MarriageCare is a three-day marriage retreat designed to revitalize strained military marriages and build marital resiliency. Written by Air Force Chaplains who have completed professional and continuing education at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in marriage and family ministry, MarriageCare can benefit couples who are struggling with their marriage or just need a marriage "tune-up."
Location of the Event: Each local wing/installation chapel chooses the location of their retreat and provide Chaplain Corps facilitators. Change in a couple begins with the anticipation of time away to focus on their relationship.
Structure of the Retreat: After the brief pre-session on Friday, there are four 1-hour sessions focused on four components of a set of traditional marriage vows, a 5-hour uninterrupted block of "Couple Time, and a final 30-minute post-session.
Four Sessions: "I Take Thee," focuses on family rules; "To Have and To Hold," focuses on reframing toward the positive; "For Better, For Worse," focuses on communication; "To Love and to Cherish," focuses on love and forgiveness.
Structure of the Sessions: Each session utilizes humor and involves 30% large group "advising;" 30% small group "normalizing;" 40% spouses "personalizing."
Philosophy of the Retreat: Only the couple and God are the experts in a couple's marriage: During a MarriageCare retreat, Chaplain Corps facilitators respect the couple and do not act as an expert in their marriage.
Roughly 65% of change occurs outside of sessions: During a MarriageCare retreat Chaplain Corps facilitators provide plenty of "couple-time" so couples can make changes outside of the sessions. Most retreats do not allow children, as bringing children can diminish a couple's opportunity for change.
A small change during a weekend away can create a large change for a marriage: We know there are many more issues that can be addressed in a marriage retreat, but we facilitate healthy changes in some important areas so couples will be able to better handle additional issues post retreat.
Success: Since it began in the summer of 2008, over 10,000 Airmen and spouses have attended MarriageCare retreats; 98% report strengthening of their marriage following a retreat; marital satisfaction pre to post-retreat has risen on average from 6.8 to 8.5 on a 10 point scale.
For more information, or to sign-up for a MarriageCare retreat, please contact your local Air Force Chaplain Corps personnel.