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Thursday, September 10, 2015

life post-deployment

The days and weeks after a spouse returns from a deployment can be filled with so many different emotions, many of them unexpected or unwelcome.

Justin has been home for barely over a week after a 6 month deployment, and my emotions have been all over the place. But this is our second deployment and homecoming, so I have learned a few things along the way that may be helpful to you.

It's super important to check your expectations before your spouse returns. A few things to keep in mind...

If your husband has never been overly romantic, or thoughtful, or affectionate then don't expect him to suddenly be just because he's been gone for a while. You can't expect him to leave and return a different man, that's not fair to him or to yourself. Be realistic. Don't set yourself up for failure before he even gets home.

You don't know what your spouse has seen or had to do. Assume nothing. Be prepared for him to need to talk, or to not want to. Know that there is probably a lot that you don't know. And if he needs help from a professional, help him find it.

If your spouse does need to talk, be prepared to listen. Set aside everything else and sit with him while he pours out whatever is on his mind and heart. Don't judge him for anything he says. Only offer feedback or advice when he asks for it.

Allow your spouse time to himself. Justin has been gone for 6 months, surrounded with the guys he works with 24/7. If he wants to take the harley out for a spin or spend a few hours in the gym, I should be more than willing to let him do so!

Don't expect life to fall back into the same old routine. Give it time. It may take a few weeks or even months for you two to figure out who does what. You've gotten used to being independent and planning things on your own. Allow your husband to lead again. Ask him before you make plans. Be patient with him and with yourself.

Your kids are going to be starving for their dad's attention. Don't deprive them of that. If bedtime gets pushed back later than usual, it's ok. If nap time gets skipped one day because dad wants to take them out, don't stress over it. Be happy that your kids love their dad and that he is excited to spend time with them. And hey, take advantage of the extra hands! Schedule yourself a pedi or take a walk by yourself!

Journal. It helps you figure your feelings out and gives you a safe place to vent. My journal has saved me from saying or doing some very foolish things.

Schedule time together. Get a sitter and go out on dates. Turn off your phones in the evening and spend time talking. Make each other a priority and reconnect whenever you have the chance to.

I hope some of these are helpful to you as you navigate the waters of your husband returning home after long absences. If you have any other tips to share or questions to ask, I'd love to hear them! Feel free to comment below! Most of all, smile and be thankful that your spouse is HOME! Take life one day at a time, accepting the good and the bad, and be content knowing that you will work through it all together.

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