Sunday, January 15

Faith Filled Marriage: The ♥ Grows Fonder





I don't know how military wives do it.  I don't know how single mothers do it.  I don't know how widows do it.  This last week has me reflecting on what it is like to be apart from the husband for more than a day or two.  Jerry just got home from a week away in Atlanta!  He started a new job in the beginning of the year that may send him on other out-of-town engagements in the future.  I've never really been away from him for more than a handful of days at a time in the last 4+ years we've been together.  

So the question is:  
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?

A few things surprised me about this one week business trip to Atlanta:

1.  I cried, almost sobbed, in the minutes leading up to his departure from our home to the airport.  I am not a very overly emotional person, so I was completely blindsided by my feelings.  I believe it was 75% the realization that him being gone meant very little day-to-day companionship, and no warm body laying next to me at night {plus} 25% fear and panic about being all by myself for a week with our daughter,  and the idea that you just never know, something could happen.  Then I gave myself permission to be sad, this is my husband.  And yes, it was only a week, but we are much closer than I realize, perhaps I've taken that for granted.

2.  I anticipated and planned for a "bad week" of parenting.  I just couldn't imagine making it through the week all by myself, without severe battles that usually resulted in me raising my voice, more than I'd like to admit.  But, I was surprised, again.  I was able to have fantastic days with Zion, keep up with the housework, keep up with the blog, have a few visits with friends and even workout.  It is amazing that God used this week to encourage me as a mother, by showing me how capable I am of rising to the challenge of a situation, especially when I don't have a choice in the matter.  I was able to see for the first time, how I let some really ridiculous things bother me when Jerry is home, and how he really pulls his weight when it comes to helping out and his share of parenting.

3.  I can still be distrusting and fearful.   Technology is pretty fantastic, allowing Jerry and I to Skype almost every morning and sometimes in the evenings too.  That being said, the only evening I didn't hear from Jerry after work, I was fine, until the morning, when I didn't hear from him again…at first.  Thank you reality and modern culture for making it so easy to distrust an honest man on a business trip!!  I was getting worked up when I couldn't seem to get in touch with him,  thinking that he  was purposefully avoiding me, or that something had happened (cheating, partying, etc.)  This completely caught me off guard, because I trust my husband.  He is the most loyal person I have ever met…and it was disturbing to have such thoughts.  Thankfully, at the last minute he called before his training and we Skyped.  I felt so silly for even allowing the thoughts to linger for a minute. 

As I sit here, writing this post (Friday evening), I am eagerly anticipating Jerry's arrival home.  I feel like Santa is coming.  I mean I'm totally excited.   It has been a rough day but nothing can shake the joy  of knowing he will be home soon.  

The answer is:
Yes, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder.

And this is what I learned from Jerry's absence:

1.  It is easy to take your spouse for granted.  One of the quickest ways to discover whether or not you are taking your spouse for granted is to be separated from them for an extended length of time.  Knowing this now, I feel a great debt of gratitude toward my husband for all that he does while still working his tail off to provide for us.  I need to keep my focus on being grateful each day for everything he does, both big and small to make life wonderful for us.

2.  Love is so much more than a feeling.  I already knew this, but I really feel I had a fresh revelation while Jerry was away.  In marriage there are definitely different seasons, some where you can feel giddy and full of that mushy kind of love, while others can seem more practical and less emotional, almost like a partnership.   Because I know that love is a choice to commit yourself to another person completely, I need to remember that this equals a lot of grace and acceptance of where that person is at, where I am at, and what is going on in our lives at that time.  I need to be more flexible with my love.  And I need to remember how strong our love really is.

3.  God only gives us as much as we can handle.  I had no idea how much guilt I was carrying around, not to mention the lack of faith in my abilities (or really, God's ability in me) to succeed this week.  I experienced fear as Jerry left, fear of being a "single" mom and fear of infidelity, and none of these fears were based on reality.  God was there for me through the friends who visited, the peace of prayer with my little lady each night, and in the warm "I miss you" messages that came from Jerry throughout the week.  I need to remember the one who really holds my life, my child and my marriage together: it isn't me.

What is the longest you've been away from your spouse?  How did you deal with it?  Does this resonate with you?



 

15 comments:

  1. Glad your hubby is returning, but even happier that you were able to take this experience and let it deepen your marriage!

