Knowing My Place

A friend once said that her husband was told, while on the ship, what his priorities are to be as a sailor:

  1. God
  2. The Navy
  3. The Ship
  4. His Shipmates
  5. His Family

Or was it:

  1. God
  2. Ship
  3. Shipmates
  4. The Navy
  5. His Family?

Either way, family made it around 5th place. We both thought it ridiculous for a Christian man. I tucked the thought away…

After once again having a discussion this evening with my dear hubby about what I can do to support him more, something occurred to me. I asked him if there was anything else I could be doing to make him more relaxed and happy to be home. He assured me that He is always very happy to be home…he just takes “work” home with him sometimes which makes for a rather grumpy hubby.
Now, my tendency is to take it personally. After all, I am supposed to come first, after God, of course, and then the children, so why is my CHRISTIAN husband neglecting his responsibilities and taking out his frustrations on us? Didn’t I read that things are supposed to be a certain way, in those Christian living/marriage/parenting/homeschooling/you-name-it-books. Dad leads family bible time over breakfast, and again after dinner; all this with an 8 hour day, 5 day workweek? And then church on Sundays and midweek; with him helping work on the church building project at other times? Not to mention the discipling of his children?
It sounds ideal. I don’t know if that is how civilian families live.
I do know that we don’t.
My hubby goes to work at o dark o’clock, and comes home when they tell him he can. Sometimes that’s after a normal workday–12-14 hours. But sometimes it’s not until 1 am, and he has to be back by 6 am. Sometimes he has duty and stands watches or goes on deployments or work-ups or DET’S…sometimes it’s Saturdays or Sundays or both…it’s never set in stone. Requesting Sundays off because of his “religious beliefs” is not an option.
So who am I to whine? With what he does all day, he deserves to come home to the one place in the whole world where he is loved and respected. Who would want to come to a nagging, contentious woman? I certainly wouldn’t, and I don’t want that for my beloved, either. I am grateful he is home for the next few months, even if he does have to be at work for most of it. He still gets home eventually; and I’ll take what I can get because deployment comes all too soon.

Military wives seem to have a language all their own. And it narrows down even more within the different branches, and yet even more within the particular squadrons and then the jobs their husbands do. Who else can we talk to about DET’S, and deployments, or IA, that would have a clue as to what we were talking about?
Us wives have to learn to create a new family every few years, for our sanity and our survival. No one else around can understand our lifestyle unless it is theirs as well. Sure, others can sympathize, but they cannot truly understand what it is like to have your best friend gone for months at a time, with a 10 minute phone call allowed once a week that has a 3 second delay and sounds like you are shouting into a tin can. When they are flying a mission all unnecessary communication is shut down, meaning, we can’t get phone calls or emails for an unspecified amount of time. We don’t know about these ahead of time, so when we go to check our email one morning and there is no message from him, we know what that means. And we don’t know when it will be over and when we will hear from him.
But what about the husbands? Do they have to choose between duty and family? Not if we do our jobs. We just need to know where we stand. So what occurred to me is that I have to accept the fact that I cannot come first in his life. You see, I am not just married to a Navy man. We are a Navy family. And we have to live our lives in such a way that requires us to be independent of him when need be and yet under his headship at the same time. He’s here, but he’s not. It’s a delicate dynamic; and we wouldn’t make it without God. I don’t know how others families cope without God in their lives. It’s a struggle and a sacrifice, but I know our family is first in my hubby’s heart, even though we cannot be first in his life.

Lord God, help me to be the wife my husband needs; clear the fog away and show me clearly how to support my military man. Thank You for giving him to me. Thank You for all of the military families, and keep them in Your loving hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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3 Responses

  1. That was beautifully written. Thank you and God bless you.

  2. Jessica, I totally understand everything you wrote. You wrote so clearly and it’s so true!
    Janel

  3. It was so hard in my husband and our quality of life when we were active duty and I would forever hold our life up against those shown in the Christian magazines and books. Not that they were bad, they were just not the life God ordained for OUR family right then.

    If you think about all the pioneer women and the women whose husbands served the world wars it isn’t much different than military families today. It is hard but with God’s help it can be done. It just won’t ever look like those magazines. That’s ok too. There is a lot of grace flowing when you make peace with where God places you.

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