It was Friday night, I just finished my makeup, had my nails done earlier in the day, curled my hair, and sat there anxiously waiting. I was so excited for date night! It was 11pm and I was all ready to go see my husband.
That’s right… 11pm.
My husband was deployed at the time and we were enjoying our monthly video chat date. Communication is key in a relationship. When your partner is deployed, communication transitions from a tool to a hurdle. For obvious reasons, communication during deployment is difficult for both parties involved.
Here are some tips to make communication during deployment a whole lot easier.
1) Manage expectations
This was my biggest mistake for our first deployment. I had seen another military couple go through similar circumstances and they were basically talking every day via email. They were talking via phone weekly, and video chat every other week. I mean, the service member was posting photos to instagram DAILY while he was deployed. I thought to myself, “if that’s what it’s like, things will be fine.”
I was wrong. So very wrong. Out communication was basically ¼ of what they had. So 1) it was wrong of me to compare deployments 2) it was wrong of me to expect communications like that. Even if service members are in similar fields, it does not meet that their deployments will be the same. Make sure you are on the same page about how often and when you guys will be able to communicate with each other.
2) Arm yourself with the best equipment
The military spouses, girlfriends, and families of today have it a little bit easier than our predecessors. Don’t get me wrong, deployment is still hard, but at least, we have some technology on our side. If you’re communicating via phone, make sure your signal is strong. If you’re communicating via the internet, make sure your connection is strong. Technology is great but it can also be unreliable at times so have multiple solutions if your internet connections does go down or is slow..
3) Choose your topics wisely
You both are going through a stressful time right now. Sometimes, you just want to vent to the other person about what’s going on in your life. However, before you do that, think to yourself… “will this really improve things for the two of you?” Will this topic strengthen your relationship? Any negativity (that’s not an emergency) can linger into the spouse’s or service member’s work life and a distraction like that is completely unnecessary. You both might just need to let go of the little things.
4) Get creative
Communication doesn’t all have to go through phone, emails, or video chats. I personally love making and sending creative care packages as a way to let my deployed husband know that I am thinking about him. Within the care packages, you can add personalized letters, cards, crafts, photos, and videos. This is a great way to also get the kids involved. You can also send recordings of your voices and have them put onto books or stuffed animals.
5) Talk to other people
You guys will certainly miss each other a lot during this whole ordeal. However, it doesn’t make sense to spend all of your free time hanging around a computer, waiting to talk to your partner. Set aside some time to hang out with your friends, family (for the spouse), colleagues, co-workers. Your spouse may not be able to discuss the latest episode of The Walking Dead, but your friends probably can.
What are your tips for improving communication during deployments?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MSB New Media & Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.