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Marriage Retreat Bolsters National Home Couples

“Don’t look for a quick fix; Marriage only works when you work at it” is one takeaway that six National Home couples went away with.

The group participated in a two-day retreat called Operation Thriving Marriage, based on a book of the same name by Bryon and Jennifer Harvey.

The Harveys arrived on campus with a desire help married residents by donating their time and conducting five workshops titled:

  • Purpose of Marriage
  • Becoming One
  • Un-expectations
  • Communications
  • Parenting

“Marriage is hard, and our goal here at the National Home is to help the entire family. One way we can help families is to improve the marital relationship of the parents because a strong marriage helps the whole family,” explained lead case manager Kirsten Grady.

The retreat kicked off the night before with a group dinner so the couples could meet the presenters and become more acquainted with each other, followed by interactive workshops the next day. The VFW National Home provided childcare.

“I learned to stop competing. Her success is my success, and my success is her success,” commented one husband at the conclusion of the retreat.

“Communicate instead of assuming,” quipped another participant of a nugget gleaned from the retreat.

“Work as a team in marriage and as parents,” added a third.

Grady adds that cultivating strong marriages is especially important in military families, where one’s loyalty to country often supersedes the marital union.

“Military personnel give a large amount of their heart to service to their country. This puts a strain on marriages because, unlike civilian marriages where they put each other first, in the military, you put the military first,” she said.

Response to the class was overwhelmingly favorable, and many of the couples report that they have been implementing many of the tools they learned in the retreat.

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