We received a text recently from friends who are well-known marriage conference speakers, wanting help with an upcoming talk to a group which will include Marines. They specifically wanted to know how we advise military couples on sexual intimacy given that much of their time is spent geographically separated because of deployment.
On the battlefields of the Civil War, one hundred and fifty-four years ago, the troops of the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederacy) experienced an event called for by their president, Jefferson Davis. On August 21, 1863, they observed a “day of prayer and fasting.” General Robert E. Lee issued this order in response to President Davis’ request: “The President of the Confederate States has, in the name of the people, appointed the 21st day of August as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. A strict observance of the day is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this army. All military duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended. . . .
It is a beautiful thing to see a couple get through something that challenges them in every area of their lives (like a deployment)—and because of faith they do not give up. When the deployment is over, they can look back over the months of discouragement/loneliness/fear and say with confidence, “My God took me through this.” And what if things did not go easily—struggles with children/finances/ temptations/health?
I'm not a young Army Wife. This is not my first, or my second, or my third or my (you get the picture) deployment. And it doesn't matter. I miss my soldier as much as the next wife. My kids miss their Daddy as much as any kids would. Deployments are hard regardless of who you are and what number this one is for you.
Without a doubt, Christopher Nolan’s powerful rendition of the evacuation of Dunkirk is one of the great cinematic hits of this summer. But a significant limitation of his telling is that the movie opens on the outskirts of Dunkirk in late May of 1940 with little explanation of the "what, when, why and how?" for those not familiar with the early days of World War II. The battle for Dunkirk follows on what historians call, “the Phoney War”, an eight-month period of relative quiet land actions immediately after Germany’s blitzkrieg invasion of Poland in September 1939. On May 10, 1940, the German advance to push Britain off the European Continent began again in earnest.
I learned a lot during this deployment. It changed me. Let me share: 1. I learned that I am stronger than I think. No military wife is ever ready for deployment. From what I hear from other wives none of us really feel that we are strong enough to go through a deployment. But at the end when we look back,
Day One—The Best Ship in the Navy I wanted to thank you personally because, though we are logging long hours, we are having a good turn at the wheel and we are building our team one cat shot and trap after another. Looking deeper within the skin of the ship, the CIC, Galley, Engine Rooms, Admin Spaces and more are all turning out what keeps us moving and keeps us safe.
I’ve made a list of things people hate to hear when their spouse is deployed. Perhaps you could add to this list, but these are the statements about which I’ve heard complaints: “I’m sorry.” “I know how you feel. I was a single mom.”
Have you ever pushed the “Send” button on an email or text. . . .and then wished you could “take it back”? Once it’s gone, it’s gone. . . .and if you’ve experienced this feeling of regret, or maybe even panic, you know that email & texting are great tools but have their limitations. Without tone of voice, without context, without a smile or a frown, without really knowing how the other person is going to “receive” your message—it’s hard to rely on technology to communicate everything you want to your spouse.
It’s unusual for a wife to speak at her husband’s military retirement ceremony. More “normal” is for him to give her a gift—maybe a bouquet of roses—and then speak about her sacrifices as a military wife. Then she usually receives a commendation—pictures are made with her—and much applause is given to her, as it should. So when I heard about this poem, recently included in the printed retirement program of a dear friend,