Hello! I am LC and I blog over at Faith & Deployments. I’m the wife to an Airman and we’re about to embark on our second PCS in six months. I’m a mom to two furbabies, lover of running and wine (will run for wine!), and an explorer taking life for all that it has to offer.
It’s been almost two years since my husband’s third homecoming. Did I mention we just had our third year wedding anniversary? That’s right. We had 3 deployments within 2 years of each other. Thankfully Air Force deployments used to be shorter deployments. Generally 4-6 months. I know that has changed now, but a few years ago that was a blessing and a curse. It meant he went more frequently and it meant more time away total. We had a lot of ups and downs with deployments and I like to think by the third one, we had it in the bag. We communicated a lot better. We had rules to follow to help our communication and we worked on some bible studies together that helped us in turn, strengthen our marriage.
I am not going to lie. I had some dark days. Ones where I laid in my PJs, didn’t bathe for days, and all I ate were chocolate and cheese. But compared for our first one before we were married and I was graduating college and planning our wedding alone, to our second one where we only talked on the phone once (Skype was forbidden where he was), the third was cake. Now that we have PCSed away from my hometown and state and are embarking on a new adventure in California, I’ve learned some things about the military. People told me this all the time, but I think I needed to see it to listen.
Don’t expect anything.
Whatever your expectations are, they will be shattered. The Military will always disappoint. Whether it is a homecoming date, a shift change while on deployment, that requires you the spouse to wake up at 3am just to skype with your husband that day, to lost care packages that arrive 3 months after homecoming, to bad internet connections, to poor living conditions that make your husband irritable and not a happy person to talk to. Don’t have any expectations. If you do, you will be disappointed. The best advice I can offer is take everything as it comes and figure it out then. There are no plans in advance for your duct work in your house collapsing while your husband is deployed. There are simple, smart things you should always plan for: have a POA, again I repeat, have a POA (we learned this the hard way), make sure you (the spouse) are on ALL accounts having to do with everything in your life (or USAA will tell you they can’t help you when your duct work collapses), have an emergency plan (hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, Tsunamis, they HAPPEN), have some sort of network. Even one person can make a difference in making it through a deployment. If you take comfort in church, don’t quit once he’s gone. Go on play dates with your kids, join a gym, take a class on base, join a spouses club, go hiking/walking/running. Whatever you do, don’t shut yourself out. You will find that deployment much harder to deal with if you close yourself off and don’t live life.
Time spent apart definitely makes time more precious together. We’re coming up on him being home for almost 2 years and I just know, the next deployment is looming in the distance. So I am getting all my hugs, date nights, cuddles, meals cooked out of him that I can.
Since going through three deployments back to back, we are so much stronger. It allowed us to not have a honeymoon phase in our marriage and to be thrown into the rattlesnake that the military is. We in turn, learned a lot about each other and since his last homecoming have been able to enjoy us. Remember why we fell in love, why we’re perfect for each other. I look at his face everyday and I don’t just see someone with a love for duty and our country, I see this sweet, caring man who put so much thought into his actions, that he makes marriage everything it was cut out to be.
Deployments take two. Not one person but two. You have to communicate. Only you and your spouse know the best way to work through hard times, but learn from people’s mistakes and talk about things. Be honest. I couldn’t ask for a better marriage than what we have right now. And I owe it all to the Air Force and our deployments and PCSes.
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series! You can view them under the Deployment Series tab, or by clicking HERE