    Yes! This post definitely resonates with me, even though my husband has only been gone overnight for work once since we married. When we were dating, though, he had to go to Montreal for a month. It was actually during this time that our relationship turned the corner and we decided to get serious. We were engaged just a few months later.

    When you get a chance, check out my post for today...you've been awarded a blog award!

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  2. Kenya JohnsonJanuary 15, 2012

    Wow - military spouse here - so I couldn't quite connect to your emotional departure. Sorry I'm totally giggling.  My husband and I have been married 14 years. The first and only time I cried "like that" was when he was going to miss our first anniversary. Thereafter I sort of turned my feelings off - unless something went wrong (broken washing machine) then I'd fall apart for a minute. Thankfully the longest we've even been apart was only 7 months. Unfortunately as much as I love him - those times teaches us how to live without them and there's always a re-adjustment period. 

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing…I've already noticed a change in my marriage based on what I learned while the hubs was away. I am thrilled. Thank you so much for the award!

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  4. Hey Courtney.

    Before we got married, Adam and I were in a long distance relationship for years. So I know what it's like to miss your boo. I really bow down to the military wives who don't have their spouses with them in the flesh for months and even years at a time. They're so strong.

    Since we've been married, Adam's gone out of town for work trips or trips to see his family (that I couldn't make because of MY demanding job at the time) and although I am sad when he leaves, I take the time to take care of me. Of course, Aidan's usually not with me when that happens, so I don't have the added responsibility of childcare. I basically take the time to relax, read, take long baths, and enjoy my time alone. If Aidan IS with me, we use the time to do all the things that WE like but annoys Adam, like screeching at the top of our lungs and stuff like that. :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing your perspective! I don't know how you do it…really, I don't. :)

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  6. I know there are days that I wish for a WEEK APART....BUT being honest I'm right there with you -except for the cryiong part-I'm a bit of a stone when it comes to displaying emotions outwardly, but I know I'd miss him FOR SURE!!!!

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  7. This is a great entry!  Proves that marriage is always something you have to work on and isn't necessarily "easy", but as long as you have each other you can pull each other's strength in times of need :)  Great Post

    Clarissa D visiting from Vboks

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  8. Early to mid last year, my husband was also flying so much for his work.  I survived, actually in a way I got used to it.  But the worst part was when he was away and our son would get sick.  That's when I REALLY always realize that it makes a huge difference to have a reliable partner by your side, even to just hold you and assure you that things will be better.  If it's any consolation, and not that you need it, I must admit I lost weight when he was gone since I did not cook so much, if at all.  LOL!  *HUGS*

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  9. I have been a married single mom since our daughter was two weeks old. hubby travels for work just about every week and when he doesn't he works from home. You get into a routine with him not being there. I take care of our daughter now two, 3 dogs-2 are special needs, the house and whatever else needs done. Do i miss him when he's gone - yes but I also like my alone time now and if I don't want to cook or feel like cleaning then I don't. If he's home for weeks at a time I get "itchy" and eager for him to start travelling again.  the thoughts of mistrust do creep in but that is normal. we do skype so that Buggy can see daddy too 

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  10. It was really an unexpected reaction…I did make the most of the time he was gone though! :)

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  11. I can see the benefit of having time away, and definitely enjoyed not having to do as much cooking!

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  12. Skype is awesome, for sure! :) I'm not sure I could ever get used to him traveling that often, but I was amazed at how much I got done while he was away!

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  13. Over the last 14 days, my hubby was home for 3 days.  Jan-March are bad traveling months.  We have 4 kids, a dog, and I work 2 days a week.  Some days are harder than others, but I remind myself that only my heavenly Father can truly meet all my needs.  The hardest is when he returns to switch gears and let him be the main disciplinarian.  We also set a rule that if he is out entertaining clients and I happen to call, he won't answer the phone.  I don't want to hear whats going on in the background.  It gives Satan room to get in there and work my mind and nothing good will come from that. :)  great post, just stumbled upon you from someone on VoiceBoks

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  14. Kindra, thank you so much for the reminder. You are so right…God can and does provide all that we need, and it sounds like you have great boundaries in effect to keep your sanity when your husband is away. Thanks so much for your thoughtful words and visit! :)

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Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I don't always have time to respond to each one, but I do read them! XO