A conversation with Bea Fishback reveals that her past as a military wife — overseas moves, long separations, communication struggles — compels her to give other military spouses hope for the future.

“I just knew what it was like for me,” said Bea, an Army wife for 20 years. “It’s a wonderful life, but there are a lot of hard parts to get through … I just want to be there to say ‘you’re going to get through it.’”

Bea has written a Bible study guide specifically for military wives, called “Loving Your Military Man” (Family Life Publishing, 2007.)

Her book is especially for women, but she said there are issues on both sides.

“No matter whether it’s a dual military couple, a stay-at-home mom, or a dad who stays at home while his wife is active duty,” she said. “It is never easy.”

The Bible study is her first solo writing project. She and her husband, Jim, co-wrote two previous Bible studies, one for military couples and one for military families.

“I think the military family is an entity to itself,” she said. “It has its own culture, speaks its own language.”

After Jim retired from the Army, the couple worked first with Family Life Today in the States, and now Military Ministry overseas. Both are programs of Campus Crusade for Christ.

When the Fishbacks started looking for Bible study material aimed at military families, Bea recalls, the only answer was for them to write their own.

“This was before 9/11. God knew the need was going to be there even before that happened,” she said.

The Fishbacks, who live near RAF Mildenhall in the UK, have worked in conjunction with military chapel programs there for 10 years. They have also conducted military marriage conferences and seminars all over the world.

Bea said communication is a common problem for military couples.

“It’s hard enough to communicate with somebody when you wake up next to them every day,” she said. “It’s harder — exponentially harder — to communicate with someone who is so far away.”

Bea’s military connections go further back than her marriage to Jim. Her father was a veteran of World War II. Early in her life, she didn’t know the impact of that, because her father never talked about the war, she said.

“When he was in Saipan, his cousin was killed right next to him, so he was exposed to the worst of it. I can’t even get my mind around it,” Bea said.

“He carried the scar for the rest of his life, because the shrapnel that killed his cousin … injured his leg.”

Bea said the first time she heard about post-traumatic stress disorder, a light came on.

“I thought, ‘That’s what I grew up with.’ That put a label on … what was going on in my home.”

“Back then and even now,” she added, “(PTSD) is so hard to talk about.”

When she was invited to speak in January to a group of Army wives in Vilseck, Germany, she said the group made an impression on her.

“These wives are on their third or fourth deployment. And not just four months or six months, but 12 and 15 months,” she said. “They’re so incredible. I know they’re coping … They’re scared to death, and yet they’re so supportive of one another.”

“One young woman there said to me, ‘You gave me encouragement that there is life after this,’” said Bea. “That’s what it’s all about.”

For more information about books by Bea and Jim Fishback, and other Military Ministry resources, see More links are also on the Spouse Calls blog.

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany, where her husband is stationed at Ramstein AB. Send questions or comments to her at

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