Hey everyone! Here is my first “relationships” post! I am by no means an expert on marriage or dual military marriage for that matter, but I have learned a lot about how to stay connected with Garrett, despite significant physical separation. I look forward to continuing to grow in my marriage, and I plan to share the experiences of other dual military couples, through this blog, so that we can keep learning from each other. Here are some of my thoughts:
- Set realistic communication expectations. When I was deployed on a ship, I was unable to talk on the phone, so Garrett and I agreed to email each other every day that we were apart. Not every email was a novel, but we always sent at least a short note. Maintaining this daily email communication was essential to maintaining a feeling of connectedness. But don’t commit to something you aren’t going to follow through on!
- Read a book/do a Biblestudy together over email or over the phone. This is a fun way to stay connected and learn something new, as a couple, even though you are not physically together. Garrett and I read a study on the book of Revelations during my first deployment…it was intense! Feel free to pick something lighter if you want!
- Build community with other married, Christian woman (if possible). I will talk more about this in other blog entries but start praying now and ask the Lord to provide you with another female Christian who you can spend time with while on deployment. I was so fortunate to have a couple of ladies at each of my commands that I grew really close to. And we liked to do similar things while on liberty which made for a really great experience while we were in foreign ports!
- Set up video chat dates whenever possible. This means that you might have to opt out of your friends’ liberty plans in order to sit in a coffee shop that has WIFI and talk to your spouse, but your marriage is absolutely worth this small sacrifice. Getting to see Garrett and chat for a couple of minutes was always so so refreshing.
- Show grace to each other (always!) but especially during times of transition such as preparing to be separated or preparing to be reunited after long spells of separation. I really really struggle with these transitions. A couple of weeks before Garrett and I have to part and a couple of weeks leading up to our reunion, I ride a roller coaster of emotions. Of course I am always excited to see my husband after being apart, but it is more complicated than that. I came to learn that these feelings are normal! Especially for women. The Navy actually provided “reintegrating with your spouse and children” training for all Sailors on my ships, prior to returning home after deployment. I took advantage of these trainings and I encourage all married ladies and mommas out there to do the same! One important thing I learned was that you have to also show YOURSELF grace during transition periods!
- Use the separation to practice being dependent on God. It was (and still is!) easy in my marriage for me to idolize Garrett, making him the most important thing in my life, but in times of separation it was important for me to remember that Garrett is not the one who saves me! Only God can do that. God loves you more than your husband ever can and you will never be separated from Him, no matter where you are – that is such a comfort. And the amazing lesson that I learned was the more dependent I was on God’s love, the better I was at loving Garrett!
- Maintain a biblical perspective on marriage. I have learned that the point of marriage is not to make me happy. Happiness and companionship are wonderful byproducts of marriage, but the goal of marriage is to be a symbol of the beautiful relationship between Christ and the Church. As a wife, you get to live out your end of this divine relationship by being faithful to your husband during times of separation, which is a picture of the Church remaining faithful to Christ while we await his return. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32
I would love to hear what other things the Lord has taught you through your relationship with your spouse – please leave a comment if you would like. Love yall!
Post by Brynn Gray