Your spouse just left for a military deployment, and you are sitting in your car at the airport or dock crying. You know you need to get it together. You need to figure out just what this deployment is going to look like. Are you going to be miserable or make the best of the situation?
It’s hard not to look at the negatives of deployment. Something major breaks at home. The kids get sick. You are in charge of making sure every chore around the house gets done. Plus, you are without your soulmate for an extended period of time.
Thankfully, with technology, you have more contact with your significant other. Whenever I boohooed over the 15-minute phone call once a week, I thought about spouses in World War II, and I felt lucky for what I had. Those spouses were happy to get a censored letter every month. The military member was sometimes gone for four years to faraway places. Sometimes letters would arrive after the telegram telling you he was killed in action, a prisoner of war, or missing in action. I can’t imagine being in their shoes. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t have bad moments, but thinking about others who came before you can help.
Keeping busy is the best thing you can do to make the time seem to go faster. If you work outside the home, that will occupy your time. But other things to do include:
- Socializing: Make time for coffee with friends. Go to spouse gatherings. Start a neighborhood Bunco group. Hire a babysitter and have a night out so you can talk to other adults.
- Education: Now is a great time to take a class or two you’ve always wanted to take. Or finish your degree.
- Hobbies: Take up a new hobby or spend more time on the one you already have. Your spouse isn’t around to grouse about all your scrapbooking items scattered all over the dining room table, and your kids won’t care.
- Kids: Do fun things with the kids. Now you don’t have to worry about your spouse not being able to do an activity. It’s only your schedule and the kids’ you need to consider.
- Fitness: Do you dream of that smoking hot body? Or maybe you already have it, but deployments are a good time to drop the kids off at school and get to the gym. Although I gained weight when the Good Chaplain was deployed because I worked out less and ate junk food a lot of the time if you are like me. My intentions were good, though.
- Entertainment: You get to stream whatever shows or movies you want after the kids are in bed. You get to go to the movies whenever you want. I had a friend who went to the matinee once a week while her kids were in school. You also might have more time to read before bed without interruption.
I know all of this sounds Pollyannish. I’m an optimist, and I try to find the good in everything. You will be sad, frustrated, and mad at times. You will wonder why you ever married a person in the military. But I’m here to say you can handle deployments and have fun during them.
As the Serenity Prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”Reinhold Neibuhr
You can’t change the fact that your spouse is deployed, but you can change your attitude about it and make the best of it.
Until next time,
What positives do you see during deployment? Reply in the section below.