Summary: First of the Exit Strategies Series: Reconnecting with you spouse following deployment
Reconnecting with Your Spouse
All scripture marked NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
This past week we celebrated an important milestone in American History. Some of you may have missed it.
On January 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed the federal act that formalized the beginning of the national interstate highway system. (http://www.theamericanroadside.com)
This system of highways revolutionized commerce, travel, business, rural and residential development and virtually every aspect of life.
One of the aspects of the interstate system that is most identifiable is the graded interchanges and limited access to the highway itself.
All along the highway are exits. Once we get off on the exit, we leave the highway into another world; a world of options, a world of commerce, a world of confusion, and a world of adventure.
We, as a Brigade and a Division, are about to get off on the next exit. We are leaving the predictable, repetitive, and routine life on the FOB for a new world; a world of options, a world of commerce, a world of confusion, and a world of adventure.
Like getting off the interstate, we have been off into these places before—this is where we come from. Nevertheless, getting off the interstate enters a different world from the interstate.
Over the next four weeks we are going to discuss our Exit Strategies. We are going to discuss how we are going to adapt to life off the FOB.
Tonight, we are going to discuss how we are going to reconnect with our spouses, once we leave the FOB.
The Bible teaches us that the Military marriage is a particularly difficult one.
Deuteronomy 24:5 says
5 “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken. (Dt 24:5, NKJV)
While, I don’t believe this is written as a specific command, I see it as a contextual command for the people of Israel at that time. It tells us that the Military is a hard life for spouses. It is a no-brainer, but many people go into the Army thinking that everything will be taken care of. That is not always the case.
So, when we go back, I want you to first realize that there are going to be some bumpy roads up ahead. Be ready for them.
First, we need to;
1. Reconnecting Emotionally.
Ephesians 5:33 says--
33 Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph5:33, NKJV)
We need to be people that spend time loving our spouses and taking care of their needs.
Men, we are to love our wives, and women, you are to respect your husbands. We must reconnect in that part of the marriage that will endure through thick and thin, through distance and closeness, through hardship and prosperity—we must reconnect emotionally.
I am reminded of a book about the Great Depression. The author makes this point about the depression:
“It appears to me that our failure was first moral, then financial. Our recovery must be first moral, and then financial.”
(Let’s Start Over Again by Vash Young, 1932)
And the same is true in our troubled marriages. The problem is a moral one, not a institutional problem. The problem is not marriage itself, but that people are refusing to connect emotionally by loving their wives and respecting their husbands.
We need to reconnect emotionally.
Reconnecting emotionally will ensure that your marriage remains stable through the adjustment ahead.
As we reconnect with our families we will encounter adjustments.
We will all encounter adjustments in our Living Arrangements. We have been living in our CHUs with a roommate, walking to chow, walking to Chapel, and going where we please for the most part when ever we feel like it. When you get off the plane, most of that liberty will stop. You will have other people to concern yourself with other activities to be apart of. This will take a toll on your emotional state. You have been making decisions based solely on yourself for a year and the suddenly, you have to consider other people.
We will also encounter Changing Roles and Responsibilities. We have been living, again, mostly concerned about ourselves. Our biggest personal decisions have been “Main Line or Short Order”, “Black socks or Green Socks”, and “DVD or Play Station”. Suddenly, when we get off the plane, we will deal with light bills, food preparation, babysitters, and, in some cases, house selection.
We will also encounter Baggage from Deployment. All of us have gathered a certain amount of baggage while we have been here. Whether it is as simple as bad habits we’ve picked up from eating in the chow hall everyday to more serious Post Traumatic Stress, we have all gathered baggage. We will be carrying this baggage home to an unsuspecting family—who will see a change in us in many different ways. Some of this baggage is harmful and some of it will be truthfully helpful, but it will be there and effect our daily life in different ways.