For the last month (30 full days, if anyone wants to count) my husband was away for extensive Army training. The month long separation was a great “trial run” for the 12 month deployment looming on the horizon. I say it was great, not because it was “great” per se---but because it really gave me a full taste of the reality to come. I got to experience the hardship of being alone; to feel the weight of being a single parent; and to bear the full responsibility of managing our home on my own.
Let me tell you, it really really scared me.
Although we survived just fine and the boys still got their teeth brushed (most nights) and beds made (most mornings)—it was hard. While the trial run drove me to Christ and His ability to fill me all in all, I also felt the ache for my husband. I knew the yearning Adam had in the Garden of Eden; that there was no one suitable for him until God made Eve. And I felt, in a new way, that it was “not good for man to be alone.” (Gen 2:18).
Though perhaps I can “successfully” manage our home on my own; though God gives me the strength and ability to stand up and take on whatever trial and challenge may come; though I may be competent to manage our finances, fix broken appliances (sort of!), mow the lawn, and discipline the boys; though I have all these skills, however imperfect, I know that doing them on my own goes against my creational purpose. I was not made to bear them on my own. As a wife, I was made for my husband. I was made to be part of him. To stand by him. To look to him.
And God made us, my husband and I, to bear life together. To work together. He made us to carry the load together. He made us to share in this responsibility together. Single parenting, single house running, single decision making is not the way He designed the family or married relationship to be. He designed us to do it together. And boy, when we do it together, there is perfect harmony and joy!! In more ways than one (haha!)
I know there are women out there, especially among Army wives, who shrug and say “It was only 30 days, no biggie” as though a short separation like this was of no consequence. And at first, when I was exposed to this super wife mentality, I felt embarrassed that I struggled with Nick’s absences. I felt like I wasn’t as good, or brave, or strong as I needed to be. And that if I was a better woman, I too could shrug and say, ‘No biggie. I can do this on my own.”
But I’ve learned now, that this is just a lie that Satan wants us to believe. It’s sin rearing it’s ugly head and saying, “You don’t need him.” “You can do it better without him.” “Doesn’t he always just make a mess? Create more laundry? Make life more challenging?”
Though many of those things may be true, and sacrificing “me” for the sake of “us” is extremely hard and often very painful—but let us not forget that God made us to be together. And, in fact, we should want to be together. God made us to help each other. To live as one and to show forth the unique and beautiful relationship of Christ to his Church. He made us that way. He made me to need and want my husband.
So while we managed through this trial run, I missed my husband terribly. And the upcoming deployment? It makes my heart ache. But that’s okay…
And in fact, that’s good. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to miss him. My heart is supposed to ache. I’m not supposed to get used to it, or sail through it. I’m supposed to desire my spouse.
After all, I was made for him.