During the 2015 Christmas season, Corie Weathers was given the opportunity of a lifetime: to travel with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter for one week overseas to gain a better understanding of what troops endured when deployed. Not only was she able to get a glimpse of what her husband Matthew, an Army chaplain, experienced when he was deployed for a year, but she was also able to gain a new understanding of both sides of the military family spectrum while also strengthening her military marriage. The 2015 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year® shares her experience with readers everywhere in her memoir Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage.
Memoirs can be incredibly intriguing reads. Learning about real life stories shared by real people allows readers to learn more about the world and the people living within it. Sacred Spaces is one such intriguing memoir that focuses more on military life and what it is like to be a member of a military family. Being the wife of an Army chaplain as well as traveling overseas herself, Weathers has experienced much in her life so far, making for a very captivating story. Not only does she share her experiences of someone waiting for a service member to return home, but also what she learned from service members deployed overseas. On top of her experiences, she also shares how all of these experiences have strengthened her marriage and how every couple, from military and non-military backgrounds, can find ways to strengthen relationships and marriages that will last a lifetime.
With the many stories Weathers shares with her readers, one would think it may be difficult to organize all of her information in a way for readers to easily follow. As it turns out, a rather appealing aspect of her memoir IS how organized it is set up. In less than 200 pages, she shares her stories in a well-rounded memoir with a wonderful mix of both her time as a military wife waiting for her husband when he was deployed overseas in 2009-2010 as well as her own time overseas in 2015 writing about service members’ experiences to share with families waiting in the States.
For what Weathers writes about, the military can be a rather tender topic and readers, depending on what background they come from, will each take something different away from Weathers’ memoir. No matter the readers’ background, Sacred Spaces will reach out to a wide audience and all who read it will enjoy it. Weathers evens defines the meaning of “sacred spaces” early on in her book, a term anyone from any lifestyle can relate to. “We began to call these times ‘sacred spaces.’ This gave us terminology and neutral territory to say to each other, ‘I’ve been through something so big that I’m different because of it. I can’t change that, but I need you to tread lightly when I talk about it. You can’t fix it, and we definitely can’t ignore it.’ We are all changed by experiences, particularly those we cannot resolve. We live differently because of them” (Weathers 18).
Whether someone serving the United States is deployed half a world away or is lost in the line of duty, it is very understandable for it to be difficult to explain to anyone what struggles not only the people who serve go through, but the military family members, as well. However, it is important for people on the outside to grasp some sort of understanding of what military families endure and Weathers does an excellent job at expressing these struggles through her memoir, Sacred Spaces. It is difficult to express what readers will take away from Weathers’ memoir, for everyone will take away something different. However, what can be guaranteed is that readers will gain a better understanding of the strength needed and expressed by families involved in any branch of the military. It is a difficult lifestyle, but the strength and love found within these families is greater than any one will find in the world.
**To the brave men and women serving in every military branch and to their families’ undying love and support, THANK YOU**