Last week, in Part I of our series on couples forced to live apart, we listened to the story of Carol We heard about her experience as the mother of three teens forced to live at a distance from her husband. And we heard some great advice on how to cope with this unusual situation.
This week, we’ll be talking to Cathy, a military wife. Like Carol, she and her husband have been forced to live apart on multiple occasions – first when he was in the Marine Corps and then again as he pursued a career as a civilian helicopter pilot. “We lived in a military community, so there were a lot of examples of what you were supposed to do when your husband wasn’t there. There were people whose husbands, if they weren’t on the same cruises your husband was on, were gone at other times. There were a lot of us young wives just getting through. We hung out together and that kept your spirits up.
I think there was more frustration the second time because we’d started a family and he wasn’t there to help with a lot of the little day-to-day decisions that you don’t necessarily think about like establishing a bedtime or deciding when to put the child on a certain type of food. I never expected to be a single parent!”
Taking time to make such decisions together is important. “When Don and I were first married, when he was overseas, I just made decisions,” Cathy explains. “I didn’t worry about trying to consult him as long as they weren’t big things. A lot of the little decisions I just made on my own. Then, after I got saved, it seemed more important to me to make sure that I was consulting Don on as many of the decisions as I could.”
Fortunately, living apart also has its blessings. “I think if Don and I hadn’t lived apart the second time, I never would have gotten saved,” Cathy explains. “Don was living away an awful lot and I wanted it to stop… but no matter how hard I tried, I could not control that situation. It was the first time that I had to really accept that there are things that I have no control over. That’s a very scary place to be. I think that’s why I started reading the Bible. I was scared and I was lonely.”
When asked for her top advice to other women living with equally difficult circumstances, Cathy replied:
- Put your spouse first. “If you put the other person first, it keeps you from feeling sorry for yourself.”
- Live each day. “One day at a time, one step at a time.”
It sounds simple, but it isn’t. Sacrifice and focus play a key role in maintaining healthy long-distance relationships. And both of those elements feature in the story of Lori… but her tale will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, feel free to share your own thoughts on living apart in the comment box below!