By Heather Goffrier
My husband and I say “I love you” to each other every day, several times a day. It’s a meaningful habit, but sometimes those words are on auto-pilot. During deployment that short phrase can seem dry and lifeless when I see it in an email.
Going beyond “I love you” with a fresh phrase has strengthened our relationships. It takes me out of the deployment rut and speaks to my heart, especially when I am reading between the lines of emails and trying to make up for the lack of intonation and body language in the text.
Getting creative brings a sense of connection between the two of us. It reminds us of our commitment and shows my husband that he still has a place in my life while he’s across the ocean.
Here’s a list of my fave phrases I use to mix it up and support my hubby on a whole new level:
1. Your encouragement is enough
My hubby is eager to help when I’ve had a rough day. He often wants to fix things… it’s his way of helping. When he can’t, I find it helpful to let him know that he really is helping, just by encouraging me.
2. I’m struggling with ______, and it would help if you would _____.
For example, “I’m struggling with a situation with the kiddo, and it would help if you would just listen so I can vent.”
3. I miss your hugs (or…)…
Though I’m going on with life and even thriving, I reassure him that there’s still a place for him here and that life is not the same without him.
4. I’m proud of you.
The first time I saw my husband cry was the day I said goodbye to him on our last deployment. It was our fourth as a couple, but our daughter had been born just two weeks before. Saying goodbye to us was, as he recalls, “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” I try to make it a point to tell him I’m proud of him because I know that more than ever, he’d rather be home with us.
5. You inspire me!
Even though he’s not there to make me laugh or lighten up, who he is still inspires me. His character doesn’t change just because he’s gone, and my admiration for him remains as well.
6. You’re worth waiting for.
He’s stuck in a position where he needs me to wait. Yes, he chose this life, but that doesn’t mean he won’t feel vulnerable or forgotten sometimes.
7. We’ll get through this.
Even during mis-communications, growing apart, distance, time zones, and stress, we can get through and he needs to hear it. (And so do I.)
8. You’re mine forever.
9. I’ll always love you.
These two phrases remind hubby that he can be secure in our relationship. We have a strong marriage. However, being thousands of miles away can cause even the strongest of relationships to question if they’re going to make it. Speaking about our commitment goes a long way to give each other peace of mind.