It can be challenging reuniting after deployment. Things have changed. You have changed. Your spouse has certainly changed. These changes can be difficult to navigate.
These 11 tips will help you reconnect with your spouse when they return home.
A long-distance relationship is hard. When you add in the stress of military deployment, it can be even more challenging. As a military wife, you may feel like juggling different roles. From single parent to caretaker to provider.
You’re also worried about your spouse’s safety and well-being while they’re away. You can’t help but wonder if they’re still the same person when they come back.
For your spouse, deployment means being in a constant state of alertness. Living in uncomfortable and often dangerous conditions. And being away from the people and things they love most.
It also means missing out on important events. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, holidays, and your child’s first steps. So it’s no wonder they may come back feeling disconnected from you and your life.
11 Ways To Reconnect After Deployment
If you want to reconnect with your veteran spouse and reestablish the closeness you once shared, here are 11 things you can do:
1. Give them time to adjust
Your husband has been through a lot while they were away. They’ve seen and experienced things that you can’t even imagine. So it won’t be easy for them to pick up where they left off.
You need to be patient while they readjust and be understanding if they seem distant or pulled away. Try not to take it personal. They’re not trying to hurt you; they need time to process everything that’s happened.
2. Be a source of information
It’s tempting to want to hear all about your spouses deployment. Yet, you need to understand that they may not be ready or even able to talk about it. So instead of prying, be a source of information for them.
It is common for soldiers to develop a sense of isolation while deployed. Being away from family and friends can exacerbate this. It’s important that you continue to let them know that they are important in your life and that you love them.
For example, one soldier was diagnosed with a chronic condition during his deployment. When he returned, his wife helped him navigate his illness.
There are organizations that specialize in chronic conditions brought about from deployment.
These include the American Diabetes Association and the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Both organizations provide resources and support for soilders. They also connect you with others who are experiencing similar challenges.
There are also websites dedicated to helping spouses of deployed service members.
While a deployment can be stressful on relationships, it can also strengthen them. If you work together to solve problems and keep communication open, this can create a stronger bond between you and your spouse.
Being informed will help you be a better support system for your spouse. It will give you something to talk about when they’re ready to open up.
Remember, it’s not just about them readjusting to civilian life. It’s about you reconnecting as a couple.
3. Prepare for all the emotions
The feeling of joy when your husband first comes home is indescribable. However, it’s essential to remember that they may not feel the same way, and that’s okay.
They may be experiencing a range of emotions, from excitement and happiness to sadness and anger. It all depends on how you handle these emotions.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your spouse and see their take on the matter. Give them space and time if they’re not ready to share their feelings. Do not do anything to try to speed up the process. Pushing them will only worsen things and cause them to shut down entirely.
4. Reestablish routines
It’s only natural to want everything to return to how it was before deployment, but that’s not always realistic. Things have changed – for both of you. You both have been growing and evolving as individuals, and it’s essential to understand and respect that.
So, what can you do?
Focus on creating new routines that work for both of you. Finding a balance might take some time, but it’ll be worth it.
Also, try to be flexible. If your spouse wants to sleep in on the weekends or take a different route to work, let them. It’s not worth arguing over small things.
It’s also common for veterans to hang out with fellow veterans. If your spouse wants to spend time with their friends from the military, let them. It’s a way for them to bond and connect with people who understand what they’ve been through.
Your priority should be making them feel comfortable and happy.
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5. Do things together
Take it slow at first, but try to do things together as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy – just hanging out and doing things you both enjoy. You can go for walks, watch movies, play sports, or do anything else you’re interested in as a couple.
Doing things together will help you to reconnect and feel closer to each other. However, ensure they get their alone time too. Being in each other’s company all the time can be overwhelming, especially after being apart for so long. It’s essential to give them some space to relax and recharge.
6. Communicate openly and honestly
Communication is vital in any relationship, but it’s crucial after deployment. You and your husband must readjust to living in the same house and being around each other all the time. While this can be challenging, communicating openly and honestly can help.
