When I went through the first military deployment after my husband and I first started dating, I was lost. I spent numerous hours reading and learning about keeping the relationship strong during the long nine months. Now that I consider myself a seasoned military spouse, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks not only to help me survive but to view deployment with a positive outlook. I’ve also asked my fellow Red Lancer Ladies for input, and they’ve generously shared their thoughts and positive views of a military deployment.
1. Time together is valuable. And you spend it wisely! You gain a new perspective on your marriage. There is no time to be complacent because you appreciate your time spent next to each other all that much more.
2. You become better communicators. You have to learn to communicate differently because of distance, which can be great if done appropriately. Throughout different deployments, we learn different things about each other. Every deployment, we’ve had something different going on in our lives — kids, change in jobs, new dog, etc. That means we have to communicate differently.
3. Vacation is extra special. We always do a vacation before and after the deployment, making it fun to look forward to. We use the time to plan every detail while writing letters to each other with wishes and ideas to accomplish on vacation.
4. Flowers without a special occasion. “I’ve already received more flowers from my hubby in one week than I have in this whole past year.” After all, deployment is a special occasion that lasts a while, and it’s fun to be showered with extra love and attention while apart.
5. Less silly arguments. Not being able to talk or be around each other, I’ve noticed, has kept us from getting into small fights. It helps us reset and keep in mind what is essential and what isn’t worth the trouble of bickering!
6. You become mentally stronger. I think it has made me a stronger person, and I know how to be there for my husband in whatever way he needs me. I know I can wear the role of being the head of the household and “holding down the fort” while he is gone, but I also know that I can help him organize himself before leaving.
7. You appreciate each other’s contribution. You realize how much your spouse does for the household, and once they are not there, you can see it and start to appreciate them even more.
8. You find your tribe. You bond with other spouses who are in the same boat. Everyone is ready to jump in to help at any moment because they’ve all been there and understand. Plus, they are prepared to do random activities with you because they love staying busy.
9. Letters and care packages. I write a whole lot more letters and send care packages during the deployment. I spend time carefully decorating the box and wait with excitement for him to receive it.
10. Homecoming = Honeymoon. Homecoming is a military spouse’s favorite word. We spend weeks preparing, and it feels like the first date all over again.
Bonus: All the spouses in our group agree that The 5 Love Languages Military Edition is a must-read book, especially during the deployment. Tackle each chapter together and discuss it in your letters or phone calls if you get a chance.
If you are going through a deployment or preparing to go through one, know that you are not alone. Find your tribe, stay busy, and look at the positive side. Leave a comment below with tips that help you get through it!