There are many things that our service members go through that we can never really understand because we haven’t experienced them. Some of them are things I don’t want to understand – like how it feels to put your friend in a body bag. But some of them are things I simply don't know because I haven’t been there. I haven’t been deployed. I haven’t traveled to the Middle East.
But one civilian military spouse is getting a firsthand look at life in the Middle East as an honorary member of the press corps -- and sharing her experiences with those of us still at home.
Corie Weathers, the Army chaplain corps spouse who in May was selected as Armed Forces Insurance’s Military Spouse of the Year, is currently traveling as a Military Spouse Magazine correspondent with Defense Secretary Ash Carter on his holiday trip to visit deployed troops. And she’s vlogging her daily experiences.
If you're a spouse who is also a former service member or you are currently serving, you're probably thinking "so what?" But here's the thing: Corie isn't a traditional member of the press, and she's never been in the military. So during this trip to the Middle East she's not seeing what's going on through the eyes of someone who has deployed, and she's not seeing it through the lens that I, a reporter, would use. She's only seeing it as a spouse. And that's a very cool thing.
I got to spend an entire evening one-on-one with Corie this October, and I cannot tell you how impressed I was with not only her care for other spouses, but her smart perspective on the needs, wants, hurts and joys of our community. Corie is the person you want to sit next to at every military spouse event. She’s the one you want greeting you at the door.
As a licensed mental health counselor, Corie already has a unique view into what makes military spouses and their relationships emotionally strong. Her goal as the spouse of the year has always been strengthening military marriages. She said she’s planning to use the inside scoop she gets during her trip to help us make our marriages even stronger.
One of the ways to do that, she said, is to simply try to put ourselves in our spouse’s shoes to understand what they are going through and dealing with.
“There are times that we are never going to understand, and it’s going to feel like there’s this gap that’s between us,” she said in her first day’s vlog. “But there’s other things that we can understand, and it’s just about us choosing to slow ourselves down and put ourselves in their shoes and think about hwat they may be feeling and experiencing.”
Corie said she will be vloging and tweeting her experiences and insights throughout her trip. You can read all about how she ended up doing this on her blog over here, and keep track of her daily uploads on her Facebook page here. You can also follow the hashtag #powerofmarriage or her Twitter account.
"I'm not here to report on policy, I'm here to experience this from a spouse perspective," she said in her day two vlog. "I'm in this situation representing a lot of military spouses who don't have prior military experience. ... This is my opportunity to ... experience through our eyes what our service member goes through."