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The Seven Deadly Lies of Deployment

by Jocelyn on December 17, 2010

The following article is reposted by permission from Excellent or Praiseworthy, the devotional Web site of Cru Military.

by Linda Montgomery

Once again, we saw a marriage crumble.  Once again, we saw the husband walk out . . . the wife give up. Once again we saw a family disintegrate leaving a legacy of divorce.  Once again we thought—if only they had seen the truth and not believed the lies. If only they had hung in there. Understanding that there are extreme conditions which can bring a marriage to an end, we know that there are far too many marriages where the couples just quit for lack of understanding, lack of forgiveness, lack of perspective, lack of trust, lack of hope, or lack of perseverance. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.”  —1 Corinthians 13:7,8

During our military and ministry life, we have seen marriages fail during deployment because of believing what we call the “Seven Deadly Lies of Deployment.”  The following lies are written from the viewpoint of the at-home spouse, but it won’t take too much imagination to figure out how these could affect the deployed spouse as well.

1.  The Lie: “I didn’t sign up for this.  I’m missing out.”

The Truth: Comparing your life during deployment to your friends or neighbors can be deadly. Looking out the window and seeing your neighbor’s spouse come home every night can make you feel like your life is somehow not valuable or “right.” Equally damaging and frustrating is the habit of comparing your deployment experiences with other military at-home spouses. For example, “My husband has been deployed twice.”  “You think that’s bad, my husband has been deployed five times!” Or “I’m stuck at home with these two little kids who scream all the time.” “That’s nothing. . .I’ve got a little one who has never seen his father and two older kids who are causing me all kinds of trouble!” You know. And it can go on and on. We know that there are even couples who compare their hardships—being at-home and being deployed—a sort of “one ups-man-ship.” Truth would remind us that sacrificing for one’s country is a high and noble calling and those who serve at home are equally important! God is sovereign, and His plan for your life is for good and not for evil. The challenges which you are going through right now can be seen as that—challenges. God knows what you are experiencing and will see you through it. There is no need to compare, only to listen and extend compassion to one another with kind words and helpful actions, as Christ would.  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  Colossians 3:12-14

2.  The Lie: “What if _______happens?  I’ll never be able to handle that.”

The Truth: God is Faithful. When we forget His past faithfulness and the ways in which He has blessed us, we are on dangerous ground. In her book Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow discusses the three areas of anxiety: the “if onlys” involve worry about the past, the “whys” involve worry about the present, and the “what ifs” involve worry about the future. As the saying goes, “We do not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future!” As God has been faithful to meet our every need in the past (if we take the time to look back and remember), we know that He is faithful to meet us at any and every point in our life now and in the future.  “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13 and “For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.”  Psalm 33:4 and “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear . . .”  Psalm 46:1,2a

3.  The Lie: “My friends all tell me I’m wasting my life. It’s time to move on.”

The Truth: Listening to the wrong voices is an easy mistake to make in this culture of “disposable” relationships—much too easy. Building good relationships takes effort and marriage takes work. Building communication will always take time, but it will be worth it. Sharing information across the miles will not grow your relationship as much as sharing thoughts, feelings, prayer, and spiritual understanding. Develop friendships with those whose marriages have stood the test of time and have grown in their relationships—even during deployments. Put guards around spending time with those who do not have your best interests at heart and do not see the value in building a strong marriage based on commitment to one another. “For better or worse” should not be re-worded “For better or else.”  “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure. . .”  —Hebrews 13:4

4.  The Lie: “No one understands what I’m going through. I’ll put my life on hold, and then start living again when my spouse returns.”

The Truth: Choosing to be isolated during this time is a sure step toward loneliness and depression. We need each other, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Cycles of inappropriate behavior, laziness, or apathy can lead to guilt and more of the same.  Break the cycle by finding a good church and Bible study. . . finding a good support group . . . finding someone whom you can help. Make sure that you build friendships with those of the same sex (wives with other women; husbands with other men). Going to a member of the opposite sex to discuss your marriage can be a recipe for disaster (unless in a professional counseling setting). While others may not understand completely what you are going through, God does. His presence is real.  “Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.”  —Psalm 139:7-10. Can you read those verses and see how they apply to Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines, and Army—deployed and family at home?

5.  The Lie: “My kids are going to be scarred. I’ll never get back these years.”

The Truth: God can take even the most difficult of circumstances and use it for His good. Never lose hope that God is at work in this circumstance in your children’s lives. Yes, there will be scars, times of loneliness and confusion—but because of God’s purposes, they can be “holy scars.”  Something new and strong can intertwine with the wound and cover over the hurt. If a child is taught to endure, to look for the positive in the midst of what appears to be negative, to turn to God in order to thrive when most of the world looks to destructive behaviors in order to survive, to learn to be content in all circumstances, and to take what they are learning in order to help others—then periods of deployment can be times of maturing. That child will grow into an adult with patience and coping skills which others have never developed. Reading biographies of our nation’s founding fathers, missionaries to foreign countries, and past military heroes—and what their families endured during times of separation—will perhaps give you and your children a sense of “context and perspective” which will help point out the purposes in fights for freedom, both personal and national. You’re right, you’ll never get back the years apart . . but with God what can be gained is even more valuable—character.But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” —Romans 5:4,5

6. The Lie:  “He’s always gone.  And once he gets home he’ll be getting ready to go again. Deployments are never going to end.”

