Guest Blog by Liz Giertz
Marriage is hard.
And Military Marriage can be even harder.
We face challenges those in the civilian sector cannot even fathom. Our Soldiers encounter things most other Americans are unwilling to handle. The added stress of multiple deployments, long hours, and dangerous jobs weigh heavy on military marriages. In my last 20 years or so of being associated with the military in one way or another, I’ve learned a trick or two about how to maintain a healthy military marriage!
Here are My Top Five Ways to Thrive in Military Marriage
- Learn the Lingo. TDY. PCS. LES. POV. BCT. MSG. FTX. ACS. etc… I was a Soldier for nearly 10 years before I became an Army wife. At first it was easy. I knew all the acronyms and slang terms. But over the years the Army has added new ones and changed some I had memorized. Sure, you could insist your hubby civilianize his sentences at home. But wouldn’t he be so impressed if you learned them, instead? If you take the time to learn the lingo, communication becomes more productive. Here’s a site to get your started with your studies.
- Find Your Tribe. While human companionship can never replace a relationship with God, He often uses the people around us to provide the tangible support we need. As often as we move, this can be tricky. Our Soldiers have a built in system to integrate into their unit and meet other people. But we have to be more proactive in finding our tribe. Make no mistake, you need a tribe. These are not your Facebook friends from previous duty stations or your family 750 miles away. People actually nearby geographically. Your husband cannot be your only friend. And knowing you have people to take care of you when he can’t will ease his mind and help him focus on the task at hand. Look for activities or clubs to get involved with or find your local Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) to meet women with common interests.
- Savor Every Moment. Just before R&R during my husbands most recent deployment, I noticed a hardening of my heart. Instantly, I knew it had happened before. Not just prior to his two week visits, but also in the months leading up to his departures. I was prone to shutting down my emotions as a means of protection against the inevitable goodbye. I made a conscious decision to remain open to affection, to savor every sweet moment we had together, no matter how much more painful it made our parting. Make the most of every moment you have. Don’t let an impending deployment taint today’s delight.
- Pray Every Day. I cannot stress this too much. And daily probably isn’t often enough. We ought to be connected to God continuously throughout the day in prayer. Praying alone is certainly helpful, but praying together is more powerful. Taking your spouse by the hand and petitioning God together forms a bond between you that Satan will be hard pressed to break. If you’re uncomfortable or unsure about how or what to pray, I’ve written this little prayer as a place for you to start. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be personalizing it for your own family. The best place to fight for your marriage is on your knees.
- Love God Most. During my husband’s second deployment, I battled severe anxiety. I was also pregnant and hormonal, which didn’t help matters any. Satan convinced me my man would die on the Iraqi sand. And I was terrified about what would become of me if that happened. Every knock at the door and every strange car parked behind our row of German town-homes meant only one thing in my mind. Through this stressful season I learned a hard lesson. I had to lean on God to find peace in troubling times. I had to trust that He would be there for me, even if my husband didn’t come home. That one mindset shift made all the difference in subsequent deployments and TDY’s. Not to mention relieving my husband of the added burden of being my “god.” Loving God more than our husbands isn’t cheating, instead it frees us to love them fully.
Do you have any secrets for successful military marriage? I’d love to hear them!
Bio: Liz Giertz is an Army Veteran turned Army wife and mom to two boisterous boys who call Hurricane, WV home for now. She is passionate about encouraging women to overcome MESSES and embrace their MEMORIES as they become the MASTERPIECES God created them to be. You can connect with her on her blog, My Messy Desk (http://www.creativeinspirationsatmymessydesk.com/), as well as on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CreativeInspirationsAtMyMessyDesk/) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/LizGiertz).