Know when to set yourself apart

By Kalynn Brazeal

There comes a time when you have to just set yourself apart. You have to cleave. This first comes to mind whenever I think of marriages: The Bible tells us that we are to cleave from our parents. This is to help us cement ourselves as a couple, to find our way on our own.

Do you know someone who has done this? We did. Not by choice, but because my husband joined the military, and it meant that we were on our own in every sense of the word. For 10 long years, our family was a tiny little unit. When the kids were sick, we traded off walking the floor, then getting up and going into work the next day on fumes. Our children went to a military day care while we worked hard to provide a life for them.

Nowadays I see a lot of grandparents juggling their grandchildren at the doctors or the grocery store, pushing the strollers and picking up kids from school. It must be such a blessing to have that support in your life. For those of you who have that blessing, do you appreciate it? Do you understand the sacrifice someone else is giving for you? While this is a great thing to have that support, maybe you shouldn’t always take that offer or that blessing.

Yep, I said it. Whether you are a newlywed or a single parent, there are times when you need to turn down an offer of help. The offers are being made with the best of intentions, but ask yourself, “Am I in a corner?” “Can I do it myself?” Most of the time you can. Why should you? Because you have to learn to strengthen your little unit. Trust and commitment comes from experience and time. While your time may be very precious, spending time together in any circumstance is bonding.

My husband and I bonded in those early years of marriage. We were dirt poor. Grocery shopping was an exercise in frugality. We had a list, and we learned to prioritize it for when the money ran out.

We had a set amount to spend, and even with coupons there were many times we had to put something back. Awkward? Yes. Humbling? Yes. But whenever I did, he held my hand.

Walking through those tough times, we had each other’s support. I’m not saying that we went without — it was just very tight on an E-2’s paycheck. If we were still at home or living near family, we might have done it differently. We might have gone shopping in mom’s pantry, or she could have slipped us some extra cash. Or maybe we would have eaten at someone’s house. But it wasn’t an option. We cleaved.

My sweet husband was deployed a lot. We spent a lot of time emailing each other back and forth once we could afford a computer. Before that, it was all about snail mail letters. Our oldest daughter was six months the first time he deployed.

It was a lot to handle. I had to juggle it all: parenting, working and running our house. There simply wasn’t enough time in our day, but she and I made the most of it. I missed work for each and every appointment she had, and sometimes that cost me a job. However, we were cleaved. I didn’t have anyone to tag me out. Looking back, I’m so thankful.

My daughters grew up knowing that no matter what, mom would be there. The tight family unit continued whenever we left the military and moved with the husband’s new work. Other times we made friends along the way who would offer help — and I rarely if ever took them up on it. Why would I add to their burdens?

At no point did I ever pat myself on the back and go “congrats on being so independent!” because it wasn’t intentional. God knew, and I had faith in his way. He knew that my kids would need that tight unit base, that we would continue to move often and find ourselves in new situations as we followed God’s plan for our lives, so he prepared us all. By cleaving, we learned to trust ourselves and each other. Cleave.

A former resident of Lava Hot Springs, Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Now relocated to Oklahoma, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.