Blog by Liz Braddock
It was something that I never thought I could ever do. It’s a good thing that God knows what we are capable of so much more than we know ourselves. He gives us the tools to do what is in front of us and He never leaves us to do it on our own. Trusting in God every second of every day is the only way that I can make it to tomorrow and all the days beyond.
When my husband joined the Navy, we had been married for almost a year and he had been struggling with a dead end job that barely paid the bills. We talked about it and prayed about it and then made the decision for him to enlist, not truly knowing what we were to face, but we were ready for the “adventure”. From the very beginning, we made a commitment to each other that divorce was not an option and that we would never threaten each other by using that word. Even if things got so hard that it seemed easier to quit, there was no plan B for us.
As you probably know, there can be a lot of separation in the Military and each couple has to maintain a marriage through all the seasons of this enlisted life. I definitely do not have all the answers, but I have learned a few key things that have helped to keep our marriage together and helped keep me from being frazzled, stressed and worried.
1. Remember the God promises
God promises that we can have a sound mind and that we can be calm. We can also trust Him to protect our husbands in any situation that they face on a ship, an airplane or on a battlefield.
2 Timothy 1:7 AMP
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline, abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control.”
Sometimes, I just repeat out loud the words that “I have a calm, well-balanced mind and I will NOT be afraid!” It is so easy to get sucked into the anxiety of being alone and stressed out about being left to manage everything yourself – so these words can bring calm in the middle of that storm.
Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you.”
You have to trust that God is right there with you and He won’t let you down. God is also with your husband and He is going before him and He will not leave him and He will protect him. My husband has had to be in very dangerous situations many times and because he had the reassurance that God was going before him, he had to check himself to make sure he was not taking unnecessary risks because he felt somewhat invincible. The safest place that you can possibly be is doing what God has called you to do, whether it be serving in the Military, or staying home to hold down the fort. You are in the safest place because you are in the center of God’s will. You have to trust Him in those promises, He is faithful to His Word.
2. Get on the same page
When it comes to your time apart whether it is a couple of weeks or several months. Establish ground rules for your communication.
– Who is going to pay the bills? Do you have a Power of Attorney in case you need it? Remember that being on the same page with your finances will ease the stress in a huge way.
– How often are you going to be able to communicate with each other? Will it be email, phone or snail mail? It is great to communicate with each other, but remember that your husband has a very important job to do and he has to be able to focus on his mission. Your husband will be more successful at his job if you can allow him to do it. Sticking to a schedule of emailing once a day is what we have done, that way, we can talk about the day we had and it gives us permission to have the rest of the day to do what we need to.
– Get involved while he is away so you have a support system around you. A great way to do that is to get yourself to church, get into a community group (Bible Study group), make friends and find somewhere to serve in the church. When you are doing that, you will have people around you that you can turn to when there is a really hard day or when something comes up that you feel you need help with.
3. Pray for each other every day
When we pray for each other, it truly makes a difference. There have been times that I felt the urgency to pray for him only to find out later that he was in a life and death situation and that God kept him protected. God can also give you both favor in everything that you do and bless you – you just have to ask Him. Here are some great things to include in a prayer for you and your husband.
Lord, I ask for…
Courage – To face and conquer my own fears and for my husband to do what he needs to do today.
Strength – In our bodies to do the mission and strength to resist temptations and to make the right choices.
Protection – For him from all those that would want to harm him and for me to be safe here at home.
Faith – I believe that you are with us and that all power rests in you. I believe that you are always by our sides and that you will never leave us.
4. Affair proof your marriage
First of all girls, let’s get real about this subject! There is no doubt that your guy is going to be faced with temptation and you will be faced with the same when you are apart. What you do with that temptation is the key.
You need to make a commitment to each other that it is NOT okay to stray! My husband has been approached on a number of occasions, it would have been so easy for him to give in, but he made a conscious choice not to. When I was faced with a choice of hanging out with a Dad and his kids just as friends, I had to say no, because I knew how it could look from the outside. You just have to not put yourself in situations where you have to make those choices. A good rule of thumb is to live by principles and not by consequences. Just because you think no one will know, doesn’t mean you should do it.
I have to admit that I forget to do these things sometimes and I struggle with the times that he is gone still, but I always go back to these basics and remember that I am not alone. We have been married for 30 years and we have been doing this Navy life for 29 years together. It is a conscious effort on both our parts to never have a plan B and to trust God that He is with us no matter if we are together or apart. We love God and we love serving our Country and we are so grateful that God asked us to do this mission together.
It is a mission for both the Military member and the spouse so put on your big girl pants honey, and know that God called you to be so much more than ordinary. You are extraordinary when you are walking in the center of God’s will. Remember that the task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you. ~Be Strong in the Lord and in the Power of His Might. – Ephesians 6:10 You’ve got this!