Rediscovery – the biggest lesson I ever learned.
One of the hardest parts about being married to a military man is the separation. The days that stretch into weeks and then months with only being able to get in touch sporadically (and usually at the worst possible moment).
When it begins to feel normal that he’s gone, alarm bells should start ringing in your mind.
Even if he’s away for great swathes of time, that is only a season in a lifelong commitment. While in preparation for being a military wife, you can to an extent, anticipate the time apart, no one pulls you aside and explains what it’ll be like when he gets home.
Oh that they would.
The first year in our little apartment, Biggles spend two-thirds of it away. First deployed and then on a ten-week training exercise. To survive it, I got into a tight routine so that my time was all filled and I didn’t have much space to miss him.
That was a rookie mistake and a massive error. Having been fully loved up and very close before he left, we fought like never before when he returned. The first few days were wonderful, but after that, I was annoyed every time he did something differently to the way I’d been doing it, and he felt surplus to my busy life.
So here’s what I learned – the very hard way: those of us that stay at home must find a way to need our men and yet live independently from them. We have to leave room in our lives for our husbands, but not wilt like three-week-old tulips when they’re away.
Yes, it’s crazy difficult. But here’s the thing – love comes first. When I come first, my heart, my agenda, then it turns out there’s no room for him or what he needs from me. And when he comes first, then it doesn’t take long before I’m resentful at him for my needs not being met. Instead, love comes first. When I humbly do whatever is loving, the Lord multiplies that in my marriage.
It comes from the book of Matthew, chapter 22 where someone asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. He tells them this:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
From personal experience, this takes great humility but yields huge rewards. I only find the strength to sustain humility when I am putting my relationship with Jesus first. Prayer, daily quiet time, worship and fellowship with other Christians. And repeat.
People often ask me how I manage to be a military wife (“how do you put up with all the separation and the uncertainty? I couldn’t do it, you’re very brave.” Etc.) That’s how. By putting Jesus first I can put my Biggles second and love him the best.
For more information about my military wives Bible study, please contact me here. I’d love to hear from you.