Howard Wasdin is a former Navy Seal Sniper. In his book The Last Rescue, Howard and his wife Debbie talk about the trials and tribulations they have faced. The Last Rescue is an unforgettable tale of brokenness and healing, going deep into the firing line of modern warfare, through the agony of broken marriages, and onto a path of redemption and love. With a clear-eyed view of the inevitability of heartache and the power of God’s faithfulness, Howard and Debbie remind us that no matter what our circumstances, we should never, ever, give up hope.
Howard, how do you mentally prepare yourself to go from being a sniper to a chiropractor? How do you go back to living an “ordinary” life?
To become a SEAL, “mental toughness” is a MUST. The work and preparation to become a chiropractor was not the difficult part. The hardest part was going back to civilian life after being on the “tip of the spear.” I left the team wounded and depressed.
As an abused child and then my only career as an adult being cut short by being shot, I had no idea even who I was anymore OR what I was going to do. Debbie literally rescued me by encouraging me to go back to school to be a chiropractor. As corny as it sounds, I became a Chiropractor for the same reason I became a SEAL--to help people.
Howard, you faced trials and tribulations both in the SEALS and in your personal life. Is there anything that you would change?
Of course I would like to change some of the painful parts of my life, both military and post military. However, due to a dysfunctional childhood, I was under equipped to handle many of life’s challenges due to the lack of nurturing. My upbringing was a dictatorship and just “do as I say or be beaten” and living in constant fear was ingrained in the formative years. This does not bode well for coping with life’s adversity when it arises.
Debbie and Howard, how does your faith make your marriage stronger? What can other couples do to help strengthen their marriage and overall bond?
Howard: Simply put it is something you both have to have – faith! It is important to me to know that Debbie is a Christian and I could not date anyone who did not believe. Life is hard and it is important to have God in your life. Another main concept is to say “I love you” multiple times during the day. Of course, with all of life’s trials, prayer is something that has helped us through raising children, financial worries, and our own ups and downs.
Debbie: I feel blessed to have a husband who shares a strong faith and trust in God. Knowing God is the one in control and not ourselves brings more peace with everyday life and less disappointment when things don’t work out the way we planned. We have learned firsthand that God’s path is much better than any we could plan or imagine for ourselves.
As far as advice to other couples on strengthening their bond with each other, I think that a bond is built overtime through trust, faith, loyalty and commitment. You can’t just trust your spouse you also have to be a trustworthy spouse. Years ago, Howard described our bond as being forged like steel that is heated by fire and folded time and time again, each time gaining strength. I think a strong marital bond comes from how you, individually and as a couple, handle the difficult times when you’re being held over the fire.
Debbie and Howard, if there was one piece of advice you could offer to couples what would it be?
Howard: Tell your spouse what it is that you love about them. I think in our hurry up world, that we forget this simple remedy. Lastly, never give up hope - as long as there is life, there is hope.
Debbie: Trust in God. Everything is going to be okay, one way or the other. If things don’t work out the way you planned, pray and keep searching for God’s will in your life. Don’t get so tied up in the struggles and stresses of life that you forget how to play together and love each other. Enjoy life, laughter, and the adventures that lie ahead, but most of all - enjoy and love each other.
For more information on The Last Rescue click here.