Are you gearing up for your first deployment, or maybe even your fifth or more? The one nugget of wisdom I’ve gathered over the years is that they never get easier. As spouses, we can be more seasoned and have more experience with what to do when our spouse is away, but the hardship remains the same. You can do it though.
Our family has been through five deployments thus far. I feel like I’m finally able to handle separations with more grace, with more strength, and with more confidence. All of that exciting growth stems from going through it the hard way before. I do know some have been easier because he’s not in a war zone. That in itself is a tremendous blessing and relief. If your spouse is out there in a “scary” area, I feel for you. I’ve been there. Wherever that special person is, the separation is tough.
I am not perfect. Deployments just STINK. I have bad days and good days. But here are the small trinkets of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way; they help me to keep putting one foot forward each day.
4 Honest Tips to Get You through this Deployment
Do Not Compare and Despair:
In the military we are bound to bump into, lean on, and be a part of our military community. Everyone has a different story, set of experiences, and journey that they are on.
I’ve met spouses that have gone through and are on their 10+++ deployment. I’ve met some that have a spouse that’s never deployed. I work hard to not compare our life with theirs. We may share similar woes and triumphs, but that’s where I try to keep it.
It only brings me down to wish I had a spouse that never left. It’s easy to feel jealous or angry of those that have their “person” around constantly, because I know how easily it can all be taken for granted. Instead of being mad though, I try to be happy for whoever gets to have that.
I see our family as one that can step up and provide those freedoms for our fellow citizens. And when I do have it, oh my goodness how I appreciate the love, joy, and even the tough times of really getting to BE together again!
It does not change the stink factor of missing him or this time with him, but I know we will get through it. I also try to be sensitive for those currently looking at their spouse deploying, have one gone, are celebrating a homecoming, or have never had them deploy at all. Each one of those chapters comes with ups and downs.
I am really fortunate to have a very supportive family, on both sides. My Mama and my mother-in-law constantly hear my cries, my laughter, my rants, and answer those calls. I also have a lovely few friends that can and will listen to the down days. Everyone has their own way of dealing.
Find a network of people you trust, that can relate, that let you air those raw emotions, and then help you to turn it back around again.
Sometimes I DO NOT want to talk about it. I go into a self-proclaimed “Lindsay Hole” and curl up on the sofa and just watch an entire season of something silly on Netflix whilst occasionally getting up for a snack. Those days are rare for me. But they happen. I just try to listen to myself and take the time to feel the sadness. Then the next day I dust myself off, phone a friend, get out and get going.
EMBRACE Yourself, Keep GROWING:
It is easier for my spouse to do his job if he knows I’m taking care of myself whilst he’s away. I look at the months that lie ahead in a deployment at first with dread, and then I CHOOSE. I can choose to have the sofa day.
But I’d rather have one of those down days and choose a hundred doing, loving, living, experiencing, adventuring, GROWING days after that! I get crazy excited about setting goals. I see this as a time for me again.
Deployments can be a time to focus on me, what I want, and what I need.
You Are Not Alone:
Hundreds of spouses have gone through this before me, and hundreds more will after. This is not our last deployment. But can I even fathom doing this in the times of WWII? Of Vietnam?? Where snail mail was it and real conversations scarce?? No.
To those of you that walked this path before us: you were incredibly strong and brave. We are fortunate for the chance to have video chats. To hear one another’s voice over the phone from world’s away! It makes a tremendous difference.
I also mean that I’m not alone in this deployment with my husband. It felt like it was happening to only me when I was less mature.
My spouse seemed so tough and resilient compared to me. Some spouses I’ve talked to were not prepared to ever have their person leave. They could count themselves as one of the “lucky” ones that never have to endure a deployment. Well, our reality is sometimes we’ve got to do it. But as our married journey continues, so does OUR military life.
We both talked about re-enlistments and decided this life is one we were going to continue on living as a family. We’re united in this decision and the good and bad that comes with it.
We are our own unit, our own strong team of two tackling this together. So are YOU in your marriage. Yes you can do this, military spouse.
Keep in mind that you are not alone ever, because your spouse is out there somewhere. Wish your spouse safety, dream and pray of being together again soon, and know that even as stinky as deployments are, they pass.
How do you survive deployments?