
the same lifestyle as you are. It helps to talk to people who can understand the way you are
feeling, and who have gone through similar experiences in their own marriages.
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Trust is the most important component to any relationship, and when married couples are
forced to live apart from each other for long periods of time, trust is absolutely critical. You
have to believe in your partner and in your marriage so that you do not spend your time
worrying that your spouse is off with some new lover during deployment.
Give your support to the military so that you have a better sense of pride in your military life. If
you are active in supporting the military, you will feel more motivated to make your military
marriage work. You also have to remember to be supportive of your partner, whether your
partner is in the military, or you are in the military. Neither role is easier than the other. Being
in the military is very stressful, and so it is easy to see why that partner would need support.
However, it is equally stressful to be the partner who is at home worrying about their spouse
who is in the military.
Being in the military is not going to make you rich. Married couples fight about money a lot, but
in a military marriage, the last thing you need to do is add more stress to your life by living
beyond your financial means. Make a budget and stick to it so that you don’t have to add any
more stress to your already heaping full plate.
It isn’t easy to talk about the worst case scenarios in life, but it is critical that you do so,
especially in a military marriage. The two of you need to have a game plan in the tragic case
that someone dies. Both of you should be privy to financial responsibilities, investments,
insurance, and any other major debts or bills. The last thing that you would want to do if your
spouse died would be to have to frantically try to figure out your finances.
Make friends with other couples who are in military marriages. Just like with support groups, it
is important to have friends who know what you are going through. Also, in the case of
deployment, you want to have a network of friends to reach out to.
If you are going to have a successful military marriage, then you have to accept that. You
cannot try to convince your partner to leave the military. That will lead to constant fights, and it
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could potentially end your marriage. You have to accept the lifestyle that you are entering into
when you marry someone in the military.
There is no shame in asking for professional help if you are having a very difficult time coping
with the stresses of a military marriage. Other ways to alleviate stress include exercising, deep
breathing, or talking to a friend.
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1. How important is faith in God to our marriage?
2. What are exclusively husband/wife duties in marriage?
3. Who decides about spending money, repaying debt?
4. Will decisions be made by traditional roles, gifts and abilities, interest, etc.?
5. How much correction and advice can you give and receive from one another?
6. What priority will friends, in-laws have in your relationship?
7. How much time alone or out with friends should we expect?
8. Should I always feel like doing my part?
9. How will you treat each other physically/sexually (with respect/objectify)?
10. What priority will our jobs have in marriage?
11. How will hobbies fit into our priorities with each other?
12. How will we handle disagreements (simply can’t see eye to eye)?
13. How many children should we have?
14. How much should we direct/control/correct our children at each age?
15. What effect will children have on our marriage at each age?
16. What is the ultimate goal of raising children?
17. How often will we discuss things heart to heart?
18. Am I allowed to disagree? Will you rub it in when I am wrong?
19. What is the ultimate goal of marriage?
20. How active in church and ministry will we be?
21. Should marriage get better as years go by?
22. How long should we wait before we have children?
23. How much money should we spend on sports or malls or theater or computers?
24. How much TV will we watch; how will we limit it?
25. Who goes for help should a stalemate happen in the marriage?
26. How will we decide if the wife should work?
Important note from the Chaplain: It is important to be self aware. What I mean by that is
that you can label and identify your strengths and weaknesses. This ability represents a
character building skill. It is better to be able to determine that you are deficient in an area
than to pretend that everything is okay. By identifying deficiency you can then establish vision
to correct your deficiency or at least compensate. For instance, if you cannot have money in
your possession without spending it you probably should not hold on to the checkbook, or you
should at least enroll in budgeting classes to compensate for your weakness. Take an honest
look at yourself. Don’t use jaded glasses.
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