Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her - Ephesians 5:25
The moment every military family knows is inevitable was upon us - RLB's first deployment. The last few days wound down filled with "one last times" and "it'll be okay, we'll get through this." I was confident we, as a couple, would be fine. We had 14 years of marriage in and had been through some challenging times. And, it was us, the agreeable RLB and SD, two peas in a pod, made for each other, nothing would shake our tree. (I can almost hear military couples laughing right now).
It took a couple months to start but, as so often is the case, fear and insecurity overwhelmed me. I allowed anxious thoughts to infiltrate my mind. RLB was in a remote location in Africa, the OIC (officer in charge) of a small group of men. There's no need for details of the operation or the situation. All that's essential to know, with regards to this story, is that RLB had a job to do, men he was responsible for, and, when it mattered, a wife that failed him.
It's hard to tell this story because it involves my ignorance and failure, something we women don't like to talk about. But how else can I tell you of the most beautiful love story that has happened in my life?
We had the unfortunate convenience of communication. We messaged each other, spoke on the phone and through Skype. Missing were the weekly letters extolling my love and appreciation of my Soldier, replaced with endless chats and too much information. I wanted to know more and became aware of my need for control. When it was evident that control was gone I lived in a state of anxiety that can only be described as an out of control, irrational panic. RLB stopped answering my questions, he knew that answering one question only led to another and then another. This fear that had overwhelmed me was insatiable. By the fifth month, RLB would entertain talking to me only until he sensed a leading question or accusation coming. When that happened, he hung up, disconnected. He said things like, "what business is that of yours?" and "get over yourself."
Several friends and family members got to witness what became of me. RLB was completely detached from me emotionally and I was a raging lunatic. Many of them tried to comfort me in my pity party to no avail. RLB told me I needed to "get my own thing." And I, for the life of me, could not understand what that meant.
Finally the day came for his return. By this time I was sick. For sure he would emotionally attach himself once again when he saw me, right? He would see all the pain in my eyes and know what he had done to me, right?
RLB had a resolve and would not waver. I feared our relationship was over.
The relationship we had previously was over.
It was time for our marriage to begin. A marriage covenant as it was intended. A three way covenant with God at the helm. I had two choices before me. I could succumb to Satan, divorce RLB, and destroy our family. Or, I could surrender to the Voice that had been trying to get my attention. RLB was not going to help me with the decision. It was mine alone to make. I needed to get my own thing.
I got it.
We were on a family vacation in South Padre Island, Texas. Late one night, after I mentioned divorce once again to RLB, he got up, left me, and went to sit on the beach. I cried out to God to help me. I was not alone in my prayers. A peace came over me. I walked to the beach, found RLB and said, for the first time, "I will never divorce you, I will not destroy this family. I will do whatever I need to do."
I started the journey of walking with God.
I'll share in future posts the tools that were made readily available to me that assist me in this journey. The Bible was the first. I opened up and truly listened to what God was communicating to me. The message was clear. None of this had been or was about RLB. This was all about me and God.
RLB loved me. He loved me so much he left me alone to find a new Love.