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Homecomings are magical moments. When you first lock eyes with your loved one the rush of excitement makes the difficult days of being separated melt away. We totally forget about the dog eating those expensive pair of shoes or the fact we haven't slept normally since they left.

 

Then we take them home and begin the process of getting to know each other all over again.

 

It's no secret this process can take awhile.

 

When they are gone we learn to do many things for the first time on our own. Perhaps this deployment you went back to school or started a new job, maybe you even changed the oil in the car for the first time. This past separation I learned how to use the weed eater. This was life changing as I was certain this loud machine would spin out of control and accidentally damage a tree or worse, my leg! I overcame the fear of "the weed eater" and my lawn looks SO much better!

 

My point is, we learn to be resourceful, adventurous and strengthen our resilience! We change. During this time our spouse has also changed.

 

So, on top of getting to know each other again we find ourselves needing to rebuild routines together. This process requires patience, some creativity and lots of flexibility. However, as each day passes you'll know you are getting closer to your new normal and experiencing life as a couple again.

 

Here are some suggestions and strategies on how to involve your spouse back into your daily routines:

 

Take Your Time. Recognize it can take weeks, or months to feel back in sync with each other. They are adjusting to a less adrenaline filled home environment. Decide in advance to respond vs react and choose to slow down.

 

Relax and let him do it "his way". It's easy for our spouses to feel unsure where they fit into our routines. When my spouse helps around the house I've learned to let go and be okay with the way he does things. For example, I had to accept that he loads the dishwasher differently, he grocery shops for different items than me, and he even folds his t-shirts differently. I learned he is going to do it HIS way, and I decided the stress of wanting it done "my way" was unnecessary. I learned to relax, that his way was just fine and many times actually more efficient. (shhh!)

 

Lower expectations. When our spouses are gone they are immersed in their jobs 24/7. There are no dogs to let outside, parenting duties or even driving to soccer practice. Adding all of these tasks back into a daily routine can cause a person to feel overwhelmed. Realize your loved one might get frustrated, irritated or upset. Your spouse might not jump into all the chores they did before right away. Recognize this and remember baby steps count.

 

These are just a few things to get you started back on the road to integrating your daily routines. It's important to recognize when things aren't working. Get help when you need it from a counselor, a chaplain or other trained professional.

 

Remember while you transition into learning to live together again, it is not an event that magically occurs, it is a process.

 

What are your tips when it comes to reintegrating your spouse into daily routines?

 

Resources:

Becoming a Couple Again, How to Create a Shared Sense of Purpose After a Deployment (PDF Download)
Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program
Reintegrating into Family Life After a Deployment