Our family is all in one place. We are together. We should be happy. We aren’t.

I feel guilty about that. I prayed for my husband to return. I long for us to be together and share our life on a daily basis. That picture I have in my head is so hard to find. You see, we have been apart for more than half of the last decade. We are experts at living separately.

Between deployments, mobilizations, training and TDY, we have been apart more than we have been together. This is true for so many military families.

That doesn’t make it easier. No one seems to be talking about how hard it is to reestablish a “family unit.” Sure, there are trainings about reunion and reintegration. We did really well with this the first five times.

I’m trying to figure out why this time is so hard. Maybe we are tired. Maybe it’s that it looks like, for the first time in a really long time, we might actually be together in the same place for a while.

Maybe we are scared.

Scared we don’t have anything in common. Scared we don’t really like who the other person has become. Scared we won’t be able to find our way back to each other.

We don’t know how to live together anymore. He says he feels like he is visiting. Like he is pretending to belong. I don’t know how to be me around him anymore. Does that even make sense? Even though we are in the same place now, that doesn’t mean he is here all the time. He still misses things. He gets frustrated and angry when our family doesn’t operate like a military unit (yes – I see the irony in that).

Some days I want to throw in the towel – I just get tired and disappointed. It is on those days that I have to remind myself that God has his arms wrapped around us.

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need Him. (Psalm 46:1)

During Bible study years ago, a very wise woman noticed I was struggling (deployment #1) and asked if I wanted to talk. She was probably 30 years older and so much wiser. An amazing piece of advice she gave me was to turn to the book of Psalms.

Wow – how amazing was that piece of advice. I still cling to those words. One of my favorites right now is this:

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2


Marriage under the best of circumstances is hard. It is work. There is a reason marriage vows are what they are. (I truly had no idea what I was saying when I said them!)

One of the things I work very hard to remember is that we are all broken and imperfect. To try to make our spouse the person we find our strength in can set us up for disappointment and failure.

I’m not saying we don’t help each other, but we must find our strength in God first. He is always with us.

Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10