I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now, but I've had a hard time putting together my thoughts and feelings about it all.... the transition from deployment life to homecoming and now to normal life.
Transitions are hard and there is always a giant unknown regarding the outcome. Will we come out of this transition stronger, weaker, tougher, sadder, exhausted, hopeless, renewed or broken? I don't know of any serviceman or military spouse who can say in the middle of a deployment how things will turn out 3, 6 or 9 months after the homecoming. The homecoming is awesome, but the days following a homecoming don't shine a truthful light to how life will be once things settles and routines get rolling.
I've talked pretty openly about our struggles in 2007 when Joel came home from Iraq. Take a peek at part one and part two to read more about that. So I knew how hard life has been for us post-deployment. My hope was that we learned valuable lessons from that experience and that we wouldn't follow a similar path. I also knew since I spoke about our struggles so honestly that those around us would be keeping a closer eye on us this time around and that we would have a better support system and accountability around us.
Well, all those things are true. Joel and I talked openly weeks leading up to his trip home about what his homecoming may and may not be. We were absolutely dedicated to keeping our marriage strong and focusing on the health of our family. We weren't going to pick each other apart for the changes that occurred over his 7-month deployment. We were dedicated to being patient, honest, loving and encouraging. We knew we'd have to give each other room and ease into our "normal" married life.
So, over the past two months, I've gotten countless emails and calls wondering how we were adjusting. That has meant a lot to us. It means a lot to know that so many people who love us, understand our past better and are willing to be there with us, no matter how good or bad things are.
Every time someone has asked how things have been, one word always comes to mind - peaceful. Things have truly been peaceful in our relationship. We are choosing not to bicker, to pick on each other's annoying habits. We are choosing to listen, no matter how hard words can be to understand. We are choosing to make our marriage, above all else our priority.
So, peace has ruled for the past two months. Our marriage is strong, despite some bumps in the road since Joel's been home. We are easing into normal life, as much as life lets you ease back. And when life pushes back and things get tense, we try to remember that we're on the same team and working toward the same goals, and that somehow works things out.
Thanks to all of you who have stood by us, prayed for us and encouraged us along the way. And keep checking-in and ask how things are going!