When we first met Eugene and Louise at church in 1990, they had been married forty-eight years. Their wedding had been a hastily organized ceremony in 1942 at Fort Stewart, prompted by Eugene’s imminent deployment to Europe in World War II. So they were husband and wife for only two days, then separated for three and a half years—with him serving in Europe and her on active duty in Papua New Guinea.
When we sat down to interview Louise after Eugene passed away in 2000, we asked her how they managed to stay connected during their wartime years apart. Her answer? “We read the Bible together, and we prayed for each other.” Their correspondence was erratic at best, but the letters were filled with thoughts on the book of Ephesians.
Louise’s advice to couples experiencing deployment today would be the same as in 1942: “Stay committed to each other and the Lord.” She helped us to add these six specific ideas:
1. Read the Bible together. Write down truths taught, lessons learned, and applications to ponder; be ready to share when you can communicate.
2. Pray together. Ask each other, “How can I pray for you this week?” Then don’t forget to pray over the phone, type out a prayer in an email/text, or write out a prayer in a letter.
3. Read online devotionals together. Use material such as Cru’s Excellent or Praiseworthy blog or FamilyLife’s Moments with You as a springboard to share your thoughts.
4. Read devotional books together. Share what you’ve learned from devotionals, such as “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers.
5. Work through a Bible study together. There are many good Bible studies available on marriage, parenting, and spiritual growth. Working through them together is a great way to stay “on the same page” while apart.
6. Read a book on marriage together. Prepare to read and discuss a chapter a week from a book on marriage, like Gary Chapman’s classic, “Five Love Languages.”
The goal is to finish this deployment strong!
1. Seek ways the Holy Spirit, speaking through Scripture, can keep you unified during this time apart. List two or more ways.
2. How do you draw strength from knowing someone is praying for you?
Listen to Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife, Heather, as they discuss Darren’s deployment and the effect it had on their marriage on FamilylifeToday.com.