Military Week: Saying Goodbye

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.

Pre-Deployment Ideas for Couples

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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!

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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.

Pre-deployment ideas for couples and families.

Pre-deployment ideas for family activities.

  • 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.

Family Activities for Pre-Deployment

  • 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.

Pre-deployment ideas and tasks for couples.

  • 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.

Pre-deployment resources for couples.

Pre-deployment Resources

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.

Pre-deployment Resources for Kids

Pre-deployment Books for Military Kids

  • 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.

For even more great ideas for couples dealing with deployment, be sure and check out Military Week: While Apart and Military Week: Date Night.

 

About the Author: Elizabeth

I’m a friendly gal who’s obsessed with all things “Husband.” :) When I’m not having adventures with my Sweetheart, you can find me in photographer mode, deep in a Netflix binge, or getting my sweat on – after all, ‘endorphins make you happy!’ I also enjoy treasure hunting (aka. thrifting), dark chocolate, and eating as much sushi as possible!

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20 Responses to Military Week: Saying Goodbye

  1. seriously seriously LOVE these ideas!!! we are currently in the middle of our 1st deployment, so i cant wait to put some of your ideas to use!!

    Thanks Dating Divas!!! you gals ROCK!! 🙂

  2. With my hubby 3 and a half weeks back from his second deployment.

    Suggestion for those preparing….START NOW while your spouse is around don’t wait. Create a good foundation.

  3. We’re stationed in Ft. Hood. I LOVE these ideas, especially as we have limited time left together until his next deployment. Thanks for sharing. I have a LIKE LIKE LIKE on FB and sharing now!

  4. Love these ideas! We just finsihed our 3rd deployment and it never gets easier. It was the first one where he missed all the holidays. I am definately filing these away fro the next one.

  5. I’m a military spouse right now in the middle of our first deployment. I wish I had these ideas before he left because I love them! Thanks so much for ths post!

    Tamika

  6. I am excited to try out some of the things on here!! My husband is deployed and finding ways to connect can be hard. Thanks for this website, its great!

  7. Thank you so much for this awesome week! It is so nice to have someone else come up with some creative ideas to inspire me to do more things for my husband in Afghanistan. Really, I know a lot of people who support the troops and want to thank the military, but this is one of the best ways I can think of for you all to show your appreciation for the sacrifices military families make. Thank you.

  8. I follow your blog, on fb, and my hubby is in the military! I love this whole week of ideas, thanks for putting time into it! It is very much appreciated! 🙂

  9. One thing I did for my hubby was to get the whole family (including his siblings and parents) to write on little strips of paper reasons why we love him. Enough for one per day of the deployment. Then I put them all in a little can and decorated it up with scrapbook paper and stamped “I love you because…” on the outside (the writing on the slips of paper finished the sentence). I added a mini stapler and extra staples. The idea was for him to pull out one per day and staple them all into a long “love chain.” He generally got too busy to remember to do it every day, but on days that were particularly hard, he would pull several out at a time and read them. He said it really helped lift his spirits to read them on those days when he needed a little extra lovin’.

  10. When my husband deployed, one of the things I sent him that he still treasures was a small ornament that I sent him and a tiny Christmas tree. He is the only one that can hang that ornament on the tree every year. I also made him a pillow case with pictures of us and places special to us, I printed the photos out on iron on transfer paper. We also always started each phone call with, “I love you,” in case the call would drop or something worse. If I won this book I would be giving it to my single mom friend who just joined the Navy to try and better her life for herself and her daughter.