In the wake of all of the news and media coverage that’s taken place this week regarding a high profile military general and former CIA director’s case of now-public infidelity, a lot of military wives have been asking the same question: can what happened to them… happen to us?
We already know that cheating happens. We’ve all heard the stories, seen the FB relationship statuses change from married to it’s complicated to single. But cheating on a spouse isn’t the cause of why a marriage breaks up. The causes happen way before the cheating ever occurs. The infidelity is just the heartbreaking evidence that what we wished was strong, had serious weak spots undermining the foundation.
Whether you’ve been married for 2 years or 20, there will always be challenges. There will always be times where it’s harder to communicate, where you get frustrated with each other, or aggravated, or annoyed. Do deployments and long separations help exasperate these times? Absolutely. But there does not have to be an inevitable feeling that a marriage will eventually end.
See, because even though I know of marriages that have ended before they barely got started – I also know of marriages that have endured and lasted and flourished. Despite the deployments. Despite the extra stressors military life brings. And those are the marriages I want to focus on.
These marriages stay strong because the couples in those marriages stay committed. They work through the tough stuff. They don’t quit when hearts get hurt… they figure out what those hearts need to heal and they keep going. And at least one strong marriage I’m thinking of, a couple that’s been married for more than 30 years now, two people that are strong Christians, who love God and love each other – are also survivors of infidelity. They were able to overcome even the blackest scar after one of them at one point in their life together was unfaithful.
One of my workshops I led this month at the PWOC International conference in Nashville was called “Growing a GOD Strong Marriage” and in it, we talked about what it looks like to have a marriage that puts God first. Because when both of you are putting God first, it’s a whole lot harder to bring someone else into your marriage. Because you already have a marriage of three. You, your spouse, and God.
I’m not going to share everything we talked about in the workshop here, but one thing I think is important to mention and especially for women to realize is that ultimately, we cannot control our husbands and their actions.
Ladies, you cannot make your husbands love you the way you want to be loved. You cannot make them pick up around the house. You cannot make them step up and be the spiritual leader you so wish they would be. You cannot make them be more romantic, or more serious, or less serious or more ambitious or less ambitious.
You can’t make him have an amazing relationship with God.
But YOU can be an influence. A powerful influence. For good – or for harm.
So here’s your challenge if you want to grow a GOD Strong Marriage: Be intentional in serving as the spiritual thermostat of your home. Know what I mean by that?
Realize that God has given you a special assignment in your marriage – you really do set the tone of your family. You set the temp – whether it’s heated with anger, or cool with sarcasm or warm with love and care.
I got an email this week from a military wife who attended that marriage workshop a couple of weeks ago – and she went home determined to be the spiritual thermostat. She and her husband haven’t had the easiest marriage. Most of it, over a decade, has been a struggle. But she’s trusting God to turn things around.
She now realizes it was less about her husband changing the way she wanted him to, and more about how she needs to change. And she started with just being quiet. Not reacting when her husband did. She wrote and told me that it only took a couple of days and she started seeing major differences in how her husband was acting. And now, two weeks later, she really believes her marriage is on the track to grow and to be stronger, with God as their focus.
What’s your story of what God’s done in your marriage? What makes your marriage GOD Strong? The media is consumed with the infidelity issues of military marriage right now – as Wives of Faith, let’s take a moment and rejoice in the marriages that are strong.
I’m grateful for the 14 years I’ve been married to my husband, and that despite 2 deployments and numerous long-distance trainings and Navy schools, we have grown so close as a couple. I am also seeing him grow in his relationship to God and becoming more comfortable in his role as our family’s spiritual leader, and that is so encouraging.
What’s your story?
How is your marriage GOD Strong? Share your story with us and we’ll share it on the blog with everyone else – let’s share a wave of marriage success stories that will encourage others who may be struggling that they can make it too. Feel free to include a picture of you and your husband, and be sure to let us know how many years you’ve been married!