Deployments are often hard on the Marine and spouse individually, and as a result, challenging on the relationship. However, whether your Marine is deployed for three months or one year, it is possible for your relationship to grow closer during your time apart by considering these suggested ideas:
- Communication: Communicate honestly about your feelings, concerns or issues at home; but also talk about happy and fun things that make you both laugh. With effective communication, you and your Marine will be able to continue to connect through open dialogue and laughter!
- Trust: Work together to find ways to maintain trust while apart. Discuss in detail your expectations of each other prior to the deployment. Surround yourself with family and mutual, positive friends. This provides some comfort to you and your Marine, as you will both feel comfortable knowing that you are safe and with people you each know and trust.
- Understanding and patience: Being understanding will help lessen the tension between you and your Marine. Being patient will help both of you learn to get through each day and each tough time, step-by-step. Remember, if you’re going through tough times at home, your Marine is going through tough, if not tougher, times on deployment.
- Find a support network: Research local or online organizations that you would like to get involved with. There may be extended periods of time when you are unable to speak to your Marine. Talking to other people can sometimes help relieve stress and/or ease the anxiety of waiting by the phone. You will then be able to focus on having a loving and calm conversation when your Marine finally gets the chance to call.
- Stay busy: Consider taking a class or joining an exercise group. Staying busy and taking positive steps towards your mental or physical health will help you manage the separation in a healthy way. By staying healthy you can take better care of yourself and show your Marine how resilient you are. The less he/she has to worry about you, the more eager he/she will be to interact with you when you have an opportunity to communicate.
- Start a journal: Jot down what you are doing, how you are feeling, and what has happened from the time your Marine leaves right up to his return. If you have a picture, attach it to that day. Every 30 days, send your Marine your 30 day chronicle. You’ll be amazed at the connection he/she feels with you while deployed.
- Send care packages: Depending on the length of the deployment, try sending themed care packages with your Marine’s favorite goodies and/or a funny video of you singing his/her favorite song. Remember, love and laughter is good for the soul.
- Remember why you’re together: Think about how you fell in love. When things get rough, pull out those photo albums and wedding videos and begin ideas 1-7 all over again!
For more information about workshops and trainings that are available, please contact Marine Corps Family Team Building at your local installation.