My soldier husband has been stationed in Iraq for two years, and he’s set to come home soon. While I’m excited to see him, I’ve gotten used to handling decisions and our house on my own—like when I was single. What can I do to make the readjustment easier?
This is a common problem for spouses of those in the military. Someone once said that a problem defined is a problem half-solved, so the good news is that in recognizing this could be a problem, you’ve already moved towards some solutions.
First of all, talk with your husband about his thoughts and expectations for your reunion. What are his concerns and expectations? Share your concerns and expectations. Even though you aren’t together, it’s not too early to pray about your reentry as a couple. Next, let him know about your specific concerns, your desire to honor him while maintaining stability in the home. See what suggestions he has.
We’ve seen some healthy couples turn this potential problem into an opportunity to redefine some of the roles in their relationship. We worked with one military couple where, when the husband came home from overseas and started to take care of the bills again, he realized that he didn’t like it and wasn’t very good at it but that his wife did like it and was very good at it. He thought that handling the finances was something a man “should” do rather than something that the couple is free to negotiate based on skills and interests. They were able to restructure some of their responsibilities in the marriage and what could have become a major problem actually resulted in strengthening their marriage relationship.
Another military couple made three appointments with one of their pastors, two weeks apart, just to have an objective third party to talk to and pray with and provide wise and biblically-consistent counsel.
Ask God to prepare your hearts and give you realistic expectations. Ask two or three other couples to pray for you at least once a day for the next three months. Remember, there are always bumps during a reentry period. Two years is a long time to be apart, so don’t panic or overreact. Instead, look for the growth opportunity that is always there.