Spouse's Deployment Kit
Six-months into our relationship, the dreaded word ‘deployment’ came up.
I went through various stages of emotions from; crying, feeling abandoned and feeling angry. Yet, I knew this deployment would be one of many; I needed to adapt and see it as an opportunity to grow independently. In doing so, I made our time apart, a smoother transition.
This is my spouse's deployment kit. A survival guide to keeping you sane.
Support: Please ask for help from loved ones, military welfare or other partners going through the same thing. You could join a military Facebook group or search deployment blogs. Knowing your not alone and that others are going through the same emotions is comforting.
Dates: You must spend time with your soldier outside of the house. This makes you remember your first dated, the thrill of getting to know each other and why you fell in love.
Photo albums: Every date we go on I take photos, and after six months I create an album. I can then look through the photos when my partner is away and remember the memories we have created. You can get more creative with a physical album than a digital one.
Appreciation cards: We write cards for each other, for every day we are apart. We fill them with positive messages, date suggestions, questions and memories. You don’t have to write a card for every day, even a weekly card will show your appreciation for each other.
Calendar: Buy a calendar and circle every day your partner is away. You can cross out each day and count down till you next see your soldier.
A jar of marshmallows: I fill a jar with marshmallows and eat one for every day he’s away. It visually helps me cope with our time apart. Visually seeing a half-filled jar means my soldier is one day closer to coming home.
Acceptance: Recognise its ok to cry, get frustrated, hate your partner or even enjoy the time alone. It’s all part of the deployment rollercoaster of emotions.
Communication: My partner and I talk every day, and when he’s on exercise, we record video messages for each other. Even a good morning and sweet dreams message will let them know you’re thinking of them. If they do have to turn their phone off for a week. Imagine their surprise when they have numerous messages sent by you, telling them how much you love and miss them.
Plan: When he's away, we talk about future dates, holidays, DIY projects or even the day he comes home. The last time my partner went away, we planned our wedding.
Make a list together: It’s a great conversation starter, and you can start it when they get back. It can be small things like, baking a cake together or watching all the star war films.
Keep Busy: Distract yourself with hobbies, exercise, learning courses and socialising. Before you know it, they will be home.
Make changes: I love doing new things when my partner is away, like trying a new hobby or rearranging a room. It shows him I’m coping.
Care package: Send them a box of their favourite goodies, like sweets, playing cards, protein bars, socks, novelty gifts and even something from Anne Summers. Just make sure you send it in plenty of time and read up on the weight, size and item restrictions.
Treat them: Treat your soldier to a sexy video call. Find out their kink and dress up for them.
The first couple of weeks of your partner being away is the hardest, but it gets easier. Before you know it, you will start to enjoy your independence. See the positives in your time apart, it's an opportunity to grow and strengthen your relationship.
This kit can be adapted to include your children, by getting them involved in making the appreciation cards, care package, photo album and even creating a list of things they want to do with their mum/dad returns home.
Deployment can be emotionally draining, but it can also refresh your love for one another and help bring your family unit closer together.