Jump directly to the content

Marriage, War, and Lent: Practicing Love During Separation


Feb 22 2012
What my husband's military deployment has taught me about the spiritual disciplines.

Among other heart-shaped headlines last week, the world's most famous newlyweds spent their first married Valentine's Day separated by an ocean, courtesy of a military deployment.

This was week two of what's expected to be six weeks solo for Kate Middleton, whose helicopter-pilot husband, Prince William, is training in South America with the Royal Air Force. How does a duke tackle February 14 when he's nearly 8,000 miles away from his duchess? According to Kate, William had taken enough time out of his search-and-rescue flight schedule to mail a card across the pond and arrange a flower delivery. They're the sort of gestures that have become almost expected on such a day, and to some they might even seem less than noteworthy.

Those of us who've been through a military deployment or two, however, are hesitant to minimize the significance of one note, one phone call, one bouquet, one brief moment of attentiveness.

If unwanted separations prove anything, it's that effort is vital to relationship. As a military wife, I see this every day in my time away from my husband—and if I'm honest with myself, I know the principle applies critically in my relationship with God as well.

Here's what I mean: The convenience of sharing a home with one's spouse makes many relationship-efforts seem effortless. You bump into each other whether you're trying to or not. Dinner happens at the same table, sleep happens on the same mattress, laundry gets tumbled in the same load. You glimpse expressions on each other's face and sense whether it has been a smooth day, a harried one, or something in between. Through simple interactions like these, trust is fostered, familiarity is developed, and understanding is built—yet many of us miss the significance of these moments. We miss it because we rarely have to miss the moments.

In most military marriages, this is not the case. For instance, my husband Nathan's most recent Marine Corps training exercise lasted four weeks. In that time, he and I were able to speak once, for 15 minutes, which was how long his cell phone signal lasted before abruptly cutting out. The training exercise before that was two weeks long; we could intermittently e-mail that time, but we didn't speak at all. This is the necessary culture of infantry and infantry training: for the safety of others and himself, he must be alert to the mission at all times, he always has more work on his plate than time to do it, the work is potentially life-and-death, and it happens in remote areas far from cell towers.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
How to Address America’s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village

How to Address America’s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village

The next wave of the evangelical adoption movement will rely on the church's support.
There's Never Enough Time

There's Never Enough Time

What I’ve learned as a working mother about the limits of time management.
Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians

Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians

I mocked the coloring book trend, until I discovered it for myself.
Does the Road to Character Run Through Silicon Valley?

Does the Road to Character Run Through Silicon Valley?

The HBO show draws us in with deeper questions about power and morals.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Blessed Are the Agnostics

How I learned to see my unbelieving husband through God’s eyes.

Twitter

  • @CircleReader d83dde2e
  • For anyone who isn2019t familiar: No, adult coloring books aren2019t that kind of 201cadult201d https://t.co/BYKm3GgD8C
  • RT @OrphanAlliance: How to Address America2019s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village via @CT_Women https://t.co/gZgJUcxBa4 @KellyMRosati
  • Why churches will be key to the future of evangelicals2019 orphan-care movement https://t.co/77yY6KugZC
  • RT @alissamarie: Anyhow I got cranky about ALICE and less cranky about some other things in the latest newsletter: https://t.co/WWINXrmFJh


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Marriage, War, and Lent: Practicing Love During Separation