No one looks forward to deployment. Being away from your spouse for an extended period of time is always tough, but when you add in limited opportunities for communication, worrying about their safety, and all the other uncertainty that goes along with deployment, it can seem unbearable. Here are four ideas to help military spouses stay connected, no matter how far apart.
1. Correspond by Any Possible Means
How you can keep in contact with your spouse may vary based on what branch of service they are in. For example, submariners often have less ability to keep in contact than others when in the open water. When my husband was deployed last year, there were times when we were able to have regular video chats, times when we could only have voice calls, and times when “snail mail” was our only option.
As with anything concerning the military, expect inconsistency and do your best to embrace the chaos. Things may change throughout the deployment making certain forms of communication unavailable, but being open to trying different ways to communicate can help you to stay connected and keep your sanity during long deployments.
2. Send Care Packages
Care packages can be a really fun way to stay connected and help your spouse feel just a little closer to home. Care package kits can be ordered for free from the United States Postal Service. These kits include boxes, labels, customs forms, and tape — everything you need to get started filling a care package!
What you choose to put in your care packages is entirely up to you. I usually sent my husband notes, little gifts from our son (pictures he colored or a cool leaf or rock that he found), hygiene items (his preferred brands were not always available in his ship’s store), and lots and lots of snacks!
Another fun way to spice up care packages and add a personal touch is by decorating the boxes! Pinterest has tons of great ideas on how to decorate care packages for different occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, and more. I had a lot of fun embracing my artistic side and coming up with fun and unique ways to decorate my husband’s care packages each month!
3. Keep Them Updated
My husband has always said that the hardest part of deployment is being away from family and not knowing what is going on with us. Because of this, I tried my best to keep him updated on what was going on in our lives. I sent pictures of me, our son, and dog frequently and tried to send an email or letter at least once a week telling him about all that was happening at home.
To be honest, it can be a challenge finding time to write and coming up with interesting things to write about, but you have to remember that they are cut off from everything going on at home. Hearing about the little stuff can be really comforting. I tried to keep notes on my phone throughout the week about what we had done, where we had gone, and new things that our one-year-old son was doing or learning so that I wasn’t struggling to think of details to put into my weekly letters.
4. Schedule Virtual Dates
If your spouse’s deployment location permits it, virtual dates can be a great option to help you stay connected to your spouse! It can be tricky to coordinate your schedules, but being able to sit down and talk to your spouse, eat a meal, or play a game together is a great way to bring a sense of normalcy to deployment. Plus, it gives you something fun to look forward to!
Show Some Love for Military Families
February is the month for kindness, love, and coming together — even when apart. Show some love for America’s military families by donating to the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) to provide supportive programs and services for our brave service members and their families who sacrifice so much while serving our country.