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The past few days have been the hardest so far in this deployment. The first two days I had friends, appointments, and errands that kept me busy, but then there wasn’t much to do. I realize this is only the first week and I plan on getting into a good schedule. My husband has arrived safe and sound, and he is getting into a new schedule as well.
My friends and family and even my blog readers have been so supportive and such a blessing to me during this time. I have received so many comments, messages and emails from everyone, and so many of them have been so helpful to me. So much in fact, that I thought I would share some of them with you today.
One of the biggest fears/questions that has been in mind lately is: How are can I keep my marriage strong when we have such little contact? What if we grow apart? What if we change? I am assuming that I am not the only one who has thought this before. Here are some of the awesome responses I got to such questions. I hope they encourage you as they did me.
My Question:I am really discouraged because me and my husband have not been able to talk for any longer than 2 minutes at at time. I am assuming that maybe it’s like this for everyone’s deployment, but I don’t see how you can keep a marriage up when this is all there is to put into it. So I guess my question is: How do you keep your marriage going when you can’t even talk. Sure, I can write email, letters, and send pictures, but marriage is two-sided and I can’t help but ask myself, What’s it going to be like by the end of this deployment? What do you all do?
“First, remember you’re still in the first week. That first week is ALWAYS hard. Sometimes the first month is. He’s adjusting to where he is, you’re adjusting to the fact he’s not with you. Also, deployment is definitely a give and take, and often, you do feel like you’re giving a whole lot. But give it time. He’s going to get his footing, and both of you will figure out the rhythm of what communication is going to be like while he’s gone. It depends on where he is and what they have available.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from the 2 deployments I’ve been through is that you CAN’T take it personally. You just can’t. You’ll tear yourself up, and you’ll add more stress to your husband’s situation. Deployments are just seasons. As hard as it feels right now, it will eventually end, and your sweet hubby will be back in your arms (and the homecoming is a wonderful thing – you can’t beat that rush when you see him back in front of you!) And yes, the letters and the emails are good. I think I heard recently of one wife who wrote an email every day just letting her husband know how her and the kids days went. This is a good thing to do – it keeps you in touch with your husband, and lets him know you’re thinking about him.
The last thing I’ll say is something I had to learn the hard way in our first deployment – deployments are a great lesson in where we place God, and where we place our husbands. What I mean is, my first deployment, my husband was my absolute world, and when I couldn’t hear from him, or didn’t feel like he was there supporting me, it crushed me!! But God taught me slowly but surely that my priorities were out of whack – my trust, my focus, my hope, needed to be on God – and my support needed to go to my husband. Now, that didn’t mean I still didn’t expect my husband to try or that he was off the hook for 10 months, no way! But it meant that I stopped putting all my hope in my husband, and instead, I put it on God. And things got a LOT better.
Deployment can be extremely frustrating and heartbreaking… we have to remember though where our source of joy really comes from – and that’s God. And He’s with us no matter what.” –Sara Horn
And then I said…
I guess I am just scared that our marriage is not going to be what it used to be by the time this deployment is done. I understand that he might not have a lot of time, and I totally understand that I will be putting more into it right now, but what if we hardly know each other by the end? I just know between his shifts he has online class and who knows what else, and I am like wow… we may barely ever get to talk.
