Dear Entitled Wife Syndrome,
I’m breaking up with you. It’s not me. It’s you.
You’re high maintenance, prideful, selfish, and generally annoying. You haven’t contributed anything good or positive to my attitude and you’re proving to be a hurdle in friendships. What’s more, you’re horribly contagious. You start out small in the form of one passing, sarcastic comment and then you grow and fester down deep and invade way too much space.
I’m kicking you out. Consider this your eviction notice. You’re a terrible tenant and an unproductive member of my emotional society.
Since we’re being blunt, you’re ugly too. Totally unattractive.
Look, I get it. This life as a Marine wife is complicated and hard and always changing. You never know what time your husband will get home from work. The thought of meal planning is completely ludicrous because there is no such thing as “dinner time.” Weekends are a total toss-up between having some time together and him getting called in to work on the fly. The thought of a regular and reoccurring routine that isn’t completely obliterated by his schedule sounds like a dream and also sounds completely impossible this side of retirement.
His work environment isn’t always, let’s say, “kosher.” There are some seriously ugly politics and even uglier personalities; power plays and brown-nosers abound. He gets taken advantage of and manipulated and there is nothing he can do about it that doesn’t run the risk of hurting his reputation or worse, his career.
Sometimes he tells you about it when he needs to vent and sometimes he won’t say a word because he desperately needs to not think about work but you convince yourself that he’s not letting you in and shutting down. You blame the Marine Corps for the hiccups and hurdles in your marriage and why shouldn’t you? After all, it’s the Marine Corps that sends your husband away for months at a time and doesn’t even apologize for making him miss, oh I don’t know, THE BIRTH OF YOUR FIRST BORN!
So go ahead and point the finger in every other direction and place blame on his peers, leaders, and circumstances you only hear about indirectly and keep pretending you “really get” what your husband is going through. Because after all, there is a remarkably long list of similarities between your life as a dependent and his job as the service member, right?
In case you haven’t picked up on my attempt at sarcasm, let me spell out for you, Entitled Wife Syndrome, why I think you need to hit the road (and don’t ya come back no mo’, no mo’, no mo!).
Is life as a military wife hard? Yes.
Are there daily learning curves when it comes to how to bend and flex with changing plans, timelines, deployments, moving, children, etc.? Of course.
WHO TOLD YOU IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE EASY?! Where, in your marriage contract, did it promise “boring, nine to five days?”
You can tell yourself all day long that you didn’t “sign up for the Marine Corps” but here’s a news flash sister: if you married a man in uniform, you signed up. Indirectly perhaps, but you signed up.
So snap out of it.
Stop complaining that you are married to a hero who chose a life of service and chose you to serve alongside him.
You have a part to play. You have a very important role to fill and it does NOT include whining about things that neither you nor he can control. Your part has nothing to do with stewing in your own discontent and creating a toxic and infectious home environment for him to come home to.
What you can control is your attitude. Your love, devotion, and commitment to fighting for your husband through consistent prayer, encouragement, adaptability, quiet, resilient strength, and being a source of consolation, reassurance, and hope.
He desperately needs hope and positive reinforcement that you are with him, you are for him and you are on his team, come hell or high water.
You signed up for him and got the Marine Corps too. It was a package deal no doubt, but you’re all in. Everyday.
So that’s it, Entitled Wife Syndrome. We’re through. Over. Done.
A toast to the Entitled Wife Syndrome: You were a bad friend to us. Please see your way to the door!
I swear to you, this is exactly how the conversation went:
My mother: “What’s wrong with you?”
Me: “I think I have ‘survivor’s guilt.'”
Mom: “What? Who died?”
Me: “Well, no one died… I just feel guilty for having too much fun or for being too happy while The Pilot is deployed. It just seems wrong. He’s off somewhere without AC, working all the time, eating bad food and getting a poor night’s rest on some awful twin size cot. Meanwhile, I’m busy seeing friends, traveling to visit family, eating at great restaurants and shopping like I’ve got nothing better to do. How can I not feel guilty?! Shouldn’t I be wearing a sack-cloth while I mourn or something?”
There’s a good chance that this kind of deranged mentality is unique to me and that I am an expert level of crazy that most will never reach. BUT, in the event that I’m not the only one that struggles with how to balance the hardship their husband faces with the sometimes really sweet and blessing-filled time that you’ve been given while they’re gone, feel free to join the club! I’m the president and we’re now taking applications.
The Pilot and I have only one deployment under our belt but there is another one fast approaching this year so I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how to gracefully thrive, not just survive, the upcoming season of separation.
So far, I’ve come up with three ideas that I’m going to try and filter every single emotion through. No matter what it is; if it be fear, worry, doubt, small victories or success, I’m going to look at each through three different lenses.
This message is Pilot approved… not that it matters ’cause I’m gonna say what I think regardless.
I’m not entirely sure if it’s American culture (of which I am blissfully unaware) or if it’s Marine Corps culture or some horrendous collision of the two. All I know is that when The Pilot and I rolled into Jacksonville, North Carolina I distinctly remember asking him, “What’s with all the buildings with no windows? Is there a large Jehovah’s Witness demographic in this town?”
I have yet to learn whether or not there a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses here, but I have learned that all those windowless buildings, with oddly in-descriptive signage and full parking lots are, in fact, strip clubs.
They are everywhere. On nearly every street I drive on, I pass one or two in order to get Target, church, the grocery store, bible study, etc. I see them everyday.
