When I said yes to Adam back in December of 2009, I had agreed to a life in the military. I knew that by marrying him we would be faced with unique challenges. During our many emails back and forth before marrying in September of 2010, we had talked about whether this life would be the full 20 for Adam, or if he’d be wanting to get out and start a different career. He basically said that when the time came to reenlist we’d be past the halfway point, so why not go for the end?
The idea of re-enlisting had seemed so far away. We were just married, starting our new life together, and shore duty was spoiling us to pieces. Now, a year before he returns to a ship and spends four years on sea duty, he is at 12 years of service. Only eight to go until he can retire from the Navy. Why not?
Starting a family changes the game — just like it does for everyone. Knowing that Michael would be under five the entire time Adam would be on a ship was a bit daunting. Can I handle that? Will Michael be OK? How will Adam handle it? But these questions were so easily answered: “How many other families make it through the military life?” We could do it. It would be challenging, but that’s what we signed up for, right?
A year ago Adam started talking about whether he should reenlist. I didn’t have much to say on it since his career choice was between him and God. I was just grateful that we had a steady income. Whenever we talked re-enlistment still felt so far away. I did not know or understand what it meant. All I knew was that he would sign papers stating that he’d serve in the Navy for another chunk of years. But I don’t think it ever clicked with me.
Until today. A few days ago, Adam told me that he was getting the paperwork done to reenlist by Friday. I didn’t think much of it — I was already in the military life, so it wouldn’t change a thing. He then said that it would be a ceremony that I could attend. This gave me my first clue. re-enlistment is more than just signing papers.
Yes, it is also being discharged and then taking the oath again, but that’s not what I mean. Standing there, listening to my man with his right hand raised, taking the oath, made me realize that it doesn’t matter that I came into the marriage thinking we’d go the full 20. It didn’t matter that, as a wife, I know nothing else but the military (the easy side of the military, but the military nonetheless).
What mattered was that Adam, Michael, and I were making another commitment. We were choosing to serve for another six years. As Adam’s dependents, Michael and I were agreeing and committing to supporting Adam, understanding him, and choosing to sacrifice our precious man to the service of the military.
I am proud of my husband. He sees his service as his job, not a way to be honored or to seek glory, but I am still proud of his sacrifice and his integrity. I am honored to stand with him, with our son, and make it through another six years (and then another two to finish off the 20). We, as a family, will make it through every challenge that God brings our way.