Staying Soft in a Hard World

So, the Pilot is still here.

Another week, another delayed deployment date. Another emotional roller coaster of preparing to say goodbye with no reason or opportunity to grieve his departure. Because he in fact, has not yet departed.

Two months. Two months of week by week count-downs and then the news hits: “Not yet. Looks like next week.”

While there is a certain richness that comes with treating the final days and moments like their your last, that kind of emotional intensity is not sustainable. Frankly, it’s exhausting.

Daily routines, normal date nights, any usual pattern that you have developed with your spouse over time is substituted for something different. Something new and exciting in order to make sure that it’s a special and significant memory. A delicately formulated moment whose soul purpose is meant to make the pending separation easier.

But week after week of trying to create those moments, feeling the pressure and need to seize those opportunities again and again when they no longer surface naturally, stretches emotions too thin.

In fact, the sincerity of it all feels mocked.

And so, if you’re like me, your natural response is to retreat.

Shut down, turn off, and beat saying goodbye to the punch. Check out ahead of time. Create distance, put up all your self-defense mechanisms and get to work being the strong wife that stays behind.

The only problem with this strategy is… everything.

It doesn’t help to move on as if he’s gone when he’s not. Because every evening that he comes home and you spent your day pretending like he wouldn’t only causes undue tension that is unfair to him and harmful you. That kind of prideful self-sufficiency that pretends to feel  no pain only digs a root of resentment that replaces everything your husband needs to you be in that moment: Soft. Vulnerable. Honest. Empathetic. Tender.

In other words– a woman.

Something about these last two months has scared me away from being too girly about the situation. “Don’t let him see you cry. Don’t be upset. Don’t feel it too deeply. He needs you to be strong so stifle all your gut reactions and keep it together.”

But as a woman and as the Pilot’s wife, isn’t part of my role to be feeling? To bring an element of femininity to our circumstances, whatever they are? Am I not hardwired to act and respond with depth and tenderness? Isn’t that what makes me different from him?  Isn’t that what draws him to me?

If he can not fix or help his circumstances and I pretend that they do not affect me, I give him no room in our marriage to play his part. So not only is he cut off professionally from influencing a deployment date, but I emasculate him when he gets home with a clear message of “I’m fine without you.”

So, the challenge is simple: Feel it all. Everyday.

Dont’ run away from the pain. Don’t deny the hurt. Don’t pretend it’s not hard.

He needs you to be a woman so he can ultimately be a man.


11 responses to “Staying Soft in a Hard World”

  1. SarahK says:

    Oh Dear. I cannot pretend to know what you are experiencing. But your honest and head-on approach to this very difficult situation is encouraging. You may not feel it, but you are inspiring to the rest of us. Our love to you and The Pilot.

  2. Amazing word! Thanks for sharing so beautifully and sincerely. Love you girl!

  3. Aunt Sandy says:

    And turning off all emotions then becomes a habit which affects all you do…. Well said sweet niece-in-love.

  4. Grandma says:

    I’m praying for you both. Just live in the moment “Thank you, Lord” it didn’t start today. The every day things are just as important as the special “events”. Believe me I know its easier said than done.
    With my love and prayers, Grandma Barbara

  5. Tanya says:

    RoomMate! You are so strong and amazing. What you are learning is hard and will challenge you as an independent woman who wants to protect and as the gental wife who needs to feel. I love you and your strength in self and in softness.

  6. Brandon Hackett says:

    Love that God is pushing you on this, Meredith.
    That is what your husband needs from you. Glad you are recognizing it and I will be praying for you in it.

  7. Alisa Lewis says:

    So great to read this Meredith and hear your heart. I’m sure it’s very difficult. I pray you’ll be able to enjoy all of the little moments together even if you are crying. Lots of love.


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Posted in: Marine Corp