Monday, February 21, 2011

advice from a veteran milspouse

a very smart friend of mine,
herself a deployment survivor many times over,
recently told me this:
when the husband comes home,
"all the things you had to do
to make yourself strong while he's gone
are the things that will make it hard to re-integrate."


i haven't spent a lot of time thinking about this part yet -
it seems like you focus so intensely on being reunited,
on all the things you'll do together again,
on the relief you'll feel once he's home safe -
that you almost forget:
there's going to be another person living here soon.
another person who hasn't been here for a long time.
(two years, in our case.)
and he has his own way of doing things, just as i have mine.
how's that going to work??

i've heard plenty of stories -
company commanders in afghanistan coming home after many months away
and learning that their home has its own command stucture,
its own SOPs and battle rhythms,
and everyone has to re-learn how to be a unit again.

what should we be prepared for?
how did you and your spouse handle homecoming?


Beckie said...

It IS really hard. We're still going to have a lot of work ahead of us. We've been married for 3 years but thanks to school and a deployment, we only lived together for 4 months (and now we're separated again because he's in Hawaii while I wait to get put on his orders).

There was a lot of fighting and adjustment since both of us are so used to doing things our own way--and that quote is SO right...because I had to step up and be so independent it was hard to let him come back and have a say in anything--but I think communicating, getting a routine and roles down (David always takes out the garbage and does the dishes, I cook and handle most of the cleaning, etc.) helped. Spending lots of time together, like date nights, dinners out, little weekend trips, movies, etc. just to focus on being a couple again (we don't have any kids) seemed to help too, because it put our focus on the warm fuzzy aspects of being together.

Good luck! It's tough but I'm sure it will work out with good communication and some careful adjustments :).

hmb said...

Your friends quote is absolutely true. J got upset once after he came home because I took the trash out. I wasn't intentionally trying to hurt his feelings by doing a job that was typically was just habit for me to do it after a year away.

But that was about the biggest of our problems. We were pretty lucky in the way of integration, and I hope it's like that for you, too!

JennyO said...

Knowing that? Is half the battle. Seriously having "situational awareness" will assist you both in figuring it out. Try not to blow up homecoming into a big Romantic experience and be prepared for the adjustment to being in the same space. Try and talk about some of HIS expectations in coming home and agree to try and keep some sort of your own schedule while he's doing his DEMOB process.

Julie said...

Wow. I never thought of that. Gets you thinking! I have never lived with FH but I expect the adjustment to live with one another! I am a new follower!

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