Our military veterans deserve recognition, not just on Veteran’s Day, but every day. While military personnel are generally recognized for their service to our country, the unsung heroes are the military spouses.
Today’s military have more opportunities for deployments and crisis management than at any other time in our nation’s history. I asked my friend, Amanda, to give us her perspective of challenges she faces as a spouse of an active duty Navy chaplain, with his many deployments and duty assignments. (Click here for Part 1 of this discussion.)
How do you keep your marriage strong during his deployment?
Face Time, and having a devotion together are the two main propellers during our separation. If you can’t do Face Time, phone conversations, emails. will help a couple stay engaged with each other. As often as you can, make time for each other.
What is difficult on his return home after a deployment?
To aid in re-integration, I believe communication is the key here. Physical intimacy is vital–not just sex–but touch, hugs, hand holding. Those little things will help mold the marriage back together. Spending time with each other is a great way to become part of the family again.
Also, giving each other space when needed. If you have just spent months apart from each other you have created a life, essentially, without each other, so allowing for space will help the reintegration process.
What has been helpful when he has his “dark” times of processing what he’s seen or experienced in combat or crisis?
Just being there to listen when he is ready to open up. Often there are no explanations to what they see or do, it is just a part of their job.
Part of being the supportive spouse is lending an ear when they are ready to talk about whatever it is that they are processing. Most times just allowing them to release it is enough, but sometimes a hug is necessary. I just listen and hear and discern what I think is best for each situation.
Challenges Military Spouses Face
Having two people marry from two different worlds requires careful navigation. An extrovert living with an introvert creates a lot of communication errors. We have battled this, but we are continuously learning how to best communicate with each other.
How we both best understand and react, how we both know what each other need to hear at what time, and how we both know when to stay quiet at times.
It is the hardest thing to learn in our marriage♥ But I can say, through a lot of failures and victories, we are making it.
2. Conflict resolution
I have the “let’s get this done and figured out” approach and my husband is the opposite. As we have learned more about each other, we both have come to a happy medium in terms of conflict resolution. Active duty or not, conflict still needs to be dealt with. It just might be dealt with in a different setting due to separation, etc.
3. Relationship Building
I am a relational person. I have learned who your true friends are and also who to befriend. Let’s face it, there are a lot of crazy spouses out there that I need to stay far away from. I have become more guarded with my friends and who I choose.
I have met some of my dearest friends at duty stations. We are so diverse because we come from all walks of life, yet connected by that common denominator of the military. If I was a civilian, my life would definitely not have such a colorful group of friends.
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The military has changed from the time Dennis was on active duty. Yet the years we served our country (I wasn’t active duty, but I loved and supported my vet) were valuable. Our time in the Air Force as a military family shaped us, solidified us, and gave us experiences and friends that only other military families can identify with.