Military Family: 5 Key Tips for Making the Deployment-To-Home Transition Smoother

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Tip # 1 – We all desire those first couple of months our spouse is home to be reminiscent of our honeymoon, even conjuring up a list of things to do as a couple or family. However, being overly eager to return to the pre-deployment normal can backfire. Too many commitments or activities can overwhelm the returning military spouse. Their life has been on a demanding and strict jurisdiction for many months prompting the need to decompress without unrealistic or unreasonable expectations.

When my husband returned home from deployments I avoided committing him to plans as a couple or a family for the first two or three weeks. I encouraged him to let me know when he was ready to re-engage with others and activities outside our home. Every family is different in what is sensible and wise, but the idea is to find what works best for the rhythm and needs of your family in order to achieve a doable transition.

Tip # 2 – Lower Expectations – This can go both ways – for the spouse returning home and the spouse upholding the home. Having unreasonable expectations on each other can trigger added tension. Have you ever felt like things were out of sync with your spouse just after a homecoming? To a large degree this is normal. During deployments, growth happens. Deployments have inherent factors that develop and change us over time. This is especially true for your children. However, if this "out of sync" feeling persists, and does not get better with time, there’;s nothing wrong with counseling as a needed first step.

Tip # 3 – Do not Wait, Get Help – Returning from a deployment can also mean new challenges. If unforeseen stress such as emotional or physical stress is present, it’;s vital to seek counseling and / or a medical professional. If you do not know where to start, contact your primary care physician or your nearest military family support center for programs targeted for meeting the unique needs of military couples and families. They are eager to support you. Taking action is doing the responsible thing for your family.

Tip # 4 – Control Celebratory Spending – This may seem like a small matter, but most stress in a military family is over financial worries. After the long months of deployment are over, it is natural to want to celebrate your loved one’;s homecoming, but over celebrating by going out to much will wreak havoc in an already tight budget. Determine ahead of time a homecoming celebration budget. By sticking to a pre-determined celebration plan, you and your spouse will feel in control of your finances while at the same time keeping to your financial goals and celebrating responsibly.

Tip # 5 – Do not Rush Romance – Depending on how well your deployment experience was, whether or not it went better than expected or worse then expected, do not rush intimate. Even the smoothest deployments have their unique challenges, and this calls for caution. A couple that fosters patience and understanding creates a safe environment to express feelings or inadequacies. The key is to be tuned into your spouse and communicate. And intimacy will come when both of you are ready.

Deployments teach us many things about ourselves, our spouses, and our marriages. The ups and downs of the military lifestyle in general is one long transition with many revolutions. However, when we do some pre-planning and implement these 5 tips you can reduce the difficulty of the adjustment period.