Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reintegration and Reset

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

         About three weeks prior to the unit’s homecoming, the battalion FRG held a redeployment briefing.  This being only my second FRG meeting and my first deployment, I figured it would be beneficial to attend.  During the meeting, I was surprised by the emphasis placed on reintegration – the time when a soldier returns home and reintegrates with his family.  Many of the wives asked questions and expressed fears that this would be a difficult time in their marriage.  They raised concerns over how to return decision making to their husbands, when it was okay to leave him alone with the kids, how many responsibilities and chores he should assume, and when.  After the meeting, my mind was swimming.  I had never even considered these challenges.  Since virtually everyone there seemed to suggest reintegration would be an arduous time, I began to worry.

            In my heart, I knew that Matt and I had a strong marriage.  And unlike the majority in that room, he had only been gone 6 months as opposed to their 12-15.  So would we have those problems they addressed? After all, we didn’t have children nor were there that many responsibilities shifted to me from Matt when he left.  Since we knew deployment was always on the horizon, I had been involved in the finances, chores, and major, as well as day-to-day, decisions. 

            But here I was, never been through such a long separation before, and hearing all these discouraging experiences from women who were on their third or fourth deployments…I couldn’t help but be a little preoccupied.  Before Matt came home, I shared what had happened in the meeting.  He reassured me that we would not have any trouble.  He said that yes, some marriages really do suffer from deployments and he would explain why when he came home.

            Needless to say, the Lord did protect our marriage, and we did not have difficulty reintegrating.  Through our emphasis on communication and our priority on relationship with God and each other, we were able to unite as a couple, stronger than before.

            During those first few months that Matt was home, he took off 15 of his guaranteed 30 days of leave.  This was mostly due to the fact that I was still working and could not take an entire month of school off.  I did, however, take two weeks and never regretted it! 

         Although it can be stressful to take that much time off, it is well worth it to make up for the lost time with your husband.  It was during this time that Matt began to share with me the real stories from his deployment.  He told me of a corrupt commander who gambled with his enlisted subordinates, of soldiers who engaged in inappropriate relationships and others who stressed over their wives’ frivolous spending back home.  It was then that I realized how tough reintegration would be for families who faced the consequences of such actions.  No wonder it was a breeze for us!

            However, God is very clear that we should not boast in what we have accomplished.  1 Corinthians 10:12, “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  It was only by the grace of God that my marriage did not suffer those same pitfalls – grace that I cannot begin to thank Him for.

            Not only did God protect our marriage through that deployment, but He gave us such a sweet and easy reunion.  We slid back into our routines as though Matt had never left.  I don’t credit that to our doing things right.  I attribute that to the grace of God, making Him such a vital part of our marriage – He is what holds us together!

            As the school year ended, I looked forward to a relaxing summer, more time to spend with Matt.  With the change in literal seasons came a drastic change in Matt’s work.  He was transferred out of the support unit back into 2-7 Infantry where he had originally been assigned before the deployment.  He was given a platoon, and I soon began to learn what it meant to be a platoon leader’s wife in the “Rear.”


Zoe said...

Melissa you write beautifully and I enjoy reading about what a sweet and strong marriage you have and about the life of a military wife. Can't wait until the next installment!
We miss you at Kessler!

Anonymous said...

Great as always! I love you!