1. Expectations. Set yourself up for success by getting a firm grasp on how much you communicate, roughly when, and by what means. I cannot tell you how much this eliminates useless quibbling during a potentially stressful time. Figure out what kind of communication works best for both of you. My husband loved phone calls, but since the connection was patchy I was left with frustration instead of joy. Texting and emailing was my preference….talk about how you will talk! Talk about how this is making you both feel as you prepare for time apart. Know that being apart for extended long periods of time is NOT natural. It was so freeing when my husband and I realized this truth diffusing our attempts in pretending its not big deal. Its a big deal. Recognize it, then move forward and work together to help each other through it.
Get your ducks in a row. During our last deployment I had surgery. I’ve never had surgery in my life! Thank God for wonderful babysitters and a caring neighborhood that got us through. I am continually beefing up my babysitter list and revisiting all paperwork to take care of everything before hand. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” All the boring meager tasks like updating legal documents, oil changes, and medical appointments….hunker down and get er done.
2. Community. I’ll be honest once we are apart the sadness rolls in and I’m like, “Crap, I’m alone” that pesky feeling is back (again). But you know what I do, allow myself to feel it. Remember the feeling is not your enemy, its what you do with it. Reach out!! Bottom line, you cannot do this alone. You can absolutely pull yourself up by your bootstraps and muscle through it, but its harder, lonely, and just plain sad. Our goal is to thrive, not just survive. If you are an introvert this may be a bit more challenging, but push through and reach out. Seek out community in church, schools, any number of organizations. Get out of your comfort zone and make friends, we need each other. If you’re already grounded in a great community, pull other people in who are alone. I’ve been on both sides of that coin-the invitee and the inviter. So thankful for women who were willing to bring me into their circle because I was new. You cannot possibly conquer deployment by your lonesome self, we are intended to be in community. Pursue it.
3. Vision. “Without vision the people will perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) Deployment is not a time to put your life on hold. God is fully aware of the separation and still has plans for you, so start your engine. Use this time to the best of your ability to set goals, dream new dreams, start something new, acquire a new skill, run a race etc. So many options, but importantly write this goal/dream/vision down or share it with a friend. You need accountability. I actually started my blog during one of our many deployments which led to photography which led to my business. Sky is the limit. Dream big the crazier the better.
4. Keep moving Forward (Meet the Robinson’s) As your setting your goals and dreaming your dreams, help move time forward by casting milestones. This is very very life-saving for kiddos. You can absolutely countdown to their return, but plan trips, events, and activities for you and the kids during deployment. As you reach each milestone (birthday party, camping, vacation, visiting family etc) you’re actively living your life while simultaneously moving closer to homecoming. Perspective is the name of the game-sit and stew or get busy living!
5. Grace. This is no walk in the park. Give yourself grace. Hire a babysitter in the middle of the week to take a break. Plan girls night outs, enlist someone to help clean the house…whatever it takes. This is a guilt-free zone. There is no right or wrong way and everyone has different thresholds. There will be highs and lows….lawn mowers breaking, brown widow spiders to kill (for the record I no longer scream when killing them). Remember our goal is not survival, but to thrive. Think about what that means for you? What do you need to put in place, reframe in your mind, or goals to set in order to thrive during deployment? How will you use the time? Let me know would love to hear your ideas!
“Be strong and courageous for the Lord will be with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9
A Christian, married to an insanely gifted and talented Marine husband, mother to Gideon (15), Boaz (10) and our rainbow baby, Shiloh. I’m actually an R.N turned accidental photographer, currently living in Fredericksuburg, Va after completing our final tour in Okinawa Japan. You'll find travel, Jesus, and lifestyle posts here on the Journal.