Marriage is marriage, right? Regardless of profession, all couples struggle with communication, respect, even a sense of humor. So military marriage is just like every other marriage – maybe.
I really struggle with the view of military marriages sometimes. I feel like we get into a pity-party-mode as military spouses, because many of our challenges are really just like many other marriages that have no connection with the military world at all. We all have difficult moments in marriage when we deal with anger, disillusionment, questions, fear, anxiety. Marriage can be hard – really hard – for all of us.
Satan would love to tear apart marriages, because it tears apart families, and broken families get distracted or completely off course from following God. Marriage in itself is a picture to the world of the relationship of Christ with the church. If Satan can destroy that picture over and over, then the unconditional grace and sacrificial love of a Savior becomes something the world has a difficult time even fathoming.
Military marriages, just like any marriage, fight these same battles every single day. We struggle to love in the midst of anger, comfort in the midst of heartache, encourage in the midst of fear, respect in the midst of pain – we struggle to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the most intimate relationship of our lives. Hard? No kidding. Worth it? Yes.
Our marriages, whether military or not, are a primary calling God has placed on our lives, on purpose. We have made a promise, a covenant, with our spouse and our Savior to fulfill that calling. But in the middle of everyday life, it can be really hard. Military marriages can provide different challenges than some other marriages. For example, we must deal with many of these challenges when we are not actually in the same geographic area as our spouse, we usually have no family close by for support and encouragement, and the uncertainty of military life can present its own concerns.
As military spouses, we have to continue to fight for our marriages every day. How do we do that? Well, whether military or not, here is my advice on marriage:
1. Our relationship with God should be our first priority – spending time with Jesus, reading His word. If our heart is where it should be, most everything is easier to handle.
2. There is no point system – I fall into this trap sometimes. I feel like I have done more or he hasn’t done enough. It is not a competition.
3. Talk to your spouse – when I get frustrated, I clam up and just get more mad sometimes. If we want our marriage to work, we have to talk to our spouse (in a loving and considerate way :)). They cannot read your mind. Don’t expect them to.
4. Remember – you both said I do with the full intention of fulfilling that promise – good intentions on both parts. We need to remember that we both started that way. Good intentions that can sometimes get off track, but your spouse is not your enemy.
5. Love – love is a verb, something you do whether you feel like it or not. Jesus did it for us. We need to intentionally do that for our spouse.
This is my advice. What advice would you give for married couples? How have you and your spouse made it through all of these years (whether it is one or 50)? I would love to hear!