Does she address the fact that women for centuries have dealt with this? I imagine that the experience cannot be unique to our time, especially given the huge number of wars in world history.
An excellent question. No, Carla Anne does not dwell on history. Her focus is on supporting Christian women in the difficult situation of being married but alone.
However, Jessica’s question raises a vital point. Throughout the centuries, soldiers, sailors, pioneers, merchants, persecuted believers, and many other men were often far away from home. There have indeed been many married solo moms throughout history. Undoubtedly it was very, very difficult for them (especially for the wives of imprisoned persecuted believers, of which there are still many), but there are two huge differences that most of today’s lonely married moms face.
First of all, because being alone was not a private matter, there was support in community. If all the other men in the community were off harvesting, then all the other women were alone, too. There was support and understanding, even if all you did was cry together after a bad day. If all the other fishermen had gone off, there was loneliness, there was terror during storms…and your friend understood because her husband was out on those deadly black waves, too.
Military wives nowadays have this community, at least in Canada.
But wives of businessmen, academics, workaholics, visionaries, church workers, truck-drivers, and computer addicts have no such supporting community. Instead they face questions like, “Where is your husband anyways?” Or pointed advice, “You can’t have a good marriage unless you spend time together.” Or the poisonous barb, “Are you sure he isn’t having an affair?” Rather than encouraging such women, others ask, “Don’t you think it’s because his dad’s always gone that he acts like that?” Or even, “Just tell your husband to stay home.” These are the comments of Christians. Most worldy advice is even more blunt: get a divorce.
Carla Ann gives godly support to women obliged to defend their husbands while wondering the same things themselves.
Furthermore, since most modern absent married fathers (businessmen, academics, workaholics, visionaries, church workers, computer addicts, etc.) all have some degree of control over their hours, the terrible question inevitably arises: Is he away because he has to be, or because he wants to be? How does a godly woman deal with the resultant feelings of shame and abandonment without sinning?
Carla Anne answers that question. She deals with all the emotions. She discusses how to respect an absentee husband and how to teach the children to respect their absent father. She discusses the sadness and loneliness as well as practical issues. She even discusses the emotional conflict that comes later: if he doesn’t want to be here, do I still want him to be?
For more information, read my review of Married Mom, Solo Parent. If you are a Christian mom with an absent husband, do get the book. It will encourage you, pass on practical tips, and show you how to walk this path in a God-honoring way. It could also make a life-changing gift.
Thanks, Jessica, for the question. I pray that this discussion brings hope and relief to many lonely hearts this Christmas.