“Totally normal feelings. Absolutely. And I think a lot of us struggle with that thought. But you have to focus on the closeness you had as a couple before he left and trust that you’ll have that when he gets back, because you’re going to do the things you need to do to keep that communication going in between. What I find is that the couples who were close before usually are still close afterwards. It’s the couples who are struggling before that often go one of two ways – either deployment makes them realize the importance of what they have and they get closer, or it drives them farther apart. You’re going to be absolutely fine. Focus on what God wants to teach you during this time apart and how you can still show love and support to him. It’s going to be a growing time, but you’re going to step back at the end of all of it, and just say Wow. God is good.” –Sara Horn
“You have to remember too, that your marriage is a living organism. Your marriage will NOT be what it was before – and you have to kinda get some of those expectations out of your head. It cannot be unaffected by deployment in both positive and negative ways. It will be different. Does that mean it’s bad? No. There will be good things and bad things… new things you have to adjust to when he comes home. And your marriage will be different. But it can be better.” –Aprille
“I am so sorry you are struggling with this. We are all there at some point. I am struggling with the change in relationship too, and this is my 3rd deployment. Until yesterday I had a picture of me and my husband kissing on our honeymoon as my profile picture, because I was wanting to feel that exact way again… but we have changed in the past 7 years. People change, and deployments are just another way that happens. But it does happen to all marriages… he changes, then everyone adjusts… you change, then everyone adjusts… then you both change. Sometimes your dedication to God and your marriage will be the only thing that is constant. That is not to say that your marriage will change THIS year… it might not, but if it does, it will be okay.” -Tia
“I understand what you’re going through. I’ve realized that there have to be different expectations during deployment. Be confident in the love and relationship that you and your husband have when he IS home. Things are different just for right now. Pray, pray, pray that God will protect your marriage and keep you two close in your hearts. God also is your strength to help you deal with things on your own when your hubby is gone. As a wife and mother, He wants us to bring our concerns to Him first, and try to figure things out with Him first, do you know what I mean? God loves you and will get you through this.” -Kelly
“I can understand your fear about what your marriage is going to be like after a long period of separation and little communication. I realized I could be “doing” all the right things to make a good marriage but I had to place my faith in God to protect and grow my marriage. It feels really foolish, and I really wanted to “do” something. I was challenged that God who was able to save me in salvation and do an amazing work in redeeming me to his image is the same God who will do His work in preserving our marriage.
Sure, as a wife I am responsible to keep writing letters, sending packages, writing e-mails sending pictures and being as creative as humanly possible to encourage and love my husband halfway across the world but ultimately I can’t place my confidence in those things. I can’t do enough of those things to make my marriage good or keep it good. I have to place my faith in God to continue to grow our marriage, and really I wouldn’t want the responsibility to all fall on what I do or even what my husband did because I know we would fail each other.
I don’t mean to sound all “spiritual” on you. I am right there with you; the fear and pain of your heart being ripped apart and the fear that this marriage that means so much to you and you have worked so hard and probably abandoned families and friends for, will be so different when he gets back. God knows all of that!
I’ll be praying for you that you will be able to talk with your husband but I’ll also be praying that you will be able to place your faith in God to preserve and grow your marriage.” -Rebecca
“Hello Kathryn. My name is Andrea; i’m just another military wife but felt compelled to share a message with you and/or anyone else that might be needing to hear this. When my husband deployed last year, I felt so alone. And even though, it was his 2nd deployment, I was still unable to mentally and emotionally prepare myself completely. I got this e-mail about a month after he left and I have kept it this entire time because there were some days I would have to go back and read it again…and again…and again.
Message: ‘Both times my husband left, I gave myself permission to cry. After I had a big cry, I’d think to myself “ok, that’s enough! I’m pulling myself together and getting through this day.” Can’t say that pep talk worked the entire day each time, but it did help! Tears form in my eyes just thinking about what you’re going through. I’ve been there but not with kids. Can’t imagine how you feel today. I’m praying for you that God will hold you up & keep you strong over the next year. Some of my closest moments to God have been in times when my husband was gone. I pray that you are blessed with moments like that.
I also want to share a bit of wisdom my dad shared with me the last time my husband was gone. He told me that people would be watching how I handle the situation. Will it glorify God or will I crumble & not trust? I can’t say that every moment he was gone glorified God! I’m human, but it did give me motivation to allow God to use me in that time. It gave me the strength to show people who God is through my struggles. I know that’s a lot to think about & not AT ALL what you want to do today. Today, cry, be mad, & scared because I know that’s what you must truly be feeling. ‘
This message really touched my heart and I just wanted to share it with you. If you don’t need it, then maybe you know someone else who does. I pray that it touches another military wife as it touched me
In Christian Love,
I have gotten tons of other messages and notes of encouragement, but these are the ones that really stand out in my mind. I hope that maybe they can be an encouragement for you as well. Thank you all for everything you have done to make me feel loved, and cared for. I know that each and every prayer has worked to give me peace.
Meanwhile, stay-tuned for lots of up-coming deployment tips coming to this blog! For those who read my blog, but have no affiliation with the military don’t worry I will still be blogging about other subjects too.
(All photos were taken by Ashley Robinson with Oopsydaisyphotography for our pre-deployment pictures.)