Deployment is hard. There’s no disputing that. One of the toughest things about deployment is maintaining a functional relationship through it. Of course, it can be done, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any easier.
I’ve found that the most successful military couples have a few similarities when it comes to how they deal with deployment. And one of those things is how they communicate. They work hard to make sure that the other feels loved and appreciated. And, yep, that can be a challenge during deployment.
Here are five suggestions for doing just that—showering a little love on the person you love:
Write a letter…or 10
I’m a little biased when it comes to writing letters. You see, my husband and I rekindled our friendship through letters while he was in boot camp. When John was deployed, I wrote him a letter for every day he was gone. So yeah, I’m biased just a smidge.
While many people have discarded letters for the quicker email, I’d encourage you to get out your dusty box of stationery. There’s something special about letters—something much more tangible and intimate than an email or a text—that can make your loved one seem just a little bit closer when they’re far away. If you send a bunch of letters, think about numbering the outsides of the envelopes so that they can be read in order.
Send a care package
Okay, I love care packages too. In fact, care packages are how I started blogging (www.jomygosh.com). Care packages are a fantastic way to say I love you because you’re able to take care of your loved one’s needs and wants. And of course, who doesn’t love opening what is essentially a huge present just for them, for absolutely no reason?
Record a video
During the deployment, use an SD card and shoot video of things you know your loved one would like to see or might be missing. I sent a video of rain, college football, messages from friends, and a bunch of other miscellaneous fun moments that I thought would be interesting. If your partner has the ability to play the SD card on deployment, send the SD card over. If not, keep it for them until they get back home. And remember—don’t film anything that you wouldn’t want someone else to see.
Tuck in a few surprises
When John packed for his deployment, I pretty much sat in the living room and cried intermittently. (I never said I wasn’t a wuss.) When he left the room to find other items, I was able to sneak a few notes into his bags as well as a few treats like granola bars and jelly beans, so that he had a few surprises ahead of him. Don’t do this with chocolates, liquids, or notes that have questionable messages on them (you know what I’m talking about!). You don’t want to create a mess or problem for your partner.
Prepare ahead of time
While not everyone has the luxury to prepare ahead of time, if you do, take advantage of it. “Open When” letters are a great way to feel emotionally connected to your partner because you’re able to write different letters for different emotions and moments that your loved one might deal with during the deployment.
Depending on the deployment, you might be able to send a care package ahead so that when your partner arrives, there’s already a package waiting for them. Or, consider writing out a few letters so that your partner has something to open in those first, hard days of deployment before mail has had a chance to get to them.
When it comes down to it, with a little creativity, you can do quite a bit during deployment to say I love you. What special things have you done during deployment to raise your partner’s spirits? Make sure you share in the comments—I’d love to hear your story!