"No amount of mental preparedness will slow the tears, expect tears." --Cheryl
When Cheryls husband Peter, the supply officer for a unit in Oregon, shared the news with her that he needed to volunteer or be volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan, her mind began reeling. They had met twenty some years ago while they both attended the University of Idaho. ROTC was his way of following in his family's footsteps and to pay for college. Five children later, Cheryl now worried and struggled with constantly changing deployment dates and the unknown possibilities that come with being a war bride. "Is he really going to go or is he not going to go? Can this really be happening? What about the kids?" All these questions raced through Cheryl's head and she held fast to the belief that the events of the war would change. They didnt and Peter left on an 18 month tour.
However, before Peter left, he and Cheryl took action and did their best to prepare their marriage and family for the separation. Here are just a few of the steps this couple did to prepare their marriage:
1. Peter prepared a binder with all important phone numbers (plumbers, electrician, HVAC etc), birthdays, social security numbers and so forth.
2. They established weekly meetings prior to deployment to discuss finances, their children, the home and potential scenarios they may encounter or be forced to deal with.
3. They identified a support network for Cheryl --friends and family that could be help Cheryl with the children or perhaps even with preparing meals or running the kids to events.
If you are preparing for a deployment, it may be difficult to find other civilian spouses who will relate to what you are about to experience.
Your marriage is a partnership that will need to be managed despite the deployment. Peter and Cheryl were aware of this on the front end and so the steps they implemented were put in place so upon his return the adjustment wouldnt be so drastic. They knew that their relationship was about to move from interdependence to independence and to safe guard their marriage and family from divorce, they instituted checks and balances. You can do the same.
Future articles will address the first few weeks of deployment, living life apart, resources to keep your marriage strong throughout deployment, preparing for the return home and more. To learn more, visit http://www.operationmilitaryfamily.org