There are those couples who are familiar with deployments and can be vast sources of help in warning others of the dangers to the health of a marriage which can occur when we don’t take seriously the special challenges of living separately due to military orders. They have safely navigated the twists and turns, and know the unique conditions under which a couple needs to take particular caution. Do you know some of these couples? Look around. . . ask around. . .pray to meet this couple who has lived victoriously in spite of the hazards. They have much wisdom to share.
Growing up in Minnesota in the 1950s, February always meant two days off from school because of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and the celebration of George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. But sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s dates shifted—and what I had experienced as two “for-sure” days off became one “iffy” day off on a Monday—to celebrate “Presidents’ Day.” But there is an interesting aspect of these two presidents that our history books typically miss--the role of their wives and marriages in their leadership and presidencies.
There is a story told about “two dogs” which battle within us. Some say it’s an Indian legend . . . some say it’s an old fable told long ago . . . but the story makes the rounds, and also makes a lot of sense. As the story goes, when a youngster comes to the old sage leader and asks why he feels so angry at unfair treatment, the older one explains, “It is as if there are two dogs inside of you. One is always good, peaceful, and loyal.
I am a husband fighting against the spiritual forces which might harm my family and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. I will never surrender my marriage of my own free will. As the leader of the home I will never surrender the members of my family and will always be on guard for them to resist the evil one when he attacks—and be sure of this, he will attack. If I am emotionally captured I will continue to resist . . . .
“Communication is a lot like tennis. One person begins the conversation by making a statement, and then perhaps asking a question—like serving the ball. The other person returns the ball by responding to the statement and/or question, and perhaps asks another question. And so the game continues.” This is an important paragraph from the HomeBuilders Bible study entitled Making Your Marriage Deployment Ready (p. 39), meant to help couples in their communication skills before they are geographically separated. But the truth is that communication skills are vital to the life of a marriage relationship—deployment or not.
You know the movies where the operative receives the message that explains the job he’s asked to complete? Once the situation/circumstance is described, he hears “Your mission, should you choose to accept it”, followed by a summary of the mission. Then the method of conveying the message explodes and the operative is sent into action, working nonstop until the mission is complete. Kind of like a marriage, really.
I enjoy road trips—time alone in the car to sing along with praise music on the radio, see some pretty countryside, stop for coffee a time or two, and get caught up on some Bible studies on CD or my iPod. Recently I was listening to some really good Bible teaching on marriage and family issues from a favorite pastor/teacher. He said something like, “A great marriage will last at least 100 years.” I just about slammed on the brakes right there on the interstate! What???
I’ve been working on this writing for the last nine years. And it’s not done yet. I wanted to put down in writing, on “cyber-paper,” what I have lived and observed for most of my adult life. It’s what I love about our military . . . the people, the mission, the life. The truth is . . . as members of the United States military, people are watching you.
It was her favorite Christmas present, she said. Perhaps it was his, too, but he was still recovering from long months at sea and was needing to catch up on sleep. As they stood before us they still had that “newlywed glow” about them, even though most of their wedded life had been spent apart due to military duty. So when they were telling us about their first Christmas together there were smiles going back and forth between each other, and eyes sparkling with the chance to tell what was so very special about their first time of giving and receiving gifts as husband and wife.
Have you ever wondered. . . . Where in the world did we get the idea that sin has no consequences?