How to Make it Through Deployments

Advice for Military Partners: How to Make it Through Deployments
In today’s world, deployments happen frequently and last longer than ever. Preparing for battle and facing combat is tough on soldiers. It is also very tough on their loved ones. After all, it is not only soldiers who serve their country. The important people in their lives make sacrifices, too.

Deployments, in particular, can be an extremely difficult time for a couple. The distance and potential for danger is demanding for the soldier and his or her support system back home. If your partner is deployed, you have to contend with deeply missing him or her as well as the fear that he or she will never come home.
Though deployments are extremely difficult, it is possible to handle these stressful periods of separation and emerge from them with a relationship that is stronger than ever.

Here are some tips to help military partners make it through deployments

1. Set plans with your soldier before he or she leaves. Deployment can come with a lot of unanticipated feelings, but there are plenty of things you can anticipate. Communicate concerns with each other, and devise ways to overcome them. You should also talk about how to deal with worst case scenarios. Although it may not be cheerful topic, it is very important to discuss. That conversation will allow both of you to transition into deployment with a clear understanding of how to respond to serious events.

2. Remember that you’re enduring the loneliness of deployment together. Sometimes it may seem like you’re totally alone in experiencing loneliness. You may go weeks without correspondence, and it begins to seem like your soldier has abandoned you. Don’t forget the chaos that comes with being in a combat zone. Just because you have not heard from your partner in a while doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t miss you deeply. On the contrary, it’s likely that the thought of you is helping him or her make it through combat, especially in highly turbulent regions where communication is impossible and comforts are scarce.

3. Don’t let the distance make you question the strength of your relationship. Statistically speaking, few individuals in a country ever see combat. This also means that not many couples have to endure long deployments. It is a uniquely stressful and difficult circumstance, and each couple responds to it differently. Trying to compare your relationship with your friends’ relationships, especially if they aren’t involved with someone in the military, will only contribute to unnecessary frustration. Trust in the bond you share with the person you love.

4. Convert feelings of worry into acts of care. All the worrying in the world won’t change anything, apart from your mental well-being. However, you can change your soldier’s morale for the better. If you’re feeling anxious, sit down and write an upbeat letter for him or her. You could also put together a comforting care package. An act of care is sure to improve your partner’s mood, which will help him or her get through the next mission.

5. Make use of technology. Technological innovation has made it easier than ever to communicate over long distances. Though it’s no replacement for seeing your partner in person, a regular stream of e-mails, instant messenger conversations, and Skype calls can make you feel connected with your significant other, even if he or she is thousands of miles away. Of course, not all soldiers will have regular access to the Internet, but a surprising number have a reliable Internet connection at least some of the time.

Being in a relationship with a soldier demands considerable courage and resolve. Knowing your loved one is in a war zone can be an exceptionally challenging experience. Keep your sights set on the end of the deployment. Until you reach that end point, find strength in preparation, communication, and love.