The Truth: Deployments will end. They will not last forever. Losing perspective and “going global” is one sure way to sabotage right-thinking. I had a wife at Ft. Hood express to me her understanding that this time in their life with so many deployments was a “season”. . . and that she could see ahead to their life out of the military when perhaps they could look back on these stressful years as some of the best years of their marriage because of how they grew when apart. She had perspective—she had faith. “But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.” —Psalm 31:14,15a

7.  The Lie: “I may as well not even be married. With my spouse gone all the time, my needs are not being met. God wouldn’t want me to be this unhappy.”

The Truth: Selfishness is a marriage-killer. Ignoring the opportunity to see how you are blessed, having a heart of ingratitude, and acting out of resentment, bitterness and cynicism is a demonstration of pride and self-centeredness. Teamwork and oneness require selflessness. Demonstrating a different way to think while living in a deployment culture where despair is often the norm can be a testimony to the grace of God in your life. Perhaps the best way to show that with Jesus Christ you are a new creation is to cultivate love and respect in your marriage. As Gary Thomas, the author of Sacred Marriage, asks, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” People will notice a Christ-centered marriage, and want what you have. People need the Lord—marriages need the Lord—and our time in the military is a perfect gift “for such a time as this” to minister to others whom we would normally never meet nor have the chance to serve.  Put your spouse’s needs above your own and you will be amazed at how God will work in your heart and your life.  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  —Philippians 2:3,4

This has been a lengthy devotional, but one which, I hope, will cause all of us to discern lies from truth during deployment. Jesus tells us where these lies come from in John 8:44 when He speaks of Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Be careful of this enemy. Satan would seek to destroy your marriage and your family. Our prayer is that you will be strong in your fight for truth, and as Paul writes in Philippians 1:9-11, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

Dillow, Linda, Calm My Anxious Heart (Colorado Springs, NavPress, 1998).

Thomas, Gary, Sacred Marriage (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2000).

Questions to Share:

1.   If you have found yourself believing any of the lies above, take the time now to ask God for forgiveness. Break free from living in the bondage of believing lies. Repent and turn to the freedom of truth.

2.  If you have hurt your spouse by believing and voicing lies, take the time now to ask your spouse for forgiveness.  Make a list of ways that you are going to change your thinking and look for ways to love and encourage them.

3.  If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior and as your Lord, take the time now to surrender your heart and life to Him.  He loves you and wants you to live an abundant life in the freedom of His mercy and grace.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa December 17, 2010 at 8:32 am

Thank you for sharing this. My husband just got back from a deployment and is headed out on a year deployment. Your words were a blessing at this time in our lives!

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Lindsay December 17, 2010 at 9:49 am

thank you so much for sharing this with anyone whom chooses to read through it! i am preparing for my first deployment and have a baby due 2 weeks after he leaves. these words of wisdom will hopefully help me keep my head up through the rough times and help me realize that he will be home!

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Victoria December 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Thank you so much for these words of wisdom. My husband and I got married a month before he was deployed and I had just graduated from high school. This has guven me so much hope and praise for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will choose my friends wisely (women) and not think about the what ifs and think about the right now. Again, thank you so much.

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Aracely December 17, 2010 at 5:47 pm

As someone who has been involved with Military Ministry for a long time now, all I can is thank you for this amazing devotional! It is all true, God will always be faithful. Another book I can recommend during the deployment for military members is Military Ministry’s Spiritual Survival Handbook. It can help ease their stress and anxiety as well and help those at home in the process.

God bless.

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Veronica December 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. My husband and I are going through a very rough patch right now, but with your words of advice and kindness I can honestly say that I am ready to give it all I have to make it work when he gets back.

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Melissa January 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

This is awesome… I wish something like this were around 20 years ago!
My husband and I got married in ’86 about 6 weeks before he left for boot camp in San Diego. Right out of high school, young and a baby on the way. I can honestly say that the LORD was my strength…
We surpassed deployment after deployment, the birth of 3 daughters (only 2 that he was present for), numerous Christmas’ and birthday’s without daddy, lots of really BIG phone bills, lots of new friends met from all over the country (some we have still managed to keep in touch with), and alot of moving around. Two terms with the Marine Corps and I can honestly say… it was worth it! We are still married after 24 years, our children are wonderful young ladies, we have two grandchildren and still trucking along. All this through the power of prayer, faith in the LORD and in each other.
Stay strong, say a prayer every morning, everytime you think of your spouse whether near or far… keep your faith and love unconditionally.

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kris December 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

Number 4 is so true. How often we think no one else can understand. In reality, they (civilians) don’t understand because we won’t reach out or we create our own clicks, forgetting that non-military families also have difficult seasons in life. I have been surprised how people will understand if I take the time to be honest with them without assuming they can’t get it because my family chose a different path in life.

