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18 April 2015

A Navy Spouse's Perspective #1 "Preparing for a Deployment"

 Navy spouses have a lot of expectations placed upon them. We go into the relationship and Navy life knowing some facts but never fully prepared for the commitment required. In my case, I had some idea of what I would be giving up when my husband enlisted because I grew up a Navy brat and had experienced separation and single parenting due to the military life. Most civilians do not go into this life prepared for it. A few pointers can be helpful and an amazing gift. Here are a few of my tips for getting ready for your spouse's approaching deployment.

  • Firstly prepare Power of Attorney paperwork for the eventuality of needing to sign or make legal decisions for your spouse. This is just an "in case" step because you never know what might come up.
  • Next gather a good group of supporters. Whether that be friends, family, or a club of some sort. Without social interaction and an open ear the days will grow lonely and depression will kick in. Join a group if you don't have one, you will need it!
  • Get all the big decisions out of the way before he/she leaves. Examples being buying/selling houses, cars, or any high priced goods. If you are going to move or want to accomplish a difficult task such as renovations, do this before the deployment or wait until it ends. The reason I say this is because its never a good idea to add more unnecessary stress to your daily life when separated from your significant other.
  • Enjoy the time you have left, and do not fight. This is tougher than you think. As the days pass and the date approaches for his/her departure you will have increased anxiety and tension. You have to use an amazing amount of self control to keep the days pleasant and loving. I have failed a few times because of my emotions. Nothing is worse than saying goodbye for 6-10 months and having fought right before.
  • Have a plan in place but be willing to allow deviation for keeping in contact. Setting up a weekly or monthly plan for communication is an important step. Set up a time table for communication through social media messages, email, phone calls, or actual hand written letters. This will give you both something to look forward to. If you have that schedule in place it will give you a goal or motivation to get through the week. My biggest hard ship was having a lack of communication with my spouse, its essential to staying positive. Be willing to accept deviation because there will be times when internet is down or calls impossible. Its going to happen.
  • Create an allotted budget for you both. When you can not keep track of each others spending a budget will protect you from over spending. On several occasions I had to deal with heavy fluctuations in my bank account because of not knowing what my spouse was spending and when. A budget will control this issue. Make sure you allow more funds to your spouse for when they hit port. This will give them the ability to enjoy and de-stress after a rough journey in a tight space with little freedom.
  • Never get angry at your spouse over Navy related issues. They can not control a lot of things that will end up changing. Examples being: phone calls, internet usage, deployment schedules, and work hours.
  • Lastly, allow yourself moments of weakness. Allow yourself to be sad at times. Don't push yourself to handle everything on your own and don't be too hard on yourself. Give your self time to decompress and after those moments of weakness pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. Allow the sadness and weakness but push through it and get stronger from it.Also do not count the days...this will make the days go by slower. Instead fill your days. Find tasks or activities to keep you busy. You will prosper from it.

These are some of my tips for anyone dealing with a deployment of their spouse. I hope you find them helpful and informative. If you have any questions I would be glad to reply to them in the comments below. If you are interested in reading more from me my blog is The Crazy and Quirky Mom Next Door.

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