For the first few months, whenever I would pass a club I would pray, “Lord, I ask that business there would cease! That women would not seek employment in such an establishment and that men would not seek entertainment. God, convict their hearts.”
And conviction came. It roared down like a cloud of fire, illuminating not the sin of strippers or the men watching them, but the sin of my own heart.
While my prayers may have sounded well-intentioned and holy, they were laden with self-righteousness and nothing but disgust and condemnation for the patrons of those clubs. My heart held no compassion. It did hold, however, plenty of judgment.
Therein lay the problem: I judged an action and assumed judgment on the heart.
Do I think strip clubs are OK? Innocent pleasure? Harmless entertainment? No. I don’t.
I do think though that at the end of the day, I’m no better than a stripper. Truly. I sin everyday, despite my best efforts and when push comes to shove, all sin carries the same weight. Whether you take your clothes off for money, covet another woman’s wedding ring, lie to your husband about how much you spent on groceries, the sum is the same. We desperately need to be rescued from ourselves.
What I’ve learned is that my prayers can and should be radically different.
Instead of praying that women would feel so much shame that they can’t bring themselves to be on stage, I pray that women’s heart would encounter the love and pursuit of God in a real way. That they would know they are loved, treasured, fought for and desired not for their body, but for the beauty of their spirit. That they would be filled with hope knowing that they do not need to sell themselves to be loved, valued or worthy of attention. I pray that they would believe that they are worthy or respect and protection from a man who does not consider her something to be bought, but a heart to be protected and cherished.
I pray that men would not give sight or time to women who are not their wives. I pray that their hearts would be turned towards their spouses, that their desire both emotionally and physically would be for one woman to whom they are married. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is truly the most fulfilling thing to do.
And I pray, lastly, for myself; that my heart would always be soft, compassionate, and gracious towards those who believe and live differently than I do. Not out of pity, but because of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that He desires that all would come to know Him and His saving grace so that no one should perish.
In the same way Jesus loved me in my darkest moments, so He loves the men and women in those strip clubs. Not because of what they do, but because of what He wants to do in and through their lives.
If we truly believe that Christ’s mercy far exceeds our capacity to sin, then should we not be all the more fervent and vigilant in our prayers for those who do not know the good news yet?
If I was asked to describe military living in a word, it would be “transience.”
Even as I write this, sitting in my office staring out the front window of my base home, there is a moving truck taking up the entire view and my soon-to-be ex-neighbor is frantically loading up her belongings.
I wish I could say it’s hyperbole, but the truth is, I see moving trucks every week come barreling down our street. Some taking families away to their next duty station on another base and some bringing new families to town and dropping them off for their brief two to three year stint here in North Carolina.
Constant change. Continual transition. That is at the core of being a military spouse.
Even though The Pilot and I will not move for another several years, our community is in constant flux. This realization then begs the question:
How much effort do I really put into relationships here? How much heart and soul will I choose to pour into lives that, when all is said and done, I may never really know? Why would I continually put myself out there to make friends when they’re just going to leave and our paths are not promised to cross again?
Because Jesus said so. That’s why.
The more I think about it, the more it dawns on me that Jesus is a perfect example for military families. Always on the move, never in one town for long, but always making every effort to be intentional and focused enough to show love, give compassion, and share the good news.
May be one shot is all you get with your neighbor. One interaction was all Jesus had with plenty of people who would forever be changed by the small amount of time He took to look them in the eye and tell them the truth.
So while the house across the street is now empty, I know it won’t be for long. And when the next family moves in, I pray that God would grant me the courage and faith to make every effort to let them know I am glad that they are here and that a helping hand is just next door.
Who is your neighbor today? What door of opportunity has God opened and invited you to walk through?
May we truly believe that no matter how small the calling, the only thing that matter is obedience.
For five years, Compassion International has been doing something pretty extraordinary.
For five years we’ve been asking bloggers from all over the country to step out of their first-world comfort zones and personally experience the ministry of Compassion and the kids whose lives have been so radically changed by the simple act of sponsorship.
Simple idea, right? Very basic. Bridge the gap between people who are reasonably confident that Compassion is a worth-while ministry and those who have seen, heard, and personally witnessed the transformative power of hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Bridge the gap between those who write their kids letters and those who have been invited into the homes of some of the world’s most impoverished families and been showered with the wealth of real, genuine, hospitality and gratitude.
To shed light on the faith of these families, living in mud-huts, that want to share with you what they have not because they have so much, but because they have enough.
This week, bloggers are in Uganda. Meeting children, praying with their families, seeing the local churches that are vibrantly alive with the power and truth of God’s Word and His provision.
This week, their lives are being changed and you have been invited to be changed too.
Below are links to the incredibly talented and humble men and women who want to share with you not just what Compassion does, but why it is so important.
Will you please join their journey?
You can read about each of their experiences on their blogs:
1. Chatting at the Sky
2. Jeff Goins
3. Joy The Baker
4. Nesting Place
5. Shaun Groves
6. Brianne McKoy
7. Wess Stafford
Lastly, would you please prayerfully consider sponsoring a child?
I truly hope that reading these blogs and following along on this trip revives and births something new in you and me.
May our vision not be obscured by our own preconceived ideas, but may the Lord reveal Himself to us in a new way and may we respond to His invitation to be a part of His kingdom.
Isaiah 58: 6-9