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Brittany December 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for sharing! I found myself nodding throughout. These are things I have definitely been guilty of during life as an Army wife, both during our deployment and while we are together.

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Becky Coyne January 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm

My husband is not and has never been military, however he works all over the world and is gone as much as my friend’s husbands…if not more so….who are military men. I have met and passed through all the above mentioned questions and concerns. Please do not believe that only military spouses can understand. There are more of us out there than you know about. Just so you know I have referred to myself as a “single, married, mother of five” for 35 years now. Please know that your military spouses have just as much trouble accepting their absence as you do. They have trouble accepting your abilities and strengths in their absence. As the kids grow up and talk, they will say, “I don’t remember that.” You and the kids will say, “You weren’t here for that.”

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Elizabeth January 25, 2012 at 12:41 am

thank you for this :) my hubby just got word that there is a chance of deployment in our near future, he is now in the Reserves instead of active duty and our lives have changed from military to almost civilian. Hearing they might change again, has made us anxious, and uneasy. He is my best friend, and the love of my life. He is def my rock, and the greatest father to our daughter :) We’ve been lucky enough to only go through one short deployment when I was pregnant with our little girl, that seems like a lifetime ago… I know we can do it again, honestly I just don’t want to, but I guess none of us really want too. Anyways this post has released a lot of anxiety from my heart and really made me think in a positive way. We don’t always know God’s plan for us, but his is always the best path for us… thank you :D

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Jami September 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! It really gives hope to read this! My husband is deployed now and this has really really gave me a new perspective and puts it all into words that I could not come up with myself! Especially love the verses with each one!

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Jo January 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I think something that makes it harder to believe the truth is when you know timelines. My husband is currently deployed. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and am raising two kids who also have multiple learning disabilities, ranging from Autism and ADHD to speech disorders and sensory processing issues. It’s exhausting. Finding out two months into our current deployment (which is our first) that he will be going back less than a year after coming home is painful. He wont be home for many more months and I already know the time with him will be short and painful because he has to spend most of that training for the next deployment. It’s hard to see the joy and blessings sometimes when you know the timeline, you know he wont be home, you know you are essentially a single parent. I was a Pastor’s Wife before I was an Army wife. I know job sacrifices have to be made for the good of the community and those around us. It just sucks when you are still grieving his leaving and you then have to process him not being home but a few months before he has to go again. Almost makes me wish we had the longer deployments back, at least then he wouldn’t have to waste his time coming home just to have to turn around and leave again.

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Holly June 4, 2013 at 10:59 am

<3 but I definitely have felt the what's the point of being married one! 24 years of marriage + 24 years in the army = 11 years together and some days it just seems to hard/long and to tired!!

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Jo June 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

Thanks so much for sharing this! Many of the things you wrote were truths that I discovered early on in my marriage and have helped me get through so many tough times. But we have also received so many countless blessings that outweigh the tough times. This article was spot on and I glad that you shared it!

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Amanda June 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

This is a great article. I try to be the supporting wife to my fellow wives. But my question is what happens when it is the deployed that causes the stress. When he or she becomes paranoid and accuses all the time or makes assumptions. Or listens to others he is with about things that can happen? What do you do when he starts questioning your every move so much to the point you question yourself? I’m sorry this article helps wives with these worries indeed. But where is the article that helps the other wives with the questions I have just asked? Please don’t take this wrong. This article is very true. I’ve seen many friends marriages fade away. But for both reasons. Mine almost ended because of the above questions but I hung on but still to this day 4 deployments later he still has moments in question. so what am I supposed to do?………respectfully yours.

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Amanda July 12, 2013 at 8:41 am

Wow. This article helps me in so many ways. My fiancée is getting ready for his first deployment in about a month and a half and all of these things have been rushing through my mind just about every night. Often times I sit and through tears I wonder if this is for nothing. I fear that God will take J away from me as some form of punishment and leave me here without my soulmate, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. You see I’m an almost 18 year old senior in high school and its difficult for me because my parents are strict and won’t let me see J on base. It’s almost like I feel that in not apart of half of his life. I see stories and pictures about wives living on post and all I can do is cry because that future is not not in the cards for me quite yet. I want to go to school, but I want to live with J and be apart of his “world”. I want to get married to J but my parents would freak out if they even knew that he proposed….. All of this puts me in a sticky spot so the questions of doubt are the LAST things I need to be worried about. Thank you for this devotional.., In the mean time I need some God directed advice about my situation… What should I do ?

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Jen February 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

Can I add another lie? “I am so good by myself, I don’t need him anymore. In fact, things are worse when he’s here…….”

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Military Grandma February 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine (if truly born again). If not, it’s as NEAR as to call right now on the Name of the Lord for forgiveness of all your sins and deliverance from the results and power of sin, asking Him to be YOUR personal Savior and the Lord of your life, forever. He promises eternal life with Him forever, from that instant into eternity. Your Maker is then your Heavenly Husband who said He will never leave you nor forsake you. Your dear husband must do what his country says to for a time, but The Lord loves you so much He gives you Himself, 24/7, without fail … and all the strength, gentleness, and support you can need. This adventure is only for a season.

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