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The Biggest Lesson I Learned in My Military-Wife Life – How to Cultivate Community (Part 2)



One of my keys to cultivating community was by starting small groups for married couples.

 

I found starting small groups to be the greatest way I built lasting friendships and impacted others’ lives. After attending a marriage conference hosted by Family Life Ministries (a ministry of Cru), my husband and I took the small-group guides back to Columbus Air Force Base and began hosting a small group for other military marriages in our home. The group started as married couples but eventually grew to include single Airmen who were seriously dating and wanted to learn more about marriage. Our studies were easy to lead and didn’t require any specific education or preparation to lead. This group was our family away from home and included our closest friendships. When we adopted our son, they took care of our cat while we were in Russia picking him up. They even surprised us with a decorated house and a “Welcome Home!” sign which greeted us upon our return. We enjoyed this supportive group so much that we continued to host small groups out of our home during our remaining 10 assignments with the military.

 

When we’d show up at a new location, we’d get “boots on the ground” and immediately start inviting other military couples to join us in our home on Sunday nights. We’d invite neighbors. We’d also invite other couples from the unit where my husband was working. We usually picked simple 4-week studies to get started because they required a smaller time commitment from each person who joined this newly forming group. There are some great small group guides written specifically for military couples – check out the information and links below.

 

We usually offered childcare in another area of our home, or when we lived in a small apartment or house, at another base home. The parents would pool together money to pay the babysitter.


We realized we were investing in other people’s marriages, but we were also making valuable deposits in our own marriage. Let’s face it; we are all prone to selfishness and not seeing our marriage from an unbiased or balanced point of view. We found being involved in small group studies with other military couples ensured we were constantly reminded that in marriage it is easy to drift toward isolation and blame the other spouse. We also appreciated the reminders that marriage doesn’t work when its 50%/50% - we found that we adjusted our view to be 100%/100% and serve our spouse out of a response to God and how good He has been to us, whether our spouse deserved it or not.



Cru Military, the ministry I now serve with, has three military-specific small group guides that are written to engage your group in a discussion on topics that are specific to serving in the armed forces (whether on active duty, reserve, or guard status). There are three guides available. I’ve used them and highly recommend them all.


 

 

I’d love to come speak to your group about being a supportive military wife and how to go from just surviving as a military wife, to thriving. Read more about my speaking topics.

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