As military spouses we learn early on that we must be our service member’s biggest support. We don’t want to let the stress of everyday life creep into the pre-deployment stages and we ensure our service member has the mission on their mind at all times. We don’t give any reason for them to think we aren’t okay and don’t need help, but how good is this for us overall?
This life we live can get all mangled up with various challenges and sometimes all we need is to talk to our spouse as we work out life’s challenges.
How do you talk to your service member without feeling the guilt of burdening them during an already stressful time? Here are six ways to communicate with your loved one during a deployment:
Clear the Air
If there is something that is bothering you before they leave, hash it out now! Discuss what the issues are and ensure that you both get to speak your mind. Don’t ever let disagreements go unresolved before your spouse leaves.
Have a Communication Plan
Before your spouse leaves have a plan for what you each expect.
Since we don’t have long time limits while speaking with our service member during deployment, having a plan will ensure that you are both using your time wisely.
Prepare for Non-Communication Times
Lack of communication can be so stressful. There will be times when you don’t hear from your spouse and you start to worry and while your spouse has their mind on the mission, they too are missing hearing about what is going on back home. Use this time wisely, you can write them an email, get a care package put together, or perhaps write a good old fashioned letter. Try not to let your frustrations come out; this is unfortunately a part of the deployment communication process.
What if there is a severe issue and you need to tell your spouse?
As I mentioned above, we learn early on not to bother our spouses with problems at home. However, there are times when we will need to discuss and consult with them, depending on the urgency of the matter. How do you not feel guilty for bombarding them with something they can’t fix?
Create a Plan
Ask your deployment support system (family or friends) for advice and their ideas on how to solve the problem. This will also help you get a better grip on any emotions you may be feeling before speaking with your spouse.
Upon telling your spouse the problem, always start on a positive note. I like to start off by saying, “I have everything under control, but…” then tell them what the problem is and how you are coping. Don’t present the situation as a crisis, but listen carefully for their advice and thoughts on the matter.
Always thank your spouse for listening and helping you think through the problem. My husband felt it was his job to listen, however I always found it to be a nice way of letting him know I appreciate him.
We can be strong and still ask for help, we should never put on a smile if that is not what we are feeling. This can also lead to a feeling of disconnection from your spouse. You can be honest and let your spouse know that you have the homefront under control, but also value discussing situations with them.
Have any advice to add, let us know in the comments below!
Related story: Finding the Positive Side of Deployment
About the blogger: Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
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