How They Met
“We met in jail!” is how Jennifer likes to begin telling the story of how she and Cory met. Jennifer and Cory met in March 2012 while they were both working within the criminal justice system in El Paso county, CO. Cory was a Deputy Sheriff at the time and Jennifer worked as an Inmate Specialist. Jennifer recounts seeing Cory for the first time on that fateful day, saying, “I was absolutely awestruck.” She even called her mom after their introduction and exclaimed that she had “electricity” with the “most handsome” guy she had ever seen. Cory felt the same way explaining that his exact thoughts were, “Wow, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.” The second time Jennifer saw Cory, she was just as shy and nervous as she was the first time. She says, “I got butterflies every time I saw him.” Cory and Jennifer felt almost instantly that they were soulmates. Cory said, “Life before my spouse was pretty chaotic and lonely.” Jennifer explains, “That’s what made our courtship so special.”
Since Cory and Jennifer both worked in law enforcement, the time they were able to spend with one another was short, due to their conflicting work shifts. Cory described their relationship as ‘adventurous and spontaneous’ through their courtship due to their hectic schedules. Cory continued, “Jennifer pretty much rescued me from life”. Jennifer’s feelings for Cory were just as strong. The two eloped to Colorado in November of 2013. In the state of Colorado, a wedding officiant is not required to perform a ceremony to make it official, so Cory and Jennifer decided to marry themselves. Jennifer recounts the day, “We exchanged vows and cried like babies!” They stayed at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a beautiful mountainside resort in Tabernash, CO. After their ‘I do’s’, they enjoyed snow sledding. Their wedding day was exactly what they had hoped it would be. “It was absolutely the perfect day!” Jennifer said.
When asked about challenges in their marriage, Jennifer talks about how she and Cory feel about their relationship. She says, “Our marriage has seemingly been filled with more ups and downs than the average marriage.” Cory already struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) from several deployments when he served in the US Army, before he met Jennifer. He suffered the loss of a friend and fellow Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) in an officer-involved shooting in February 2018. Losing his friend and learning three other officers were critically injured on that tragic day in February sent Cory spiraling. Jennifer took a leave of absence to help manage their children, herself and Cory while he struggled through this difficult time. Jennifer and Cory’s challenge with his PTS came to a head on a trip they had taken to San Diego to try to take their minds off things. The first night of their trip they had the worst argument of their marriage, making the rest of their trip difficult. They both feared the end of their marriage was in sight. A few weeks after returning home, Cory quit his job as a Deputy Sheriff. Jennifer explained, “The stress of the job, coupled with his PTS and anxiety, was not something he could physically and emotionally manage any longer.” Cory and Jennifer began to put their recovery plan into action, but more challenges were around the corner. During a season of great trial - Jennifer suffered a stroke, their youngest child suffered from seizures and underwent surgery, and Cory’s father was diagnosed with cancer – they struggled to find themselves as a couple. Jennifer reflects, “Financially, this has been a hard year. Emotionally, this has been a hard year. Mentally, this has been a hard year. I feel like despite our best efforts, it has been so easy to lose sight of one another.”
Reaching Out to CKFF
Cory was processing leaving the Sheriff’s office, thinking that he had spent his entire adult life in a violent career field and was ready to get to know himself again. At the same time, Jennifer began searching for anything that would help she and Cory manage his PTS. They looked at counseling options, marriage retreats, or anything they could use as a resource to help their family. Jennifer states, “We wanted to find balance again.” Jennifer reached out to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation (CKFF) and submitted a nomination for a Revitalization Retreat. She found the CKFF tagline, “Honoring God, Country, and Families who serve” was exactly what they were looking for.
CKFF was moved by the struggles and challenges that Cory and Jennifer were facing. The Foundation planned a trip for them and without even knowing, CKFF offered them a “do over” of the discouraging trip they took several months before. When Jennifer received the news of a trip to San Diego, she was stunned. She said, “Out of every city in the United States we could go, you ask about San Diego. If that isn’t God, I don’t know what is.” Cory and Jennifer checked into the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina in December 2018 for a long weekend! The most exciting part of the trip was swimming with dolphins at SeaWorld. Jennifer explains, “Cory and I both grew up wanting to be Marine Biologists and dreamed of swimming with dolphins. I legit cried when I got in the water with them. It was really lame and embarrassing, but I didn’t care at all. Cory couldn’t stop smiling.” Cory and Jennifer spent time holding hands, laughing and reconnecting. They had forgotten how to laugh and have fun, but on their Revitalization Retreat they were reminded just how much they love each other. Both Cory and Jennifer’s birthdays fall in the month of December, however, because of holidays and family commitments, they rarely celebrate. CKFF planned a birthday surprise at their last dinner of the weekend. Jennifer recounts, “When I blew out my candle and made my wish, I started to cry. I felt in that moment, like my wish had already come true.” The couple was thankful to have ended a trying year on a positive note.
Where They Are Now
Cory and Jennifer have experienced the heart of what CKFF has to offer—a chance to reconnect with your spouse without the everyday interruptions of life. Cory and Jennifer have found their purpose again. Jennifer confesses, “Cory has always been my best friend, but I forgot how to treat him.” Cory and Jennifer have greatly benefited from the coaching offered by CKFF before and after the Revitalization Retreat. With a few more marriage coaching sessions still to come, both are excited to continue walking the path their relationship is currently on. One of the tools that has been invaluable to them, that they learned during their CKFF marriage coaching, is how the breakdown of their own personal strengths influence their marriage and an understanding that inherent traits have an impact on their relationship. Jennifer says, “I think we have learned how to slow down, communicate, and really enjoy one another’s company.” Jennifer and Cory have reconnected as friends and as partners. They have gone back to basics realizing they may not have it all together, but together they have it all. CKFF gave them the opportunity to find one another again and they jumped at the chance to reconnect.
A Letter from Cory + Jennifer
Cory and I had the absolute best time. We love our children dearly but holy moly…we did whatever we wanted, when we wanted! Hot tub? Sure! A walk? Sure! A drive? Sure! We laughed, we cried (from happiness), we made so many new inside jokes, we high fived in public, we acted silly, we were spontaneous, we held hands! I think for me, I can truly say we reconnected as friends. Cory has always been my best friend but I forgot how to treat him like that. I’ve been so caught up trying to fix things I have forgotten how to just laugh and have fun.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
-Jennifer & Cory
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