The release of The Warrior’s Bride gets closer every week. I am anxious to hold a copy of this book in my hands, but I am even more excited to be able to get copies into your hands! So today, I have a special treat for you: the opening pages of the book. Are you ready?
The Warrior’s Bride: Biblical Strategies to Help the Military Spouse Thrive
A Note from the Authors
Political correctness permeates many areas of our society. While we’re certain that it helps soothe feathers that would otherwise be easily ruffled, to be honest with you, neither of us is particularly good at it. With God’s help, we find moments of grace, mercy, and even tact, but rarely political correctness.
We are military wives, writing to military wives, simply because it’s what we know and who we are. We’ve never served a day in uniform, never deployed outside the places our families need us to be, and never put our physical lives on the line for the benefit of others. Yet we do not fail to recognize that many women do serve their country proudly within the military. We honor all those within the ranks of the Department of Defense, regardless of gender.
In the pages that follow, you will read phrases like military man or pronouns designating the male species being the one in uniform. Please understand our hearts: we do not intend to negate or even diminish the burden placed on our military women and their civilian spouses. We recognize that about twenty percent of the United States Military is comprised of women, and many of those women are married with families.
Throughout this book you will read what we have learned, often the hard way. We encourage you to learn from us without having to travel the roads we traversed. And we ask for grace from those military women and their civilian husbands when we use the terms and pronouns that seem to convey that the military is only comprised of men. It is not a political statement, and we mean no disrespect.
We merely speak from our lives.
Married to the Supersuit
(A scene from The Incredibles, a Disney Pixar movie released in 2004)
LUCIUS (FROZONE): Honey?
LUCIUS (FROZONE): Where’s my supersuit?
LUCIUS (FROZONE): Where is my supersuit?
HONEY: I, uh . . . put it away.
LUCIUS (FROZONE): Where?
HONEY: Why do you need to know?
LUCIUS (FROZONE): I need it!
HONEY: Uh-uh! Don’t you think about running off doing no derrin’-do! We’ve been planning this dinner for two months!
LUCIUS (FROZONE): The public is in danger!
HONEY: My evening’s in danger!
LUCIUS (FROZONE): You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
HONEY: Greater good? I am your wife! I’m the greatest good you are ever gonna get!
One of the greatest frustrations about being married to a military man is knowing that you cannot plan your own life. Your husband, and thus your marriage, is owned by the United States Government, and you are forced to accept the plans for the greater good over your own.
In the movie scene above, Lucius’s wife is freshly reminded of this fact. It had been many years since Frozone’s supersuit was put away, and I’m certain that part of her had relaxed into a false perception that the days of the supersuit were over. However, as Frozone later shows up in full regalia to save the world, we can only assume that his wife dealt with her feelings and pulled out the supersuit, allowing him the freedom to do his job to the best of his ability. I can so totally relate to her.
I can’t count the number of plans that Hubby and I have had to scrap because an urgent call came down the Chain of Command for him to put on his supersuit and save the world from some imminent threat. Or at least go take a class to learn how to save the world from imminent threat. And sometimes I am less than graceful in my acceptance of the inevitable. But I still do it. I still dig out whatever he needs, sometimes grudgingly and other times squelching my thoughts in the breathless whirlwind of trying to get him out the door in whatever time the government has dictated.
I know now, after many years of being a military spouse, that I married a man who isn’t normal. I’ve learned over the years that I didn’t just marry him; I married his supersuit too. And because his supersuit is so much a part of who he is, I have to love it and all its baggage. That doesn’t mean that I run around wearing red, white, and blue, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” twenty-four hours a day.
While I am very proud of my soldier, sometimes I get frustrated or angry. And sometimes I feel a lot of disappointment or despair. Sometimes I just want to go buy my own private island and set up my own tin-pot dictatorship that doesn’t involve deployment or TDYs (temporary duty). But I think that even if we had our own country, Hubby would form an alliance with some other country that would require him to put on his supersuit and rush off to save the world. It’s just who he is.
And me? I’m the greatest good he is ever going to get.
That simple ending to the movie scene above expresses my world on so many levels. Just as Honey ends up laying down her own feelings and plans, families of military men are asked to sacrifice much. We sacrifice having our husbands around for holidays and birthdays. We sacrifice their presence when we give birth to their children. We sacrifice them missing our babies taking their first steps, cutting their first teeth, and starring in the holiday show. Of course, they also tend to miss the other joys of life when their presence would be convenient, such as stomach flus, cars breaking down, and major house repairs.
As difficult as all those things are, sometimes it’s our own hearts and minds that are the biggest battlefield. Like wondering if your husband still loves you when you have gone three weeks without a word from him, knowing your marriage was shaky before he left for this deployment to a war zone. Wondering if he found someone else to warm his bed on the other side of the planet. Wondering if he wants to come home to you at all. How do you fight for the man when you can’t see him? When you can’t control when you will see him? Or even, heaven forbid, if you will see him again. I hope you are not in this hard place, but I have been. It is so hard to see your man run off to sacrifice for this country when you aren’t even sure he wants to sacrifice anything for you.
The truth is that the men we married are willing to lay down their lives for their country, and in so doing, for you, their wives. This is the epitome of Christlikeness. As the Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). When your husband goes running off to follow orders, he is laying his life down for this country and all of the people God has bestowed upon it. Including you.
I know that it frequently doesn’t feel that way. I often fight the feeling that the only thing he sacrifices is me. I often feel left out of the loop in his “HOO-AHH” world, and I resent the time he spends training and fighting for everyone else.
When I look at the lives of my civilian friends, I want to scream, because their marriages all seem so reliable, while I am forced to live in uncertainty and flexibility. To be able to pick up a cell phone and always have my husband answer is surreal to me. To have him home every night for dinner, spending time with me and our children, is like asking for the moon. I often fail to see value in the supersuit.
But that does not mean the value isn’t there. It does not mean you are forgotten. And it does not mean that life would be better without it. If you are ready to consider this, to lay down your feelings and let God work on you and your life with your supersuit spouse, I encourage you to begin praying now. Pray for your heart to be open to the Word and for your ears to hear the truth God has for you.
The burden God has given us in writing this book is to help you find hope and joy in your marriage. We promise that we don’t have all the answers, but we have discovered secrets to finding joy in our trials. We have learned to not only love our own men, but to love the calling of those men. And we have learned to love our calling as military wives.
Join us as we share our journey.
So . . . what do you think so far? Are you ready to read more?
More about my co-author, Kathy Barnett: Recently retired from the US Army, Kathy and her husband reside near Ft. Bragg, NC, where they raise their family and minister to the needs of the military within their church and community. She loves running on long roads, reading long books, and having long conversations about what Jesus has done in her life. Her heart is to see people find freedom in Christ—her greatest joy is seeing that liberty become reality.
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