Married to the Military: Maintaining a Strong Christian Foundation


Today I am so happy to bring you this blog post titled, Married to the Military: Maintaining a Strong Christian Foundation. I hope that in the future, we can really expand on this topic, because I know there are so many military women out there who need encouragement from other women who are dealing with the same exact challenges that they are. And the same goes for the guys! There are so many temptations overseas and away from their families that challenge them in so many different ways. Today, however, this post is geared towards the women that are left behind during a deployment. I hope it touches your heart. Please feel free to share with other military wives, and please don't forget to keep them in your prayers as well! --Amy {A Godly Marriage Blog}

Married to the Military: Maintaining a Strong Christian Foundation
Guest Blogger: Clarissa Fleming

Being a Christian wife during deployment isn't really any different than being a wife in general. And yet, at the same time, it is completely different. I am not going to pretend for one split second that I did everything right, but maybe you can learn some tricks from me that can help you as you jump into this journey they call ‘deployment’.

Your role will change
One of the most important elements of marriage is the journey. Growing together -- to be a couple, to be parents, to be friends. This is the hardest part about deployments. When you spend 6 months, a year,  18 months (or longer) apart in different countries and walks of life, you both change. The soldier learns not to trust and to always be on alert for danger. The wife learns to be self-sufficient and runs the household without her spouse. These are important, in that both partners have to develop these traits in order to survive and thrive during a deployment. But what happens in return?
"Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if some husbands are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."[1 Peter 3:1-4]
We are told by God to be submissive to our husbands, yet we have to be assertive during the deployment. Wives have to be the ‘man’ of the house. When each of you return to ‘normal life', the husband can easily feel that he isn't needed. The wife can feel proud that she made it through and can look at what she has done while her husband was gone. But the balancing act during this time is hard and critical. Do not be surprised when arguments arise over 'stupid' things, such as taking out the trash! When our true head of household returns, we are required to go back into our roles of submissiveness. This doesn't mean we should be walked all over, but it does mean that we are called to be gentle and have a quiet spirit – not overpowering or ‘overriding’ our husband’s choices or decisions. It will not be easy, and it will be beneficial (for both of you) to speak to one another about any concerns you might have regarding his return. Not only will the two of you have to return to your roles as husband and wife, but it will affect your children’s emotions as well. There will be confusion as to who makes the ‘final call’ when it comes to discipline and decisions – but in all situations, communicate your feelings clearly and calmly. Communication is key when a spouse returns from deployment.

Loneliness during deployment
Loneliness during deployment is perhaps the hardest thing about the process. Many don't realize that you not only lose your spouse, but you also lose all of the activities that involved them. For example, maybe you and your husband always got together with Sue and John for dinner. With your husband gone, will you still have them over? Will they invite you over? I have found that you don't go to Sue and John’s. It might make them feel awkward and thus, you have lost that fellowship that was once a part of your married world.

If you are a parent, it is even harder. Imagine, if you will, that you go out once a month on a date night with your hubby. This is a time to talk as adults and let the kids have a sitter for a few hours. Will you do that during a deployment? Of course not, but will you go out by yourself to have ‘me’ time? In general, if the kids cannot go to something, you don't go either. There is no leaving them with dad to run to the store or get your hair cut. With toddlers, you would not believe how hard it is to schedule a haircut! The wives that I have seen thrive have always started something that was theirs. They might take up knitting or start a home based business -- something that helps fill in that gap, something that grants you permission to be more than just ‘mom’. Do something for you! A wonderful book called Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives by Jocelyn Greene was a huge help for me. I recommend every deployment wife read it.

Patience is a virtue?
Your patience as a parent WILL be less. Why? Because not only are you overwhelmed, but your emotions are stretched very thin. You don't want him gone, you worry about him, are you doing things right? The kids will act out more just because they sense the stress in your tone and body language, and then the entire thing magnifies.

Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This verse is hard to follow for me during deployments. For example: The news has just announced that there has been an attack on a base near Kabul in Afghanistan. You don't know anything about it, because you don't watch the news. And quite frankly, you’re better off that way most days. However, your friend, sister or mother-in-law sees it and immediately calls you saying something like, “I just heard Greg's base was attacked, is he okay?” Up until the moment you received that phone call, you were sure that they were perfectly fine. Now you’re a mess -- you can’t contact him. You race to the computer -- there are no messages. His skype is off, no facebook activity and all you can do is wait as the kids decide to play rough and hit each other with a toy. A relatively normal thing, but because your nerves are shot, you yell at them. They are in tears, you are in tears... what do you do now? First DO NOT tell them you are worried about Daddy! Nothing good will come from that. Instead, tell them you are so sorry. Ask their forgiveness and just say you miss Daddy. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had to ask my kids forgiveness because my patience was gone.

Start training yourself on how to react to your children when your patience is non-existent, or how to react in certain situations. No military wife ever wants to go through these scary times, and no wife wants to deal with cranky children by herself (whether daddy is in danger or not). But you are certain to have these moments when in a military marriage, and since you know they might come, begin to train your mind and your emotions on how to deal with them. Doing things repeatedly and training yourself to react will eventually become habitual and will definitely be helpful during the hard times. Make sure you have a game plan instead of going into it blind. Lean on the word of God when your husband’s shoulder isn't there for you to lean on. And always, always, remember to ask your children for forgiveness when you lose your patience.

There are so many aspects of a deployment, and many are different depending on whether you work or are a homemaker – whether you have children or not. You have to have a ton of patience, trust and faith, that in the end, you will be together again.

And…
…one last tip. If you cry in the shower, your face and eyes won’t get red or puffy. This is when I started showering at night. It is a way to release after the kids are in bed. And it gives you that one simple “alone moment” to cast all of your cares on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).









2 comments

  1. I too am a military Christian spouse and this blog truly blessed me. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  2. I too am a military Christian spouse and this blog truly blessed me. Thank you

    ReplyDelete