Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage is a non-fiction book written by Corie Weathers that comes out TODAY, August 1st. When I first caught wind of this book, I jumped on the opportunity to apply to be a part of the book launch team, and I was accepted. Over the past few weeks I have been reading this book on my Kindle, pouring over Corie’s words as she poured her heart into them, and now that I’ve finished, and on her book’s release date, I can’t wait to tell you more and share my review and part 1 of my thoughts.
ABOUT CORIE WEATHERS AND SACRED SPACES
Before I share my review, let me provide you with some brief background about Corie, (I refer to her so casually because after reading her book I feel somehow intimately connected with her – and I think you will too when you read Sacred Spaces) and how the book came to be. Corie Weathers is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and the spouse of US Army Chaplain Matt Weathers. They’ve been married for 17 years and have two sons.
In 2015 Corie was named the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year, an award given by Military Spouse magazine. In the fall of 2015, Corie was offered the chance of a lifetime: to attend a week-long tour with the US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, to visit our troops serving overseas. It was the first time a military spouse was being invited to “have a firsthand glimpse into the active duty world” with deployed service members overseas. I am so thankful that Secretary Carter saw the need for a military spouse to have this experience and opportunity, and when you read Sacred Spaces I know you will be thankful too.
As I began Sacred Spaces, I enjoyed living vicariously through Corie’s experiences overseas. Her detailed narrative, sharing sights, sounds, and smells, enabled me to feel like I was invited on the tour too, gaining special access into a world that previously only belonged to my husband. As she describes her experiences and thoughts, as well as emails written by her husband to her, all of which enabled me to gain insight into my husband’s experiences and make sense of my own military marriage. My heart shouted, “Yes me too,” at nearly every turn of the page as Corie honestly confesses her feelings at various points in her military marriage journey, from PCS stresses, to deployments, to trying to connect with her spouse, and so on.
But Sacred Spaces is more than a narrative of a military spouse’s experiences being married to a deployed service member or her role reversal and experience overseas, as Corie writes, her “mission was to take back the lost ground between Matt [her husband] and me, ground we had surrendered to hurt, misunderstanding, loss—and to Afghanistan. Ultimately, this is the mission of every marriage: The pursuit of understanding a spouse’s wounded heart, the humility of forgiveness, and the journey from pain to restoration” – and that’s what the mission of Sacred Spaces is as well.
It’s about understanding what sacred spaces are, how they function in our lives, and how they affect our relationships / marriages when we have separate sacred spaces and shared sacred spaces.
Corie defines “sacred spaces” as “significant life-changing experiences” that can be either positive or negative, that take up significant space in our life stories, and are often multi-sensory, meaning that we can remember sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches associated with the experiences.
Shared sacred spaces strengthen marriages while separate sacred spaces in marriage, that occur frequently in military marriages, have the chance of creating divisions in marriages as the couple changes individually, grows apart, and doesn’t know how to handle each other’s sacred spaces.
SACRED SPACES’ IMPACT ON ME AS AN ARMY WIFE
Within reading the first couple of chapters, this book met a need I didn’t know I had. The concept and phrase “sacred spaces” captured the heart of the issues in our military marriage (the nature of his military career that led to time apart, changes, stressors, struggling to understand each other and communicate, etc.). Some of the hardest moments in my military marriage have been when I have cried out to my husband, “I feel like we are two separate people, living two separate lives, and I can’t take it.” At one point Corie shares in an email to her husband, “I have no words…I just don’t understand, I can’t fathom your existence there –and I hate that – exactly what I feared. How will I ever know? How will I ever be what you need for me to be when I haven’t been there?”
Like many military marriages, my husband and I have had to learn and fought hard to figure it out, and Sacred Spaces seeks to help do that for military marriages. Prior to this book, we didn’t have a name to call it or identify it which made it harder to understand what exactly this “it,” this divide, this disconnect, this thing that was affecting us so greatly. We just tried to suck it up, tell ourselves it was part of military life, and just kept trying to do the best we could. But that’s exhausting. And Corie Weather’s knows this herself, sharing how military life left her feeling exhausted and emptied at points too. She knew there was a better way but like most of us military spouses, figuring out the how was harder.
When Corie shared about “sacred spaces” and explained its application in military marriage, she gave this “thing” a name. Having a name for it made me feel like we had identified it, could tackle it, could seek to understand it, and finally figure out that how part that we were so desperately fighting for. It was like an “ah ha” moment, like a weight lifted, like a missing puzzle piece had been found. Two simple words. Sacred spaces.
Sacred Spaces came at a time when my husband and I were walking on a path to draw closer together, heal the things driving us apart, become intentional in our time together, and working hard to communicate better, and it was as though her path met ours. Shared sacred spaces. That’s where my husband and I were headed. Her words and insights on shared sacred spaces in military marriages gave me encouragement and wisdom to pursue that in my marriage – which is ultimately the challenge (and Corie has a campaign for this you can join on her website here). And let me tell you, I have the entire last chapter, which is very application based and motivational, highlighted, and I would share it with you, but you truly need to take the journey and reach the destination for yourself.
REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Sacred Spaces had me hooked from the very beginning as I embarked on Corie Weather’s “journey to the heart of military marriage” through her sharing of her experience overseas with our deployed troops as well her and her husband’s military experiences when he was deployed. My fellow Army wives, military spouses, family members, and even my friends who are non-military seeking to better their marriages, you need to read this book. This book will have you experiencing the “cool factor” of our husbands’ jobs, your heart beating at the intensity with which our service members live and serve, you crying over honest vulnerability as her and her husband share heart-wrenching significant moments in their lives and marriage, and your heart and marriage starting to heal in places you may not even been exactly aware of that needed healing. You will finish the book feeling enlightened, encouraged, and hopeful for healing and strengthening your marriage. Because no matter how good of a marriage you have, we all know it takes time, work, and investment, and it can always always be made better.
And one last personal note, I went through a long season of resentment, and if you’re feeling resentment creeping up in your heart regarding your spouse’s career and its affects on your life or him or your marriage, read this now. I wish I had had this book back then to help me conquer that sooner before it brought other negativity into our family that I have spent years battling.
Also, I have more to share! Please keep an eye out for part 2 of how reading Sacred Spaces has affected a non-military part of my life.
I’m going to leave you with Corie Weather’s dedication to her husband, because after reading Sacred Spaces, I’m turning her words into my prayer for my husband and military marriages everywhere:
“May this book be the beginning of actions above words, grace in imperfection, and new sacred spaces we share together.”
You can buy your copy of Sacred Spaces TODAY! Order online here.