Deployments are now a common thing in the Army National Guard. Since the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, many ARNG Soldiers have been deployed one or more times. If your spouse is currently serving in the ARNG or USAR, there’s a good chance they could get deployed in the future. In the event that happens, I want to share a few helpful things you can do to survive a deployment (as a spouse). Here are some deployment survival tips for National Guard Spouses.
#1 Accept the Fact That Your Spouse Could Get Deployed
Always keep it real with yourself. Don’t pretend that your spouse (or their unit) is untouchable. Accept the fact that they could deploy and probably will. Don’t try to fool yourself.
# 2 Develop a Game-Plan
Before your spouse deploys, develop a game-plan. Who will be in charge of the finances? Will you stay in your current residence or move back in with your parents until your spouse returns? What will you do for employment? Try to address these big issues ahead of time, so you will be prepared. If possible, draft everything up in a simple 1-2 page deployment plan and file it away in a safe place.
# 2 Don’t be Resentful
If your spouse deploys, don’t be resentful or hold it against them. In most cases, you knew this could happen, before you got married. Try to look for the positive in things. And whatever you do, don’t think your spouse is having a “vacation” on their deployment while you are stuck doing everything at home. Most deployments require long work hours and lots of stress. They are by no means fun.
# 3 Communicate Often
During the deployment communicate often. Try to write letters to each other and/or send daily emails. You can also use social media to keep in touch. Another option is to utilize SKYPE to call each other. There is no excuse NOT to talk every day. All Soldiers have access to a phone or computer (if they want to) while they are deployed. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.
# 4 Create a Support Group
If your spouse is deployed, you will need your own support group. You can utilize the unit’s Family Support Group, or create your own support group. At a minimum, try to find another National Guard spouse of the same gender to form a friendship with. That way, you will have a lot in common with the person and can help each other.
# 5 Start Your Countdown
One simple thing you can do while your spouse is deployed is to start a countdown. Create a countdown to when they will come home on leave and when they will be home for good. Update your countdown each day and let this be your motivation to waking up each day (being one day closer). Share “how many days and a wake-up” there are left every time you talk with your spouse.
# 6 Keep a Journal
While your spouse is deployed, consider keeping a journal. Take 10-15 minutes each day to write down your thoughts and feelings. You could share this with your spouse when they return, or keep it to yourself. This is a great way to express your feelings and get things off your chest.
These are just six helpful deployment survival tips for National Guard Spouses. The deployment and time apart from each other won’t be easy, but if you follow the advice mentioned above, you can keep your marriage strong and survive the deployment.
Do you have any other suggestions? Any questions? Just post them below.