A few years ago, our Sunday School class watched a series by Ed and Lisa Young.
In the series, they discussed marriage and they made a list entitled “The Ten Commandments of Marriage”.
It was a pretty good list and can be found here.
But, it didn’t really cater to the military lifestyle, although they are still applicable to your marriage: nevertheless…
This inspired me to write the Ten Commandments for the Military Marriage.
1. Flee from temptation: Guard your hearts.
(inappropriate friendships, flirting via text or facebook, pornography, chat rooms, any type of sexual material, and wives: if you can’t face the reality of your life not being a romance novel or movie or equivalent in some manner, then please do not read or watch those types of things…it’ll distort your standard).
2. Do not go AWOL on your marriage.
Our divorce rates are higher than civilians. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’m not here to speak statistics to you, though. If you live it, you know it. You’ve had to fight to stay together before. Hell, you’ve probably had to fight to WANT to stay together. Fight for the want and DO NOT give up. Don’t leave.
3. Know your place in the chain-of-command.
Wives, you are NOT the commander-in-chief. Husbands? Let God be your commander-in-chief and you be the VP. Husbands, YOU will be held accountable for your family. Wives, you nurture. Husbands, you lead. Realign yourself in those positions and do not get out of order.
I remember when the war first kicked off, communication was pretty much nonexistent—that’s rarely the case anymore, so use what you have to communicate, whether e-mail, skype, yahoo messenger, snail mail, whatever….but, USE your words, people! Use morse code if you have to! And if you’re home together, don’t waste your precious time being sulled up over stupid, petty things that won’t matter in the big picture of life!
Lonely? Let your spouse know, so they can fill that void! Angry? Talk it out. Scared? Pray. Pray together. Have an expectation that isn’t being met? Does your spouse even know about the expectation? Not unless you tell them!
Keep your communication lines open. Be honest with one another.
5. Set a COA–uphold it!
(Course of Action)
Set standards and family guidelines and uphold them when you’re together and when you’re geographically separated (i.e. finances, sex, quality time, etc).
6. Be disciplined!
I believe one of the most appealing things about the military is the discipline that comes with being involved within it—whether one wants to admit it or not—people crave discipline. Oh, how easy it would be to not be disciplined! An apathetic attitude isn’t that hard to achieve or maintain. But, listen, marriage is hard work! You know that. SO, to achieve the results you want (successful marriage), you have to be disciplined and you have to be willing to sacrifice the easy for the hard, sometimes. Quitting is easy—but keep your goals in sight! Be diligent, work hard, and don’t give up!
7. Pick your battles!
Lord, help us all to do this. Help us to realize that we are not in control!
The reality for us military wives is this: anytime you say “goodbye”, could literally be your last goodbye. You don’t want that goodbye littered with bickering that wasn’t necessary. By no means am I suggesting that one ignore major issues, but I am asking that you not nag your spouse to death over little things.
8. Embrace your time together and use it wisely.
Enjoy each other. Enjoy family time. Go on a picnic. Plan a vacation. Make memories. Take pictures and take a lot of them. Wives, make memories with your children while your husband is away so that when you’re old and gray, you can share them with him. Husbands, make an effort to spend quality time with your spouse and children—the war will still be there when you go back and if it’s not? Good.
9. Be willing to seek assistance if needed.
Sometimes, you need a third party to be a deliberator. Sometimes, you may need a bit of counseling. Sometimes, you just need to fall on your faces before the Lord. Sometimes, they come home different. Sometimes, your feelings may change. Whatever the case may be, the military offers many resources to combat what’s going on. Pastors and Chaplains are wonderful resources. Find a resource and make an effort to get the help you need.
10. DO NOT TAKE EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED!
You are a vapor.
Life is precious and we are not promised tomorrow.
The risks are high for our military service members. Hold them tight. Laugh together. Love together. Be passionate for one another. Do not become blasé towards each other. Time is all you have and there’s never enough of it.