Pre-Deployment Guide for Spouses
Will my loved one be safe? How much contact will we have? How am I ever going to make it through this? I don’t think I can say goodbye… For the military wife (or husband!), those are just a few questions that tug at the heartstrings as they prepare for their spouse’s deployment. Though we can never begin to replace the physical presence of your husband or wife, we can help you make that departure a little sweeter. Keep reading to learn what you can do to ensure the entire family is as prepared as possible, and for tips on how to turn this difficult pre-deployment time into a series of sweet memories the two of you will cherish forever.
Get ready to dive in and learn how to make this life event a wonderful one!
Pre-Deployment Activities for Couples & Families
One of the greatest tasks you can accomplish before your sweetie pie’s deployment is to build up as many positive memories and experiences possible. There’s no telling what he or she may face while in the field, and so it’s of the utmost importance that they possess a treasure trove of happy times to look back on should hardship arise!
Are you in a long-distance relationship? Check out Diva Central for even MORE great ideas!
Perhaps even more importantly, these treasured memories will serve to keep your love and commitment to each other strong throughout the coming months ahead. Consider as a couple the types of activities you would like to engage in before his/her departure, and try to be as fully invested in that together time as possible. Take a look at the following quick and easy ideas that will help fortify the amazing bond the two of you already share and consider choosing a few (or all!) of them.
- Family Photos – Not only does this idea lend itself to a great deal of family bonding, but you’ll also be able to send off your sweetie with a collection of beautiful, up-to-date family photos! That’s definitely a win-win in our book. The best part of all? We’ve taken away the stress of coordinating outfits with our list of what to wear for the perfect family photos.
- Conversation – Though the two of you will most certainly need to sit down and ask some serious questions, you’ll also want to slip in as much positive chit-chat as possible to build up those important lines of communication that will be put slightly on hold. These conversation starters steer away from too serious of topics, meaning they’re high on fun and, as a fabulous bonus, they’re a great way to sneak in some more sexy time.
- Night Date – With only a few evenings left together, you’ll want each and every one to count! With the help of this romantic evening date, you’ll create a night to remember.
- Sexy Games – Not to state the obvious, but soon things will be a little less… amorous than before. Which means there’s no time like now for the two of you to enjoy yourselves in the bedroom! Give our Bedroom Taboo game a go or, for even more fun, take a look at our list of 75 Sexy Bedroom Games or any of these super simple Games for the Bedroom.
- Outdoor Adventure – There’s nothing like fresh air to create a memory and this day date will accomplish just that. Incorporate it into your pre-deployment activities list to make sure you enjoy a touch of the great outdoors together before the big day.
- Day Date – And for those who are a little bit less inclined to nature (me! me!), we’ve got an outdoorsy date that’s low on nature but high on awesome.
- Movie Night – Gather the fam and spend a day watching some of your sweetie’s favorite flicks. Harry Potter fans will especially love this great idea.
- Homecooking – Rations and mess hall food isn’t exactly gourmet, so a home cooked meal goes a long way in showing your sweetie a little pre-deployment loving. Out of ideas? Our 100+ Romantic Anniversary Dinner Ideas post will help you every step of the way.
- Mom/Dad Dates – Make sure the kidlets get some special one-on-one time with mom or dad before deployment. Our done-for-you mini date nights will ensure stress-free preparation and super easy memory making.
- Countdown – Originally crafted as a countdown to Valentine’s Day, this heart-packed countdown is just bursting with love and sweetness that your sweetie will adore. Consider incorporating it 14 days before deployment day and tweak it as necessary to fit your situation!
Pre-Deployment Tasks for Couples
Though saying goodbye to a spouse seems as difficult as it comes, it’s the every day without them that can be a real challenge – especially if the necessary preparation steps haven’t been taken. Things from basic repairs to emergency preparedness may be affected, and so it is crucial to have those logistical issues sorted out prior to deployment day. Take a look at the following must-check items to be sure that the more practical side of life will run as smoothly as possible in your spouse’s absence.
- Compile Lists – Compile a list of repairmen (or handy friends!) to handle tackle those tasks your honey might usually take upon themselves. Think plumbers, electricians, and mechanics – anyone who can help fix a broken something.
- Repair Crash Course – Ask your sweetie for a brief rundown on simple repair tasks and consider having them write out step-by-step instructions. It could save you the hassle of calling a repairman and might even save you a pretty penny – not to mention the pride you’ll feel when you fix the garbage disposal by yourself.
