Since I purposefully neglected to write on the most emotional days following the separation, I don't have anything mushy and sentimental so I've decided to repost what I wrote when Tim left for Kuwait last year (originally posted here). I'm also adding the song that best reflects my feelings when Tim leaves. The fact that it isn't making me cry right now is solid proof that I'm emotionally stable at the moment. Yay! I plan to stay that way, and look forward to Tim's return after awhile.
On Marriage and the Hole in My Heart:
The dull ache started last week, every time I thought of Tim leaving. Twenty-four hours before he left it became a deep sadness, the deepest I've ever known. By the time we had only four hours together it was a desperate sadness- thick and mucky and lonely. I felt compelled to tell him how much I loved him, how he was a part of me and I wouldn't be whole until he came back. I felt the tearing- him from me- in my heart. The gray clouds, wind, and driving rain matched my mood as I left the place where he boarded a bus that took him out of my life until the fall.
We've had a turbulent marriage. The early years were the worst, the middle years contained a prolonged separation and near divorce, these last years have been the easiest as we have gained a small level of maturity and experience that likely came from joining the military and moving across the world. We've come to rely on each other as partners and friends as never before. By the grace of God, we've survived storms that would sink most couples. To God be the glory for this. It's despite our weakness that we still stand as a couple and a family.
This image comes to my mind: when back home last month I picked up a Nifty Knitter, a funky little device that allows Kristine and I to knit hats and scarves and various other things with ease. (Nifty, eh?!) I made a hat for Kristine, using 2 threads of yarn, one a pretty multicolor thread in maroon/gray/ivory, the other a soft, fluffy sage green color. Using them both at the same time made the hat stronger, thicker and more sturdy. In creating it, I tied, twisted, stretched and manipulated the yarns- in the end I constructed a hat with what might have seemed like a hardship from the yarn's perspective.
God joined Tim and I together, allowing us to be twisted and tugged with our own sinfulness and by the natural afflictions of life. At one point we rebelled against the discomfort of it all, separating and unraveling our life together. All along I heard God's voice in my spirit: "You and Tim were meant for each other." After a time we renewed our vows- renewed our commitment to being woven and spun into a couple again. Now, looking back over the past few years, I can see the project taking shape. I see the ways I've become like him, the ways he's more like me, the similar interests and the ease with which we carry on conversations when given a moment to do so. I feel a bond with him that words can't adequately describe. I know I wasn't remiss in following God back to the loom of "Tim and Reese." In these hours since Tim left, the predominant feeling I have is one of incompleteness.
And it's not like we have attained some awesome level of marital maturity. We still fight and have misunderstandings, and there were times in the past few months I thought to myself, "I can't wait for him to leave!" (I'm sure he thought, "I can't wait to get away from this lady!") But when enduring a prolonged absence from one another, especially in the face of the dangers of war, all the crap falls away and it's just us. Suddenly the little things don't matter. The petty stuff seems so... petty. Larger, more important things loom ahead. Like love. Commitment. Family.
That's my encouragement to those of you reading this who are married: cherish the good, consciously discount the bad, and keep with it. Most of the time the bad really is trivial. Resist the natural urge to magnify the faults of your spouse and to look over the strengths. Cherish the one God put in your life. The gift of companionship and love is precious and worth every effort you put into it.