Because I am headed to Iraq sometime after the New Year, I found this recent email a blessing to read and a fitting reminder about my short-term mission to serve men and women in uniform related to their relationships.
"I felt led to write this to you today because as I was moving around on Facebook, I saw that you were going to be in Iraq. My husband is currently deployed there and my prayer is that he can go to your conference while you are there.
"I had heard some good things about your book so I bought it. Unfortunately I bought it with the wrong intentions. I bought it to fix my husband, again. I had been buying books for years to try and get things better in our marriage. We have had an ok marriage but there were some BIG trouble spots and I was very concerned. The problem, I was VERY sure, was his fault since I thought I was doing what I needed to as a good, Godly wife (pride UGH!). Well a year went by without the book or the study guide cracked open by either of us. Orders came, he left for Iraq. We were having some difficult patches with him being gone, go figure, and I saw a copy of Love and Respect in a used book store. I didn't want to send him the copy I had bought new 'cause Heaven knows not everything comes back from over there in the way it left :-)! At the time we were having an argument and I thought... 'he needs this book!' I sent it off and didn't think another thing about it.
"I couldn't sleep a few weeks later and opened my nightstand drawer to get something to read and there was your book. I figured why not and honestly thought it would give me more ammo to show him what he was doing wrong. Oh my word! I got through the first couple of pages before God broke my heart! I spent most of that night and following morning reading, seeing my life on those pages, weeping that God and my husband would find a way to forgive me. The next morning my husband was due to call me on Skype. I asked him if he had read the book I sent and he got that 'look' on his face. The same look he always got when I asked him to read a book, listen to a recording, watch a program: it was sort of a 'guilty/not again' look. I told him he was welcome to read it 'if' he wanted to. I told him how I came to reading it and proceeded to apologize, tell him how much I respected him and how, with God's help, I would be better for him, the wife he deserved. He didn’t know what to say except that it was ok and to please stop crying (it breaks his heart when I cry).
"I have started learning about the things he likes and cares about so we have something to talk about. He does love football and has missed all of the season since he has been overseas. I told him one day that I came home from church and watched his favorite team play. It was sort of funny to watch my husband's jaw drop! That would have never happened before.
"Another 'respect' moment was when my daughter said something her dad told her. My first inclination was to say 'he's crazy' or something to show that I didn't believe him, but I stopped. I thought about it and then HONESTLY answered he was right. My first thought had been to negate what he had said! That broke me again. It is really hard to show respect to someone when they aren't home for months and months but this was a perfect opportunity! I told my girls that if anyone would know it would be him…Before I would've cut down what he said…What a difference a respectful heart makes.
"I know things won't be perfect when he comes home but they will be so much better. The quote that comes to mind is 'when I knew better I did better' and I can assure you that I will. In my quest to 'fix' a good man I fixed myself… My life, the way I think, the way I view my husband has changed… Thank God for breaking and healing my heart. I have heard about 'respect' before but never in the way you put it. I will be giving this book to each of my daughters as they get married and I recommend it to EVERY wife I know. It is life changing! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!"
Pray that I can serve the men and women in Iraq who attend the 3 hour conference. That they come without a spouse creates a challenge but the information is helpful enough to explain their own behavior and help them decode the good will of their spouses. This wife gained great wisdom on her own and when she applied the truths, her husband responded favorably! I believe the same can happen to those in Iraq, especially because technology like Skype has allowed for instant, and even face to face, communication between men and women, so applications can come immediately!