Whether you’re preparing for your first deployment or are in the middle of one right now, you might be wondering how to deal with deployment separation. Being separated from the person you love for months, even years at a time can be so hard. Thinking about how much you miss them hurts, but not thinking about them hurts too, just in a different way. You might start to wonder how you can stay connected emotionally when you can’t be together physically. Whether you’re experiencing disconnect right now, or you’re proactively seeking tips to avoid deployment relationship problems, you’re in the right place. After going through multiple trainings and deployments, I’ve found tools to help me strengthen my marriage during deployment and feel connected to my husband while he’s away.
Questions About How to Deal with Deployment Separation
If you’ve never gone through a deployment before, you might be experiencing a lot of worry and fear leading up to it, asking yourself questions like:
- How does deployment affect marriage?
- How do I keep the romance alive during deployment?
- How do I make my relationship work during deployment?
Well, I have good news for you. There is a way to feel crazy connected to your husband, even while he’s away. There is a way for deployment to strengthen your marriage, not hinder it. You can keep the romance alive, even when you’re not physically together. And you can make your relationship work and thrive during deployment. It all starts in your mind.
How to Have a Strong Marriage During Deployment
Connection exists in our minds. The only reason we feel connected (or disconnected) to someone–whether they’re home or away–is because of the way we think about them. This is great news because it means you can feel connected to your husband, even when you can’t talk to him, see him, or spend time with him. The essence of connectedness comes from what you spend time thinking about your spouse, your connection, and the health of your relationship. I used to spend time thinking about how hard it was to feel connected to him while he was away. That thought created a feeling of disconnect. Now, I do the opposite, and it has done wonders for my mental and emotional well-being during deployment and my relationship with my husband.
How Does Deployment Affect Marriage?
If you think deployment will only hurt your marriage, here’s some future hindsight: it can be one of the best things for your marriage. You can look back years from now and see how deployments strengthened your relationship and yourselves as individuals. Rather than thinking about how it could negatively affect your marriage, find evidence today for how what you’re going through is strengthening your marriage. (Doing so is one of the best ways for how to deal with deployment separation.) If you need some inspiration, here’s how deployment has affected my marriage in the best ways possible.
1. My husband and I do not take our time together for granted. We treasure our time together, a gift we’ve received from spending time apart during deployments.
2. My husband and I know how to be independent yet connected and reliant on each other. We know how to take care of ourselves and ask for what we need from each other.
How Do I Keep the Romance Alive During Deployment?
You can keep the romance alive in your marriage during deployment by keeping the love and connectedness alive in your mind. Physical connection isn’t the only way to foster feelings of love and romance. And that’s a very good thing because during deployment, all you can do is talk to each other, and sometimes even that isn’t available or easy.
Long-distance communication is tough. There are numerous barriers during deployment that make even a simple phone call difficult. The conditions and methods of communication are out of your control–how often you get to speak, how long each conversation lasts, the time of day, time zones, quality of internet connection, and schedules matching up. Not to mention, one or both of you might not be in the mood to talk.
So, when talking is the only way to enhance connection–and even that’s hard–what do you do? How do you keep the romance alive?
You don’t talk; you think.
While you can’t control how much you get to talk to your spouse, you can control how much you think about them and the quality of your thoughts. Your thoughts are the foundation of everything, including how connected you feel. That’s why you can feel disconnected when they’re sleeping in the same bed as you. It’s also why you can feel crazy connected when they’re thousands of miles away from you.
To build connection with my husband and keep our marriage strong during deployments, I spend time intentionally thinking about how much I love him every day. I think about the little things he does that I find so sexy. I think about how much he loves me and misses me. I think about our beautiful life together, and I feel so grateful and so connected to him.
While I prefer to have high-quality, frequent communication, it’s not the foundation of our connection. It’s a bonus. When we do get to talk, the connection is that much stronger because my heart and mind are full of so much love for him.
How Do I Make My Relationship Work During Deployment?
You might be excited about intentionally building connection with your partner by spending time thinking about him and creating feelings of love for him. But what if he’s not interested in working with you on these things? What if he thinks your relationship is fine and doesn’t need to feel more connected than he does to make it through deployment? How do you make your relationship work?
Again, more good news–you don’t need your spouse to do anything in order to feel more connected to him. You can do the work yourself and create connection with your husband by what you think about him; he doesn’t need to be a part of it. Because connection exists in your mind, you can feel completely connected to him, even if you’re the only one actively working on feeling it. Just by you creating feelings of connection and feeling good and loved in your marriage, your relationship will benefit.
Don’t Focus on Deployment Relationship Problems–Focus on Connection
Learning how to deal with deployment separation starts by understanding that connection begins with your thoughts. So, make creating connection with your husband–especially while he’s away–your new favorite hobby. Instead of thinking about deployment relationship problems, think about how much you love your husband. Think about why your marriage is amazing. Thinking about the problems and potential challenges comes easily. Thinking about everything you love about them takes intentionality, but it is so worth it. When you think about why you love him, why he deserves your love, and why it’s amazing to create a life with him, connection grows. And it’s from that place of deep, meaningful connection that your marriage can stay strong and thrive during deployment.
Interested in diving into more content on this topic? Check out these Simply Resilient Podcast episodes:
- Episode 14 – How To Feel Connected to Your Husband While He’s Away
- Episode 28 – How To Feel Crazy Connected to Your Husband Even When He’s Deployed
- Episode 56 – The Husband Episode
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