Being a military wife is already hard, but celebrating special days without your spouse can be particularly tricky. Sometimes, I just want to climb in my bed and just sleep the day away, but I know that is not a healthy response. Instead, I have learned a few healthy lessons that have helped me focus more on what I have in my relationship beyond a date on my calendar.
Lesson 1—The status of my relationship is not defined by a date
Throughout our 13 years of marriage, we have spent many anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays apart. I have waited for calls that didn’t come. I waited for emails that could not be sent. I received packages days after a special occasion. With each moment, I could allow the fact we were apart physically to burden my heart or I could choose to celebrate the love we have that goes beyond any distance.
Celebrating dates don’t define the level of intimacy within a marriage. It is not about what my hubby does for our anniversary or Valentine’s day. Our intimacy is based upon how he responds to the condition of my heart. Our relationship is defined by how we both choose to show up and be present. Being present in your relationship outlasts a date on a calendar.
Lesson 2—Love others
Holidays, like Valentine’s day, are an excellent opportunity to shower my love and appreciation for my hubby, my family, and others around me. Instead of pulling away from the world and sinking into my emotions while my hubby is away, I have learned to be outward focused. I look for ways to make the days better for others.
So when the holidays roll around, it is a wonderful time to honor those who hold a special place in your life. Honor the seasoned military wife who encourages you to be resilient and steadfast during your first deployment. Honor the friend who has selflessly walked with you in seasons of lack and in seasons of growth. Honor the pastor and leaders at your church who freely give of their time and energy to serve. Even though getting through the holidays can be challenging, choosing to focus on loving others can fill your heart.
Lesson 3—Any day is a good day to celebrate.
Being a military wife has helped me to appreciate the moments I have to celebrate the relationship I have with my hubby. Whether it is Valentine’s day or a regular Monday, any day is a good day to celebrate our relationship. We have chosen to let every day be a day to appreciate the gift we have in one another. Consistently choosing to create habits that cultivate a healthy relationship is a daily choice.
Beyond celebrating the holidays is how we choose to communicate and appreciate one another daily. We make time to talk without interruptions (although that is not always easy with kids). We use our words to encourage one another. We choose to nurture our affection, care, romance, and connection throughout the year. So even when we may be physically apart, we can continue to build upon the foundation we have already created.