Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

My husband is set to arrive home this Sunday. I haven't seen him for months; in fact he left 11 days after we arrived at our new location. During the past months I have unpacked and set up our new home. I found a few of my new favorite places, including a new church and even a place to get my hair styled. These are all things that many of us can relate to after experiencing our first or 15th move. We are busy bees after a move.


Navigating the ups and downs of life with our loved one far from home is a main theme of this blog. One thing I haven't written so much about is determining what our priorities are as a couple during a separation. This is something I struggled with this past month and wonder if you have too?


I probably have, on any given day, ten or more things I must get done. However, when speaking to my spouse the last few times before he was scheduled to arrive home it never failed that he always asked me about the 2 or 3 things that I had not accomplished on my, growing by the minute, to-do list. This was extremely frustrating. I felt as though I wasn't doing enough. I imagine he felt frustrated too and wondered exactly what was I doing?! Clearly, I was not accomplishing the things that were important to him!


Here are some ways we can work to determine our priorities as a couple to help make our loved ones return that much smoother.


3 ways to determine priorities prior to a homecoming:


  1. Each of you makes a list of the most important things that need to get done and share the list. This seems like a no-brainer, but if I had done this step my husband's motorcycle would probably not be sitting in the garage with a dead battery right now. Not a priority for me to start his bike once a week, but definitely one for him if he had plans to go for a ride in the day or two after his return home.
  2. Decide what you can compromise on. One thing I know for sure, things always seem to take longer than I originally plan. I need some wiggle room in my schedule. Determine what the top 3 priorities are on the list for each of you. This step would have saved me money. It would have reminded me to call the power company for our rental house on the right day instead of one day too late, which resulted in a reconnect fee.
  3. Celebrate each success. Having a long to-do list written down in one place can be a relief knowing it's not stored in your memory where you might forget something important. Having this list can also be overwhelming. As you cross items off your list, celebrate each small success. Doing this can keep you motivated and focused. Even if that "celebration" is as simple as saying, "Good Job!" to yourself, or drawing a smiley face next to each task as you cross it off!

These are just 3 ways to find your shared priorities in order to accomplish them for a happier home. There are many other tips and tricks you can try to see what works best for you and your family.


What is your advice? How have you managed competing priorities and time demands during a deployment or long separation?