Waiting for us at the end of my husband’s year long deployment was a loving reunion embroidered with hints of tears, fears and relief.
It was also the beginning of the season of transition. A transition I had been uneasy about since I began hearing stories of other women who had husbands in military service.
The anticipation kept me awake at night wondering what might be on the horizon.
Would he adjust well?
Quickly or slowly?
How much space do I give him?
How will the kids adapt?
What will I do when I no longer have time to blog as often or I have to leave for school when I would rather be home?
What about all the things I picked up to fill my time? My book? Serving at church? How would my relationship with my kids change? What will people think when they get to know my husband? I’ve built an entirely new social life while he was away…
I was warned that there may be a power struggle between us.
We had some real issues before he left. Would it be like starting from scratch or would we carry the past hurt after all this time?
Surprisingly, the power struggle that so often accompanies military homecomings has occurred less during this transition than it had before his deployment. I still like to have my way and stomp my feet mind you, but I am more quickly inclined to pass the reigns to my hubby than I had ever been before.
Being concerned that your loved one may get blown up by a bomb on any given day tends to make the dirty socks under the dining room table look like not such a big deal.
I have a healthier perception of what is important, necessary, and considered an emergency. My patience has grown because of this.
I was more than happy to pass the leadership baton to Peter upon re-entry. He walked in saying that he wanted to sit back and ease slowly into my program. He did just the opposite.
He started leading!
Thank the Lord! Hallelujah! I have been praying for this for so long!
(Prior to now, however, I was holding the reins tightly in my own hands while screaming at him to take them)
In his absence I began to see the imbalance caused within a home when the father is not present. I saw this growing up in my own home but a child tends to block it out rather than consider the deeper effects of his absence.
I have now witnessed, as a wife and mother, the lack of direction that exists when the head of the home is away. The lack of obedience.
I give my children plenty of directions. I have plenty of vision which I share with them. I say the things that he says in the EXACT… SAME… WAY. Still, their response to him is different.
There is something about a father’s voice that in and of itself is a call to action.
Something I am incapable of reproducing.
(Which is why I don’t believe men or women should lead the church but the Father through them; only the Father has authority and we must learn His voice.)
There was a point in time where I would become very frustrated and even angry about this.
“Why don’t they listen to me?!”
I would cry out around the house as the children disobeyed and ignored me. Some days I would drop to the ground and pray, hoping to find some peace so that my complaining wouldn’t do anymore damage. As some of you know I’ve had quite a struggle with complaining and yelling. (you can also read about that here and here)
That too has come to rest. I’ve got my leader back and I know I can trust him.
It’s easier to let go of control when you have a trustworthy leader.
When Peter looks at me squarely and says “we’re not going to yell in this house,” I know that even though I still struggle I have support in this endeavor.
We are in agreement.
Sameness of vision and is necessary for anyone to grow. My husband has also decided to drop the curse-words (a thing he has always leaned on for expressing himself.) He has decided to subject himself to a similar measure of control in that regard. No more cursing. We will support each other in this and we have been for the last several weeks.
As a team we have already come farther than was ever possible as the two unique entities we kept trying to be.
I battled constantly to control my mouth during our separation over this last year. I prayed. I talked about it. I wrote about it. I did my best to exercise self-control… But absolutely none of these things were sufficient when I was lacking accountability; when I was lacking a leader who I had chosen to follow and trust.
Perhaps the Lord gives us these leaders (our men) because we need them? Following Jesus in singleness is one thing, but when we enter into family with all the messiness and crazy good insanity it brings, we need a physical leader we can see and be accountable to help build us up in Christ. (this goes both ways of course)
So I am more than glad to share with you, my friends, that the missing piece to overcoming my struggle at home has finally returned. I can, and now do, more effectively keep myself from using my words as daggers and my attitude in a controlling way.
I can “let go and let God” more readily knowing my husband is here to support me in that.
I want to encourage all of you today to look to your spouse as the possible missing piece in your battle armor. We’ve got spiritual armor for sure and YES, put that on daily! But for the everyday struggle against flesh, even if it seems to be your spouse (hint: it’s often not them) we have an underutilized resource in our significant other.
Let yourself be led in humility in your marriage, regardless of your gender, so that you may be built up in your walk with Christ.
I have found this to be very pertinent factor in my own sanctification. I pray you do as well.