Handsome in their dress blues uniforms, our good friends—fellow Marines—raised an Arch of Swords, and my Marine and I walked arm in arm down the church steps. Family and friends cheered as the men lowered and crossed their swords to pause our exit, and my husband and I kissed. Our best man swatted my behind with his sword and said, “Welcome to the Marine Corps, Mrs. Pavlicin!”
This wedding tradition, in which military service members shelter a newly-married couple beneath an Arch of Swords (or Sabers) as they exit the church and go out into the world, was originally created as a symbol of welcoming a new spouse into military life and a pledge of fidelity from the military member’s branch of service to the new couple.
Every military family member, whether or not they’ve walked beneath an arch of swords, has a story about the beginning of their military family life and their first experience of being welcomed into the military community. Many were born into it, others married into it, and some entered military life when they themselves chose to serve.
By the time I married my Marine, we had already experienced two deployments, more than one household move, a change in my work status, and all the fun of maintaining a relationship across multiple state lines. Those experiences, and our military family life in the years following our official Arch of Swords welcome, helped shape the person I am today and my view of what it means to belong to a community.
Many of my closest friends are those who went through deployments, moves, and other military life challenges with me. Life is better when you go through it with friends who understand.
Today, I have the distinct honor of continuing to support military families in my work as publisher at Elva Resa Publishing, the leading US publisher of books for military families.
Elva Resa’s team of authors, illustrators, and editors is grounded in the military community. Using our collective experience, we work together to serve and support military families and to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
And so, we welcome you to Military Family Life, an online resource offering information and encouragement to military families. A gathering of friends. Launched in November 2017 as part of Elva Resa’s 20-year anniversary celebration, Military Family Life celebrates all that is inspiring, challenging, and unique in military life.
You’ll find ideas and advice from other military family members who share their experience with the hope it will make this life a little easier, a little more meaningful, for a fellow military family.
We focus on the topics that form the backdrop of military life: the ongoing adjustments of spending time apart and coming together again; transitioning to new locations, jobs, and schools; and taking care of ourselves and our relationships amid an often-stressful life of service.
No matter what stage of military life you are living—newly married, going through your sixth deployment, or getting ready to retire after a long career—military life is better when you go through it with friends who get it.
We’re glad you’re here. Welcome to Military Family Life.
Feature photo: Arch of Swords at the wedding of Karen Price and Lt Bob Pavlicin, USMC. Photo credit: M. Ferguson. Photo use courtesy of Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito.