6 ways to cope with a deployed military spouse
Armed forces have a duty to serve their country and have to ready to go on a mission at any given time. But how does the other half keep their relationship afloat while they're been deployed?
1.) Make a plan
It's a great idea to prepare ahead of time. Outlining a plan to survive while he/she is gone is vital. Before the deployment begins, you and your partner need to sit down and come up with a plan on how you two will manage time, seek support and remain in love with each other.
Try to have an honest and open a conversation as possible. Both of you should feel free to express your feelings, good or bad, about the impending separation. Feelings of jealousy and insecurity are normal when faced with a long separation. Also spend some one-on-one time at home together communicating as a couple. If you have children, hire a baby sitter for the night so you and your partner can talk about ways to keep going during the separation.
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2.) Discuss when and how often to communicate
Making a decision on communication is important during deployment. You and your partner should have a game plan in mind in regards to how and how often you'll communicate. Even though a phone is not always available in the war zones, there are variety of options for communication during military deployment. E-mail, instant messaging, video chat, or regular mail are other options.
If possible, setting aside a single day of the week to try and talk through a phone or video call may be helpful. If your deployment is fairly routine, you may know when you'll have access to a computer or phone. You can promise to call or video chat around a specific time during those days.
You are obliged to also discuss what to do when communication is difficult. There may be times in deployment where access to things like telephones and computers is limited. Talk about what to do during these times. You can agree, for example, to resort to snail mail if need be.
3.) Conclude on a support system best for you both
In order to make sure you and your partner are emotionally supported during deployment, its best to help each other form support networks prior to the start of the deployment. During the send-off party, support may include other soldiers or military members. If you're staying back at home, you and your partner should figure out who you'll lean on. Talk about the family members and friends you'll have while your partner is away. You may find your partner's friends and family members can provide support during your deployment as well. Feel free to talk about those friends you wouldn't want your partner to allow in your house.
4.) Discover your partner's language of love.
It can be hard to provide support from a faraway distance. Figuring out your partner's language of love can help you figure out the best way to help him or her feel secure. A person's language of love is how that person best feels supported and cared for. People respond best to different types of support and comfort such as words of affirmation to feel loved. Statements like, "I miss you" and "I love you" are helpful. If your partner seems to rely on words, try writing long letters and e-mails expressing how much you care.
• For some, actions are more important than words. People may feel supported if their partner shows they care through kind gestures, or sends gifts. If your partner prefers actions, you can send him or her care packages, make video messages, or periodically send gifts.
• Unfortunately, when the above mentioned are not relevant, because he/she prefers physical touch and quality time to feel secure. This presents a challenge during deployment. However, you can try to help by telling your partner how much you miss his or her touch, and how you wish your partner was with you just to watch television together on a rainy night etc etc.
5.) Make sure to keep one another informed on day-to-day happenings.
Hearing about one another's daily lives will help you and your partner feel close. Share day-to-day happenings when you have the chance, even things that feel silly or trivial. Talk about your trip to the grocery store or who you ran into at the gym. This will make your partner feel like he or she is there with you.
6.) Be realistic and accept personal growth during the deployment
It's important to accept that things could go the wrong way and make plans for how you would deal with it. You and your partner should keep yourselves busy when not working. Read books, clean the garden or write in your diary. When you and your partner are reunited, you will both be slightly different. There is a large chunk of time the two of you did not share, and you both may have become more self-reliant during this time. Try to accept that, when your partner returns, your relationship may be different than it was before. This is not necessarily a bad thing. While you have both changed, this may be for the better. The two of you may feel more secure in the relationship after seeing it thrive from a distance.
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