Sometimes deployment can be just the breath that a relationship needs. If you’ve read previous posts, you know that I am currently in the midst of my husband’s second deployment. We are approaching the middle of this deployment and there are so many ways that this one is different. Going into this deployment, we were each moving from such a different place than we had been the first time he deployed. These long periods away from one another are very significant but, if your time is used productively, they can refresh your priorities. I am such a different person than I was before our first deployment. At that time, I was newly engaged and planning a wedding. That time apart was a bit of a test of our love and our relationship. We were still learning how to be compatible with one another long term… and long distance.
Once he returned and after we married, we spent a year and a half getting acquainted with our married lives. It was both the greatest time that we’ve had together and the most stressful. He was in school full-time for a year while I worked. We knew that our next duty station, the one we’re in now, would be a lot more demanding on him because it would require him to deploy two more times. We took advantage of the year we had together as best we could. While we were able to spend a blissful year traveling and playing house, we were both still settling into married life. I was still working everyday. At the same time, my husband was studying while also renovating just about our entire house. We were both stressed. We also knew that he would be leaving at the beginning of this year on a six-month deployment.
Time to Regroup
When he left for deployment, I initially used this time apart as a way to regroup. I missed him terribly, but it was also an opportunity to grow and expand. The previous year was enough time for me to figure out my most favorite things like spending some evenings alone with my husband just watching TV or a movie, or like playing golf with him on the weekends. But, I could also see my least favorite things like trying to stay up as late as possible with him and then get up early for work the next day; like spending so much of my time working and not playing and not spending nearly enough time socializing with my friends. After he left, I suddenly had all this time on my hands. I had time to spend thinking about what I wanted to do differently in my life to remedy these least favorite things of mine. I had time to think about he and I in the abstract and what our lives would, or should, be like once he returned home. I had time to think independently and was able to act upon some ideas, like this blog, that I might not have had the time or energy to act upon before. I’ve used this time initially as a time to vent. As a time to release some of the pressure of working and being responsible while also being a good wife.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Now that I’ve taken the opportunity to channel some of my energy into work and other projects, I am reorganized. I have found my priorities and can emerge from this deployment a better wife. I miss my husband more than anything and I can’t wait to have him home. This deployment has been very different than the first one in a lot of ways. But just as with the first one there is a course to follow and a sort of purpose to mold. For each person this time apart will mean something different. For me, it means find myself and love better my husband.
Have you experienced multiple deployments? What have you taken from the experiences?