Ensure healthy communication by listening to each other, being respectful, and avoiding arguments. Even if you have disagreements, remind yourself why you’re doing this. It’s because yoy love each other and want to make your relationship work.
Still, if you’re struggling to communicate effectively, don’t be afraid to seek out counseling or therapy. It can be a constructive way to start rebuilding your relationship after deployment.
7. Reignite your intimacy
Whether your husband was gone for a few months or a year, it’s normal for the spark to dim. After all, it can be hard to feel sexy and romantic when you’ve been worrying about your spouse’s safety. But it’s essential to make an effort to reconnect on this level, because intimacy is a vital part of a healthy marriage.
Schedule some “couple time” into your week. This can be anything from a date night to simply snuggling on the couch and watching a movie together. Whatever you do, ensure you’re both present and focused on each other. It’ll help you feel close again.
Another way to reignite the intimacy in your relationship is by being more physically affectionate with each other. It can be anything from holding hands to giving each other massages. Touch is a powerful way to show your husband that you care.
8. Understand their non-verbal cues
Your spouse may not always be comfortable talking about their experiences during deployment. However, they may still try communicating with you through their actions and behaviors.
Some non-verbal cues that your spouse may be trying to communicate include:
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Changes in hygiene habits
- Isolating themselves from friends and family
- Outbursts of anger or other emotions
Try making an effort to engage with your husband on their level. If they withdraw, try spending more time with them in a low-key setting. If they are angry, try to understand what may be causing their anger and figure out how you can help.
We’ve identified 8 common barriers to communication. It’s important to understand these and it is essential to be patient and understanding as your spouse readjusts to civilian life.
9. Be prepared to handle conflicts
You were used to managing everything while your spouse was deployed. No one was there to interfere or tell you what to do. Now that they are back, it can be difficult to relinquish some of that control.
There will be moments when you and your spouse will disagree on how to handle things. It is necessary to remember that you are now a team and need to work together.
Try to avoid getting into power struggles and handle conflicts calmly and respectfully. You can start by sitting down and discussing your concerns with your spouse. Listen to their point of view and try to see things from their perspective. Brainstorm solutions together and come to a compromise that doesn’t leave either of you feeling resentful.
If you follow these tips, there will be no problem in maintaining a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse after they return from deployment.
10. Nourish your reliance on each other
Remember how you felt when your spouse was deployed – alone, unsupported, and lost? How hard was it to get through each day? You may have leaned on friends and family members for support, but it wasn’t the same as having your spouse by your side.
You don’t want them to go through the same feeling when they return home. Reassure them that you’re there for them and that you will get through anything together. Show them that you are still the same spouse they married before deployment took its toll. Tell them how much you appreciate and love them, and show it through your actions.
This small act will help your spouse feel more comfortable and safe as they transition back into civilian life. It will also rekindle the flame of your relationship and rebuild the trust lost during their deployment.
11. Seek professional help if needed
Post-deployment life can be challenging for both you and your spouse. All the time apart can take a toll on your relationship and make it difficult to reconnect. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t love you anymore or that the relationship is doomed. It’s just the new reality of post-deployment life – you must learn how to work together as a team again.
If you’re struggling to reconnect with your spouse, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist can help you learn how to communicate better and understand each other’s needs. In no time, you’ll be back to enjoying your life together.
The Common Challenge
You are not struggling alone to reconnect with your spouse after deployment. It’s a common challenge that many military families face. Remember to be patient, communicate openly, and seek help if you need it.
If you start to feel like you’re stuck in a rut, try something new together or take some time for yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup. So, recharge and see your relationship with fresh eyes and a new perspective. It will help you be more patient and understanding with your spouse as they readjust to civilian life.
You can revive your relationship and build a strong bond that can weather any storm with a little effort. After all, you’re a military wife. You’re strong, independent and capable of anything.
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