Long Distance Love: Surviving Deployment

military distance

You may have heard the old saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and certainly this can be true; but long separations come with challenges that even the strongest of marriages must endure.

Just ask Melissa Parnell, whose husband, Jonathan, deployed for one year. During his absence, Melissa gave birth to a daughter, Evelyn; dealt with postpartum depression while being separated from family; and took care of everything that goes along with a home, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, and paying the bills.

Plus, she had to overcome the emotions that arise when separated from a spouse. She said, “When your best friend and solid rock leaves for a year, after you have learned to lean on him/her throughout the years, a new change can be extremely difficult to handle alone.”

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Yet, most military couples will have to deal with separation at some point in their marriage. If this happens to you, what can you do to ensure your relationship remains strong when your spouse is gone?

  • Get prepared prior to departure. New York Times best-selling author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey says, “Many military families are tested financially when a spouse is overseas, causing money fights and money problems.” To avoid this, he suggests creating a financial plan for the remaining spouse to follow during the separation. “Talk about what to do in an emergency and create an emergency fund,” he says, so the spouse that stays isn’t worried about decisions being made and the spouse that returns home doesn’t come back to financial surprises. Melissa and her husband discussed plans for extra money and child-raising tactics for the year of his deployment; and when they spoke during their separation, they continued to discuss these topics.
  • Exercise. This may sound like a simple fix; but Melissa says, “I found it absolutely necessary to exercise daily, sometimes twice daily. The endorphins kept my spirits up and helped me find inner strength.” Head to the gym, where you can join in on classes with other people to not only sweat out your frustrations but socially interact with others.
  • Reach out. Those who have been through a separation can offer great tips, advice, and support. Says Melissa, “Seasoned spouses were able to give helpful advice, lend a hand when needed, and just be a shoulder to cry on.” Look for groups in your area that cater to military wives, moms, and/or kids, and make getting out around other people a priority. Staying home every day can increase your feelings of isolation and sadness, which may in turn lead to anger and/or depression.
  • Keep in touch. It can be tough to find the time to do one more thing at the end of the day, but take a moment to write your husband a letter telling him everything you love – and miss – about him. Make a video and send it via email, or connect with him over Skype when the kids are in bed and you can get in some quality one-on-one screen time. Melissa and Jonathan connected on Skype once a week, when his schedule would allow.

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Long Distance Love: Surviving Deployment

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10 comments

  1. Angelina says:

    I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant and my husband is deployed. He won’t be there for the birth. I find myself depressed these days, I knew it was gonna be hard but never imagined HOW hard it could possibly be.

  2. mommy nhoj says:

    It can work with two people making all the efforts. But for me, i hate the distance.

  3. Grace says:

    it is hard for you and then children when they come back- discipline a challenge

  4. PrettyBoogs says:

    I cannot even imagine starting over. BUT I would do what it takes.

  5. monica says:

    my cousin always said that the hardest part of them leaving is when they come back. you get so used to them being gone, unfortunately, that it’s an adjustment. i’m a newly wed who hasn’t enjoyed married life with my hubs yet, but i can tell you it does get better! thanks for the post, exercising has really helped me. keeps my mind away from the loneliness. http://alohafrommonica.blogspot.com/

  6. monica says:

    my cousin always said that the hardest part of them leaving is when they come back. you get so used to them being gone, unfortunately, that it’s an adjustment. i’m a newly wed who hasn’t enjoyed married life with my hubs yet, but i can tell you it does get better! thanks for the post, exercising has really helped me. keeps my mind away from the loneliness. http://alohafrommonica.blogspot.com/

  7. Viry says:

    My husband was deployed May 2009 to April 2010! Its was the hardest thing i had to go through. Before he left our second son was born and it was hard for him to miss the whole first year of our son! But it works!

  8. aimee says:

    deployments suck! I can’t imagine what its gonna be like when i deploy away from my husband and child

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