Peace would follow prayer when I cried out to the Lord, terrified of what the future would hold. I loved a man who wanted to join the military, and I didn’t know if I had what it took to be a good wife to a soldier.
My poor dear Silas would endure both times where I was content and trusting in the Lord, and times where my flesh nearly crippled me with peace-eating anxiety. My emotions were crashing waves, and the sailboat of my soul often felt too wrecked to weather the storm.
As the Lord’s plans unfolded, we found ourselves in another season of long-distance dating, which turned into our engagement, while Silas finished the police academy. About a month before our wedding we had a three-hour crash-course of premarital counseling with our Pastor. We came prepared, ready for our marriage to begin. Pastor was impressed with all the self-assigned homework we had completed, but there was one conflict that still needed to be resolved.
“What if he chooses to join the military after the wedding?” Pastor asked me.
The truth is, being Silas’ wife was the no-deal-breaker promise I needed to force me to trust God – no matter what – in our relationship. I married Silas because I knew I would be able to follow God better, and in our few months of marriage that has proven to be true.
However, this loving Pastor gave me one of the greatest gifts a Pastor could give to a bride-to-be. A few phone calls and texts later, and he arranged a coffee date for me and a former military/current police wife. I gleaned so much wisdom and encouragement from Bethany over that java in Kansas City.
I know her words will truly speak life to those wives of the military/LEO/first responder community, but I truly believe they’re valuable for every woman in a relationship: fiancé or girlfriend, long-distance or long-waiting.
Advice From a (Former Military) Police Wife
1. My Husband Isn’t Actually Mine, He’s on Loan from God
One of the most powerful things a wife needs to realize is that as much as her husband belongs to her, he first belongs to God. We don’t love our husbands more than the Lord, in fact, the love we have for our husbands is actually God’s own love that’s passing through us. When you realize what a privilege it is to hold and love your husband on this side of heaven, when the other side is truly home, anxiety about the future melts away. Bethany says it perfectly, “my husband is simply on loan from God.” Heaven is our eternal home, and each moment we get to spend here glorifying God with our spouse is a gift. Recognizing this will give you gratitude, and gratitude will ease the pains of uncertainty when your husband puts his life on the line daily.
2. A Praying Wife is a Powerful Wife
Bethany has found firsthand that the best thing you can do for your husband is to pray, fervently, for him. You should be the person who prays the most for your husband, always asking and looking for new ways to come to God on his behalf. Find time to pray specifically for his needs, and give thanks for the godly qualities he possesses! Not only does God answer prayer, prayer brings you closer to God. A wife who’s closer to God is able to love her husband better.
3. Never Stop Pursuing Community
Community is something that is difficult and sometimes painful to cultivate. Bethany admits that authentic community doesn’t appear after one try, it is something that needs to be pursued and chased, even if you’re the only one chasing after it. You can’t expect others to be the ones to reach out to you in a new town or a new country – you have to intentionally seek out other women and be there for them as you’d want them to be there for you. Having women who are like-minded and going through the same stages of life you’re facing is always something worth pursuing, even when you’re exhausted and are more than ready to just give up.
4. Let Your Testimony Shine Through the Way You Live
Are you more known for your opinions, or the way you love? If you’re constantly first to share your opinion and thoughts about every hot topic and controversial current event, that’s what you’ll be known for. In turn, it will completely nullify your testimony, and people won’t be quick to see how differently you live life with the Holy Spirit. Bethany has seen firsthand how living your life for Christ and having others witness it can be more powerful than words in many circumstances, especially when you’re around those who have had negative experiences with Christianity. Your hope for your marriage should shine through the way you live as well, instead of losing trust in the Lord and walking around as a complete wreck, as if you have no hope in him.
5. Don’t Try to Fix His Situation
Your husband will face many difficult, frustrating, and dangerous situations throughout his life and career (especially those in the LEO/Military community). Some days he will be exhausted, drained, and have nothing left to give. Don’t try to fix his situation – you can’t. You can only be there to love him through it. Bethany says listening to him can be the most important thing he needs (apart from prayer), and offering quick-fixes can leave him feeling stripped of emotional validation. Remain positive, but don’t shove words of encouragement down his throat when he just needs to communicate his thoughts and feelings to you.
6. Embrace Every Journey Together
Life gives you many options and unforeseen changes. Bethany and her husband Tom live by the motto, “together is better.” Whenever they had the option to be together, they took it. Even though “together” meant she was living in Germany while he was deployed in the Middle East, Germany was closer than the States and “together was better.” Bethany embraced life abroad and took advantage of the opportunity to travel – both with her husband and without – and encourages wives to do the same. If you and your spouse can be together – do it. If you can’t, be as “together” as situationally possible.
I am so grateful for Bethany’s godly wisdom and great encouragement, and I hope it has inspired you in your own relationship journey!