To those of us in the military community, the term “core values” is a familiar one. We all know the core values of our branch of service, the ideals and standards by which we are to live and serve.

Air Force doctrine defines core values as, “…a statement of those institutional values and principles of conduct that provide the moral framework for military activities.”

Core values are those things that are non-negotiables. They remind us of who we are and help us filter decisions and opportunities in a way that keeps us vectored on our goals and ideals.

“Frequent reflection on the core values helps each of us refocus on the person we want to be and the example we want to set.”
General Michael E. Ryan, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force (CSAF), 1997-2001

Earlier in our marriage, Jacob and I decided to determine some core values for our marriage. We thought of things on our own, then we came together, discussed, and picked the values we considered top non-negotiables. I used it for some art therapy while Jacob was away once and painted it onto a sign that has hung by our door in every house since. We go there every day to get or put away our hats and keys, so it’s a daily reminder of what we committed to do in our marriage.

Core values are also good to develop for yourself personally, or for other roles you may have as a military leader, parent, etc. These are the ones we came up with for us, as an example:

  • We dedicate ourselves and our marriage to God’s plan.
  • We stay together until death do us part.
  • We give each other our best.
  • We guard our integrity and our honor.
  • We celebrate each other’s victories as a win for the team.
  • We communicate and trust.
  • We prioritize each other with our time.

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We’ve got this sign hanging by our door that holds our covers and keys, and it’s also a good reminder of our “Team Rogers” marriage commitment when we come home each day. This is what we’ve decided: • We dedicate ourselves and our marriage to God’s plan. • We stay together until death do us part. • We give each other our best. • We guard our integrity and our honor. • We celebrate each other’s victories as a win for the team. • We communicate and trust. • We prioritize each other with our time. It’s been a good reminder and standard to live up to over the years we’ve been married so far! . . . #militarymarriage #dualmilitary #miltomil #airforcecouple #militarycouple #airforcelife #militarylife #airforcelove #marriagetips #healthymarriage

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When it comes to making decisions (both big life decisions and small daily choices), we use these to filter our options and make a good choice that will keep us moving toward our goals. Things like this:

We’ve got a new assignment cycle coming up. How do we decide what to put on our dream list?
Well, “We dedicate ourselves and our marriage to God’s plan,” so before anything else, we’re going to pray about it and ask God.

That attractive person I sat next to on the plane offered their phone number to me in case I wanted to get dinner sometime while on this TDY. Should I keep it?
As Rogers, “We guard our integrity and our honor,” so best not. 

It seems like Jacob is promoting faster and getting more stratifications and awards than me. How do I choose to respond to that?
“We celebrate each other’s victories as a win for the team,” so I choose to cheer him on and be proud of him!

I’m TDY and I haven’t called home in a couple days. I’m really tired and not feeling it, though.
We’ve committed to “prioritize each other with our time” and “communicate and trust,” so I’ll call because I have the opportunity to do so and nurturing our relationship is important.

Have you and your spouse thought about what your marriage core values are? If so, we’d love to hear them!
What helps you guys stay on track toward your marriage goals?