The Army is not the best environment to cultivate a godly marriage, especially during wartime. It views soldiers as cogs in a wheel and often separates families, demands long hours, and creates stress in order to accomplish the mission. Though it has noble goals and a set of ethical standards, it is far from a Christian organization.
My husband and I spent the first five years of our marriage in the Army. We were in a small minority called dual-military couples, married couples in which both spouses are on active duty. Our service placed many obstacles in our path, yet those five years resulted in significant growth in our marriage. That growth was because of, not in spite of, those obstacles. Those experiences remind me that God is always in control, always works for the good of those who believe, and always desires our marriages to be reflections of his love.
Here are four marriage lessons God taught me through the Army:
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
In the Army we spent a lot of time developing teamwork. We exercised together, trained together, worked together, and ate together. We were taught to always have a "battle buddy." Army units are great teams because they hold each other accountable, obey their leaders, and care for each other.
The same things are true in a godly marriage. I could write about many examples of teamwork in our marriage, but the experience that made me truly appreciate teamwork was when we were separated right after our son's birth. Four days after Isaac was born, my husband, Daryl, deployed with his unit for a training exercise in another state. I was inexperienced and by myself with a new baby for more than three weeks. Isaac was colicky and had severe eczema. Those three tired, tear-filled weeks seemed like an eternity without my teammate. His return didn't make parenting any less demanding, but his help was a blessed relief. It reminded me that God intentionally created man and woman to be companions and teammates.1