Spouses guide to successfully completing a deployment
Updated: Jan 28
Hello everyone and welcome back!
Today I wanted to just sit down and chat...or type.... in hopes that this may interest anyone who is going through a work related separation as my husband and I are:)
For many of you who know us, you will know that Adam is currently deployed overseas and that this is also our first deployment!
For me personally, going from living with my parents in Ontario when I met my husband and having a job at TD Bank downtown to moving across Canada and having to start more or less from scratch was a little difficult at first. I was very lucky to have a good resume and to secure the position that I currently hold at the University of Victoria as there are not as many big businesses on the island as there would have been in Toronto for me.
My family and I are very close and so we do facetime about 3-4 times a week and that aspect of our relationship has not changed due to he move.
When Adam first told me he was getting deployed, I can remember it clear as day, I was in shock and I will admit I knew this day would come, however I did not even know what questions to ask. I did ask him when he was leaving and if there was training for it and when that was as well. We sat on the couch, I cried the whole time and he patiently explained every step of the way to me. I did not sleep at all that night. The anxiety was at an all time high even though he was not leaving for training for about a month after.
The whole month leading up to him leaving for training, our house slowly became a mess with all the kit he had to pack and repack a million times. Deadlines and dates got switched around what felt like two million times and as patient as I was trying to be I did have some melt downs. I had never lived on my own before and I had also never been apart from Adam in the year and a bit of us dating.
If you have read my previous blogs you know that Adam and I got civilly married over Canadian Thanksgiving when my parents were visiting us and are having the wedding in October of 2020.
The excitement of the engagement and getting civilly married lasted for a couple of weeks until we were getting closer and closer to him leaving. I will be honest and say that through the time that he's been away, I have really enjoyed having the wedding to plan and look forward to.
The first day that he left was the worst for me even though he only was gone for 3 weeks for training. Saying goodbye at the airport broke my heart.
He called me once he got to where he was training and because it was still in Canada the time difference was not too bad. It felt just like it did when he was completing the academy and he had to live on base so we only visited once a week and weekends. It almost did not feel so hard...
With the next 2-3 weeks passing by I got used to slowly doing everything on my own around the house. The one thing that I am so grateful for is my full time job as well as having Gunner with me. It is nearly impossible to cry with a big floof on top of you trying to kiss away your tears haha
Adam came home for about a week between training and deploying and that was one of the best weeks for us through this journey because we really got to enjoy each other's company.
So, here are some tips that I have learned thus far on this journey:
1. Keeping busy: This has got to be the number one tip I would give anyone who is experiencing a deployment or any sort of separation from their significant other due to work. Find a hobby that you enjoy doing! For me, going to the gym on a regular basis as well as making sure Gunner always got enough exercise was very important. I also spent a lot of time planning our wedding so, finding what can keep you busy and looking forward to when they come home is key. Perhaps you can plan a trip or a homecoming party, whatever it is that will occupy your time in the evenings and weekends.
2. Getting really comfortable with yourself: I am forever working on myself as I'm sure so is everyone else, however becoming independent and having to do it all on my own has shown me how strong of a woman I am. Also, finding out that our friends like hanging out with just me as opposed to Adam and I also can give a new sense of self. It is extremely important for both people even in a marriage to have a sense of self and individuality even though most of the things we do are together and decisions get made as a family. It can be as simple as finding a new routine that you do on your own to decompress. I implemented a new skin care routine because I now have the time before bed every single night to do so.
3. Keeping phone calls short and positive: We tend to either facetime, regular call or text everyday, however routines can get boring and it is possible on certain days to not have much to talk about. Adam and I both downloaded the same book to read while he is away for moments where we are on the phone and fall short of topics to discuss. Keeping conversations short everyday as opposed to hour long calls will in the long run help the relationship along and it will also avoid unnecessary fights if one person is tired and does not contribute as much. We also make sure to end every conversation on a positive note and really tell one another that we love each other, we are proud of each other and that we will eventually see the end of this mission together.
4. Sending Care Packages: This has been my favorite part about this deployment thus far. I sent Adam a Birthday Care package (picture inserted below) that included all of his favorite snacks as well as little stocking stuffer type games such as a chess board, Sudoku books, battleship, UNO...ect that he can share with everyone else that is there. He opened the care package on facetime which made it so special for me to see his reaction to something that I had put a lot of thought and effort into making for him.
5. Don't wait around: What I mean by this is that it is okay to make plans and to go out with friends. I went through a phase where I would feel bad that I was the one who got to see our friends and hang out with them while Adam was deployed and unable to do such things. It is okay to make plans and have fun while your significant other is away. Reality is, waiting at home by the phone will not make them call you faster than they are able to, so the best advice I got was that you are able to pick up the phone and speak to them from anywhere you may be. Waiting around is not healthy and in turn will make it seem like a longer chunk of time if you are always at home and don't get out and get involved in other things.
6. Be patient and kind: Sometimes and some days your significant other will not be able to text or call you. That is okay. It is something I still struggle with, however you have to be understanding of the fact that they are there to do a job and come home. They are not there "to have fun". Don't take it to heart and don't bring an argument into the next time that you get to communicate. Picking your battles really gets tested when you are only able to speak for a certain window of time due to the 11 hour or more time difference. If something is bothering you, bring it up in a kind way and don't make it seem like you are accusing them but rather in a way that they are able to see your point of view and perhaps think of a compromise or solution before speaking to them, which will show that you have put thought into this and are not only acting on impulse.
7. It's only temporary: If all else fails and you are really struggling, remember everything in life is temporary. It will be over and he/she will return home.
Fast forward to today and getting to see Adam very soon for the "half way" mark, I am very confident that we can get through this and come out on top at the end of it. Situations like these are meant to strengthen a relationship and teach each other how to be resilient when faced with something difficult.
Always remember that there is help out there and to always reach out if you or a loved one are struggling. Everyone has experienced something similar in life where they may be able to relate and offer help.
I know that it is very hard at first but trust me, your mind and body are strong enough and will eventually find a routine. You physically will be unable to cry for 7 months straight, so in turn it will get easier. Some days may still be hard and remind you of how much you miss them, but always remembering how proud you are of them is what helps get you through those days as well as looking forward to a positive thing you guys have planned for when they do return! Keeping a positive outlook and always thinking of what is next versus the fact that they are not with you is what will make the time pass by a little easier.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope this blog post helps someone who may be going through something similar. Fell free to message me on my social media any time if you need support or any further advice:)