Essentials for Deployment-Resilient Marriages

by Larry and Bobbie Simpson, OCF Family Ministry/Puget Sound Directors

Marriages in general, and military marriages in particular, require unusual elasticity in our thinking and supernatural grace in our practices. Military marriages can rebound, survive, and even thrive amid the challenges of numerous deployments and daily military lifestyle requirements. Couples in resilient marriages are intentional about their success, and vigilant in practices that build up their relationship.

Couples who desire resilient marriages focus on a few essentials.

Essentials for Resiliency

  • Avail yourself of growth opportunities. "How am I going to survive this? I sometimes think that if I just hold my breath long enough, this lifestyle of separation will be behind us." God is not absent in the deployments of our life. After attending an OCF Spiritually Smart Family conference, a military wife reported that she had realized that the Army wasn't sending her husband away-the Lord was. Wow! Consider how the Lord is working in your life during your time apart. What does He want to accomplish in your heart and marriage, and how can you cooperate with His plan?
  • Regard the other's issues as a high priority. "I start to detach emotionally well before it's time to leave. I must prepare myself to care for my soldiers. I must believe all will be well at home." Shannon knows Rob's heart. It is hard for Rob to leave his family. He wants to protect and enjoy them, but he has a job to do. Shannon will be lonely, but as she chooses to focus on Rob's heartfelt, yet unexpressed need, this paves the way for a more harmonious separation.
  • Cultivate a mindset of service. "Lately people come up to express their appreciation for my service and sacrifice as the home-front spouse. While I am thankful for their acknowledgement, I don't always sense that my husband values my sacrifice and effort." A very flexible view of service is required from both the spouse who stays and the one who deploys. In marriage, each partner serves because he/she is convinced the service will benefit the greater good of the relationship. By answering these two questions we will grasp a proper motive for service: Who will serve my spouse if I don't? Can I learn to serve him/her without expecting anything in return?
  • Reject lies brought on by miscommunication, fatigue, or loneliness. "Why isn't Jenn home when I call? Why don't we converse easily on the phone? In some ways I think my absence makes it convenient for her to hang out with her friends." Focus on truths that build. The enemy can and does play with our minds when we are apart, but we must hold to true and praiseworthy things. The truth is that both partners want to be living life together, mutually supporting and loving each other.