You Are Not Alone
A fellow military wife wrote this to a marine wife who this past week told her she thinks her marriage is over. It took her several days to compose the email and of course, a lot of prayer. We wanted to share her notes with you… here it goes.
I have been praying and thinking all weekend for you and for military marriages. So many of my friends and at times, my own marriage has been at risk. Several of my most dear friends have ended their marriages and its been just a terribly sad thing and there was a time when we thought our marriage was doomed too.
Jesus Christ our Lord can salvage and save even the most unrecognizable broken and burned marriage. When you asked me what books do I recommend the very first one I thought was, “The Bible”. REALLY studying it together, really reading it to learn WHO the Lord is and letting Him tell you who HE is in the midst of all of this. Upon further reflection, I really liked when my husband and I did a very hard Bible study together called “The Marriage Builder” by Dr. Larry Crabb. I recommend doing this with a pastor or at least a check in with an accountability group because things discovered and shared during it may be painful and it clearly states that some things discovered in you, should NOT be shared with your spouse as the time is so tender.
I have learned from that study and from prayer and time alone with the Lord that my relationship with the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) 100% matters and his personal relationship to the Lord God matters. If each of us are working on that, it overflows into our marriage. Satan lies to us. He tells us that our significance and security comes from our spouse, our job, our peers, our rank, our ” ” you fill in the blank. As a result we become resentful of that very thing. Mostly because it does not offer that kind of security and significance that only Jesus can offer.
I wish I knew your husband well enough to ask him. “Where are you finding your significance and your security?” If its in the Corps, he will throw all of his energy, extra time, and mind into it and at the end of his career will turn around and you will be gone. He will have nothing and the Corps will not need or even want him one day. This was a very startling realization to my husband. He was giving his all plus some to the Corps but then to learn that it was not going to be there for him in the end, and maybe neither would I, rocked him to the core of his being. He then shifted his goals to how do I keep what matters most while working in a job that takes me away from her, that she has a love/hate relationship with and that I LOVE?
Unfortunately, due to the pain we were both causing to one another during all this allowed Satan the foothold to offer us plenty of alternative things for us to find momentary pleasure in, which ultimately only made a wedge to distance and cause more resentment in one another.
“Oh we never can prove the delights of His love, until all on the alter we lay”
We each had to surrender it all. Our chasing of worldly pleasures, our chase to find significance or security in the other things and people, the work, the Corps, the children, the marriage, each other, ourselves up on the alter.
We now do counseling EVERY year for about 12 weeks. It doesn’t matter if we have an “issue” or not. We go. We talk things out with someone there to mediate to hear what we are both saying and to help us say it better. We check in with one another and we date one another.
Here is something I am STILL working on that was identified by the counselor and really helped both of us. Maybe to you, it will seem obvious but it wasn’t to us. When my husband would have to go away for either a deployment or especially for training I would get VERY nasty. My temper flares over the littlest thing, I complain about how he is doing things around the house, I even fantasize about him leaving so I can do it my way and tell him so…as a result we usually are then tempted to turn to our secret sins as a way to cope…the counselor said, “maybe she acts like that because she is too afraid to say what she really feels” And that sound like me…
Bottom line, now when I am nasty before he leaves, he takes me by the shoulders and says, “you are acting like this or saying that because deep down you don’t want me to go. You miss me already. I am going to respond to you in love because I know that the reason you miss me is because you love me. I don’t want to go and I hate leaving you too. But I will not respond in anger or sin because I know what you can’t verbalize is that you love me and don’t want me to go because you need me”
I am such a hard head that I can’t say that. I am crying now typing it. But its true. I am so hard headed and obstinate. For years, my husband couldn’t wait to leave me because I was so mean to him and even now I have a VERY hard time admitting to him I don’t want him to go. I want you here. I love you. I need you. So until I can figure out why that is so hard to me to say, he waits and loves me through it. Thank God for counseling! And now instead of pushing him away when he says this to me, holding my shoulders, I collapse in his arms and cry or say, “yes.”
It also helped to have accountability partners. Its okay if you don’t have a lot in common with the person…my husband has a guy that is also married with kids that are much older than ours but the man travels a lot for his job and I don’t know what they talk about but its good for them. My partner picks up the phone at 3am and keeps me straight. She listens without judgement but in humility and mercy points me to scripture. She has no children and is older than me but gets being a very independent woman who doesn’t admit things to herself (like me).
Finally, a small group is key. I know our guys are gone a lot if not most the time, but we all need to be doing life together. We will be having a small group here starting in February through our church but if you’re not already in one, come to ours. Or find one through your church. It keeps us on the straight and narrow to be praying for one another and helping one another do this life TOGETHER.
You’re not alone. And this life is hard. It’s VERY hard. Especially our men’s jobs. That’s why I asked if your husband is willing to pray. If he is really willing to pray and to seek the Lord then his priorities will be in alignment with God’s. And in the end, that will bless you as his wife.
I know I haven’t even mentioned the possibility of what may need to change in your lives to make your marriage succeed. Bottom line, you both should be willing to give up whatever necessary to fulfill the calling of marriage. I have learned that when you do, The Lord often gives you what you really most wanted in the first place because of our obedience and worship to Him.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above”
Everything we try to do to make us happy then, is a chase. And you and your husband are both chasing. He is chasing the Corps and you are chasing “fill in the blank”.
I am praying FOR you. WITH YOU.. I am here for you. You are not alone.