- Emergency Preparedness – In the case of disaster, illness, or another emergency, you’ll want to have a distinct plan in place and supplies on hand. Check to see your family first aid kit is in order, and that each member of the family has access to 72 hours worth of food and water. If possible, decide on a plan ahead of time for how you will check in with your deployed spouse should a disaster occur.
- Instill & Share Schedules – If your soon-to-be deployed spouse is the primary caretaker of the children, you’re definitely going to want to sit down and share schedules, provider information, and routine tips to help make that transition a smoother one. Be sure to pass along important babysitter information as well, and have a few on standby for future child-care needs.
- Communicate About Communication – Be sure you’re on the same page about how the two of you will stay in touch (ie. phone calls, letters, etc.) and consider setting up a communication schedule for the kids. Having this type of structure in place beforehand will help everyone in the family stay a lot more sane.
- Discuss Finances – Make sure you know exactly how much is in your checking account, how to pay bills and other fees, and where important financial documents are located. Though it may seem like an uninteresting and unimportant topic, you’ll be glad you took the time to work out such details.
- Pin Down Talking Points – Decide now exactly what details you will share with each other during deployment, and which topics might cause undue worry, frustration, or stress. Remember to keep those topics out of your conversations during the actual deployment period.
Pre-Deployment Resources for Couples
While studying can never fully prepare you for the actual act of sending off a loved one, it can help you better understand what to expect and give you tools for dealing with those difficult emotions that might arise. We’ve included some of our favorite deployment preparation materials. Consider going through a few with your spouse (time permitting) so each of you has a better idea of what the future holds. Be aware that this time might give rise to some difficult emotions and questions so be prepared to work through those things together as they come up.
- Journey Through Deployment: Stepping Forward with Confidence During Military Separations – Packed with tips and encouragement for facing this time apart from each other, this quick read will help couples acquire the confidence they need for a smart and successful deployment.
- The Five Love Languages: Military Edition – It’s no secret that we’re all about The Five Love Languages. That’s why we were thrilled to find this military edition that will help the two of you get through this difficult time with flying colors.
- Tour of Duty: Preparing Our Hearts for Deployment – Christian readers especially will love this Bible-based read that helps military wives better understand and prepare for the issues that may arise with the deployment of their husbands.
- Separated By Duty, United in Love – Written by Army veteran and military wife Shellie Vandevoorde, you’ll want to give this comprehensive a guide a good read both before and during your spouse’s deployment.
- USAA Deployment Checklist for Families – Download these free PDF checklists from USAA to help keep you organized and on top of important tasks.
- Military Deployment Binder – Complete with worksheets for emergency preparation, budgets, and more, this printable binder is a perfect way to stay on top of those pre-deployment tasks while not losing your sanity.
Pre-Deployment Resources for Kids
For children especially, having a parent go on deployment can be a time of frustration and uncertainty. Unlike their adult counterparts, young children might not fully understand why mom or dad is suddenly gone and may struggle with their emotions as a result; potentially leading to behavioral issues and meltdowns. Older children tend to struggle in different ways as they may feel an added sense of responsibility to help keep the family running while Mom or Dad is gone. No matter the age, all family members can experience a great deal of stress if left unprepared. The good news is that there is a host of kid-friendly resources available that can better help children understand these events in fun and easy to comprehend ways! Consider selecting a few of the following resources to explore as a family, being fully open to potential questions and conversation.
- Brave Like Me – Geared towards younger audiences, this inspiring book from National Geographic is an excellent resource to teach children how to be brave while Mom or Dad is on deployment.
- Hero Dad – This sweet story shows the similarities of a military dad to a superhero – an ultra appealing concept for young children that may better help them understand the important work that Dad does when he’s away.
- Hero Mom – A companion to ‘Hero Dad,’ this clever story similarly puts a superhero spin on the military mom.
- Lily Hates Goodbyes – This sweet story tells the tale of Lily, a little girl whose Daddy is in the military. Be sure and take a look at the parental discussion section that will guide you in helping your child examine and talk about their own feelings.
- Military Kids Connect Online Group – Tech-savvy teens will especially appreciate this unique site that grants military kids interaction and poses discussion topics. Their accompanying Facebook page is likewise a great place for older kids to connect with peers who are experiencing the same things.
- Helping Your Young Child Cope With a Parent’s Deployment – Geared specifically towards parents with young kids, this handbook is full of ideas, discussion topics, and tips for helping your younger children deal with deployment. Consider picking this one up before deployment day so the entire family can participate in a few of the recommended activities.
By focusing on your family, each other, and strengthening the bond the two of you already share, you’ll be as ready as ever to tackle deployment day. Though far from easy, the two of you are strong and can successfully nurture a positive, healthy relationship, even during this time apart. And remember, we’re here for you.