Adjusting To Life After Deployment | Anchors Aweigh


Adjusting To Life After Deployment

Just like deployment is a huge adjustment, so is reuniting. It sounds silly that you have to adjust to being married again, but deployment lasts a long time. You both develop routines, new habits, and get used to the single life. As excited as you are to be back together, you almost have to relearn how to be married to one another.

Our experience overall has been really good, but I thought it might be helpful to blog about the specifics for anyone about to welcome a spouse home or who recently finished deployment. Plus, I always love to look back and remember this stuff. :)

I'll preface this by saying this is all just my experience with adjusting to post-deployment life. Everyone is different because every couple is different. Parker was also deployed on land vice on a ship, meaning we were able to Facetime almost every day. We know how lucky we were to have this luxury, and I am sure the fact that we got to "see" each other throughout deployment made the adjustment that much easier. Lastly, we don't have any kids at home, which I fully believe would add a whole new element to the adjustment process. 

1. Homecoming

The first thing we did that was helpful (especially for me) was to not have anyone else there for the homecoming. I had friends advise against inviting anyone, and I went with their advice. As much as I adore our families, it would have made things a little harder having them around while Parker and I were getting reacquainted. We also lucked out that we are having a baby 2 months after Parker got home, so our families will come visit then. At first I thought maybe it was selfish not to invite anyone else to come for the homecoming, but deployment is harder on the spouse (and kids if there are kids) than anyone else. You're the one most effected by a long shot, so I think it's an okay time to be a little selfish. 

2. Sleep

Sleeping together again was a small adjustment for the sheer fact that, since I'm so pregnant, I roll over approximately 3852 times per night, which wakes Parker up. He used to sleep a little more soundly... my bad! I also knew he had grown accustomed to sleeping with blackout curtains, which we didn't have, so I purchased new blackout curtains and hung them up before he got home. He really appreciated this!

3. TV Shows

This one sounds silly, but I had been watching girly shows for the past 7 months, and Parker had been watching man TV that I had absolutely no interest in. Instead of forcing the other to watch our shows, we both found new shows to watch together that we would both enjoy. We usually watch an episode of something each night, so finding a show we both like saved arguing about what to watch. Again, it sounds silly, but we had both just spent 7 months getting to be totally selfish and watch whatever we wanted.

4. Time Together, Time Apart, and Time With Others

When your husband comes home, there is this stigma that you need to spend every waking moment together. We love spending time together and are together as much as we can, but setting an unrealistic expectation of being together 24/7 is unreasonable and setting yourself up for failure. We took the first day back completely to ourselves and didn't Facetime any family or see any friends. The next day, friends invited us to dinner and we went. We were still together, but we had a fun night out with friends. Parker has also wanted to do little projects around the house like fix his computer that don't involve me, and that's fine. Just knowing he is in the next room makes me happy. The point is, getting back to normal life is good.

Overall, just having grace for each other throughout this post-deployment adjustment has made all the difference. Parker is so patient with me and so good to me and my ever-growing bump. I'm less independent than I was before he left, a whole lot bigger, and need way more sleep and downtime than I used to, and he has never once made me feel like I am lazy or unproductive.

Even though it's an adjustment, post-deployment life is so, so good. Seriously... so good. We have a deeper appreciation for our marriage and feel so blessed to just get to do life together again. If we could give anyone advice for life after deployment, it would be to just go with the flow. There may be a few bumps along the way, but isn't that true of life in general?


Caravan Sonnet said...

This was beautiful advice!! Definitely pinning this for all of my friends who are military spouses!! Thank you for sharing!! :)

Jen said...

It's so important to still have your identity after they come home. People kept telling me that we had to spend all our time together and that just isn't the case.

Kait said...

I agree with Jen above - maintaining your identity is so important!

Bailey said...

I love this post. Obviously Andy and I have never gone through a deployment together, but with his TDY's I've noticed that it feels unusual for the first few days when he gets back. I'm definitely struggling with the spending lots of time together thing though. It sounds weird, but I feel guilty now that I have a job that I'm not home when he is home.

Kimber Scotland said...

I love reading these kinds of posts. Thanks for sharing!
Kimber :)

Stephanie said...

Yes to all of this! The TV thing sounds so trivial but that was part of our biggest hang up when Tom returned. That and his eating habits were less than desirable. I still will sometimes make comments about him slowing down to enjoy a meal even 4 years later.

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