Military spouses are a really diverse bunch, but there’s one thing we all have in common -- one way in which we are all exactly the same with no differences whatsoever:
We’re all married to a service member.
I love that even while we celebrate our individuality, we can pow-wow around the subject of marriage knowing that it impacts every single one of us.
The folks over at In-Dependent know that too. Founded to promote self-care and emotional and mental health for military spouses, In-Dependent is hosting its second annual five day virtual Military Spouse Wellness Summit the week of October 17. And it's free. Conducted as a series of podcasts with experts combined with online group discussion, the summit lets spouses access important topics without the pressure to travel or spend a ton of money.
"Last year the summit focused on health, wellness and investing in yourself," said Michele Bradfield, In-Dependent’s executive director. But when their most popular subject over those few days turned out to be marriage, Bradfield knew that this year they had to just focus on that.
“In the private group there were so many questions about marriage, and people were kind of bleeding their emotions,” she said.
To help with their marriage-centric focus the team asked military marriage guru and certified counselor Corie Weathers to lead the charge. And let me just say -- the collection of experts that Weathers has done interviews with for this event is really impressive. Dr. John Townsend, for example, is well known for his work on boundaries, while Dr. Michael Sytsma is known for his sex therapy counseling.
“The interviews that we actually have this year are so outstanding that it’s just very rare to get some of them,” Weathers said. “We wanted to address really real topics about marriage.”
That the summit is virtual is what makes it possible, Bradfield and Weathers both noted. Not only is it often just too much and too expensive to ask military spouses to travel somewhere, but the organization would not be able to afford to bring all of these speakers together under one roof. This low cost method makes it easy to participate while ensuring the whole is even possible.
Participants who want to join the summit for free can do so – but the team is putting together a low cost admission for those who want a few extra perks. For $15 for early birds and $27 for others, participants can have long term access to the recorded interviews and be entered to win a parade of prizes. They also will be included in a special discussion group where they can tackle the topics in-depth.
Weathers said she thinks the paid-for version is worth it if only so participants can have their spouses listen to the interviews later, too.
“The free option is great because you’ll benefit from it, but for some of these topics … being able to listen to your spouse and listen at the same time, to me that’s worth the VIP ticket,” Weathers said.
I’ll be registering for this summit VIP style and giving these topics a listen -- and I hope you do, too. You can use this link to sign-up. See you there!