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At Lincoln Military Housing, we understand the difficulties you face during deployment. To help you through your deployment, we have teamed up with Uma Campbell to share ten ways a deployment can help strengthen your relationship.
Members of the armed forces make an honorable commitment to serve and protect their country. A part of this commitment is deployment, which can occur at any time and without advance notice. This can strain families when a loved one is suddenly away from home for months or even years at a time. Even though emotions may be running high when a deployment occurs, there are many ways that deployment can strengthen these relationships. Here are the top 10 ways relationships can withstand the test of time when facing deployment.
#1 Helps to Set Relationship Expectations
First, deployment in military families can help the couple set realistic expectations for their roles. For instance, when it comes to being apart for so long, partners can decide how they would like to communicate with one another, how often they would like to communicate, and how important household decisions will be made in the absence of the deployed spouse. Having such discussions early on can help to prevent disagreements or hurt feelings later on.
#2 Builds a Support System
It is important for the deployed serviceman or woman to feel supported while they are away. Deployment includes extended periods away from home that may result in feelings of loneliness, homesickness, or anxiety as they think of returning to their loved ones as soon as possible. Therefore, spouses can provide support that includes expressions of how much they care and include encouragement and support from children, parents, extended family, and friends.
#3 Improves Communication
Deployment can also improve communication within the relationship. Since the couple cannot see each other every day, it will be important to commit to frequent communication. For instance, they can plan to speak, video chat, or text at certain times. They may also choose to communicate more frequently since they are so far apart physically. Increased communication can improve the relationship because both parties will have an opportunity to clarify their love for one another despite their long distance.
#4 Helps to Reaffirm the Relationship
Being deployed will reveal just how meaningful the relationship is to both parties. By supporting your loved ones as they embark on this important journey, spouses have a unique opportunity to reaffirm their commitment and strengthen their bonds with their significant others. Deployment can help couples nurture their relationship and grow even stronger together.
#5 Improves Trust
Deployment can also strengthen trust within the relationship. Trust is an important component of any relationship, and this is especially true when partners are separated by location. Matters of trust can include trusting a partner to be supportive, taking care of the household financially, or maintaining fidelity within the relationship. No matter the reason, proving that partners are committed to one another is an aspect of the relationship that can be improved by deployment.
#6 Encourages Planning for the Future
This will also be a good time to have long-term discussions about the future. For instance, what will the relationship look like 5 or 10 years from now? Will you have children? Is your service member spouse planning to retire and pursue a different career? Since frequent moves to and from military housing locations will cease, will the family plant their roots? These are all important topics that can strengthen the relationship and secure the bonds the couple shares.
#7 Reveals Creative Ways to Show Support
Deployment also gives partners bursts of creativity in how they express their love for one another. For instance, the service person can send a surprise gift of flowers to their spouse or write letters that speak their unique language of love. Similarly, spouses can show their love through mailed care packages that include the spouse’s favorite items or with things that will put a smile on their faces, such as artwork from children, or other sentimental tokens to show appreciation for the relationship.
#8 Teaches Important Life Skills
Deployment also teaches important life skills, including budgeting, self-reliance, child-rearing techniques, and other household preparedness lessons. This is especially true for young or new families who may be dealing with a first-time deployment. Independently coping with the stressor of having an absent spouse can make the relationship even stronger because each party will learn how to take care of important aspects of the relationship in the absence of the other party.
#9 Allows for Personal Growth
Inevitably as time passes, loved ones will grow personally. Partners may seek interest in new hobbies, they may make new friends, or they will simply grow as a person. Deployment provides the perfect opportunity for exploration into these new areas of personal interests. Partners should encourage such individual growth, which can help them grow stronger as a team.
#10 Improves Optimism
Lastly, deployment provides an opportunity for the couple to share their optimism for the future. For example, they can think of all the good times they will have together when the deployed spouse returns home. Engaging in positive speak such as this helps to improve coping skills and can help to mediate the stress of separation as they look forward to the deployed partner’s safe return. And in this manner, partners will appreciate each other even more when they become reunited.
All in all, the absence of a loved one who has been deployed does not have to strain the relationship within military families. Instead, this can be a time of planning, contemplation, and above all else, a time to secure the bonds that the couple shares together.