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Best Way to Communicate During Deployments

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Best Way to Communicate During Deployments

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Best Way to Communicate During Deployments

I am always amazed these days of how easy it is to communicate with a deployed spouse. I'm not THAT old, and I can still remember writing letters and eagerly waiting on the mail. How times have changed! In light of these changes...keep these things in mind.

Instant communication is not always best. I can't tell you the number of emails I've received from readers who got worried, when their hubby didn't log onto Skype or some kind of instant messenger or email. For the last umpteen days, they've been hearing from him at the same time....every day...like clockwork..and the one day he doesn't log on, the wife goes into a frenzy. Most times, the husband was just taking out the trash...literally. You know how First Sergeants are...do this and do that...on their schedule and not yours...his latest mission may just be running an errand for his boss...or another soldier...it may not even be dangerous...but here we are worrying about next to nothing.

So here's my solicited advice to all.

  • Do not expect to hear from your significant other every day. Do you know every time you "talk" or email with him, his guard is down, and when he gets off the phone or whatever with you...he has to get back into the "warrior mindset"? This can ultimately cost lives. What if he is on a mission..and he is either worried he won't get to Skype at the designated time, or he is daydreaming about something you said earlier? Let's not give him so many instances where he has to get himself back in the game...for lack of a better phrase.
  • Absence does make the heart grow fonder. You can get some amazing build-up of love and passion, just by....wait for it, wait for it...it's just like when you were a kid...that candy tasted so much better when you waited for it. I still get butterflies when my husband comes home...almost 20 years later!
  • Do write letters. One, cause he can stuff them in his shirt, and keep them close. Two, cause he doesn't need electronics to read and re-read them. Stick one under your pillow for a few days before mailing it...it's amazing how smells still linger after going thru the mail! And save the heavy stuff, ie issues and problems for well after he gets home...again, you don't want to get him out of his current mindset.
  • Email is still a good choice. I always like to share the day-to-day stuff...that most people would find boring, but I can tell you...when you are deployed...you crave that sense of normalcy...use descriptive words and talk about your day, however boring you may find it. Attach a few downsized photos every now and then of the family so he isn't shocked when he gets home and your hair is purple and the kids are now taller than he is.
  • Phonecalls every now and then are fine...but don't make them a regularly scheduled thing...it'll just bring more stress...to the both of you. Look at a phonecall as a big surprise! It'll make it that much nicer.
What recommendations do you have for keeping in touch with your loved one?

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8 Comments:

Anonymous army bride said...

I LOVE this blog, so thanks for all the great info and tips you share! I’m a newbie military wife at the beginning of our first 'married' deployment. During a previous deployment while we were dating, I made it a point to make sure he got something in the mail from me AT LEAST once a week. I would stick the most random objects in a crazily decorated envelope with a letter or 2 (extra letters for days when he doesn’t get mail but needs some encouragement). He saved pretty much everything I sent, which made me laugh as I looked back over what I sent him after he came home.

I take my cell phone with me absolutely EVERYWHERE, including the bathroom. That sinking feeling of seeing a missed call from him…ugh!! I agree with all of the advice you posted. I’ve also learned a couple things by limited experience and observation…don’t make them feel guilty if there is a time gap in communication, and don’t expect them to answer every e-mail or letter. Also, don’t make them feel guilty that they’re not home to take care of “things,” attend events, lend a hand, etc.

I’m actually looking forward to this deployment. It was inevitable, and I’m certainly going to make the best of it! When people express pity for me, I quickly turn it around to say that I’m honored to 'serve' with & support my husband. Another great thing to remember….my husband loves when I remind him how proud I am of him. You might think it, but he’ll LOVE actually hearing it from you.

December 2, 2008 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Thank you!...welcome...and great attitude and outlook! Thanks also for adding your own great tips!

December 2, 2008 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Foof4e said...

Your blog is wonderful, I am an older military wife (19 yrs) & there is always stuff out there you may not know. The other thing to keep in mind re: missed contact, the system goes down in the dessert constantly. Bad weather knocks out sattelite & you may not talk. I have always sent care packages at least once a month when ever hubby is deployed or on hardship tours. Silly stuff, snacks & whenever possible stuff to share w/ his buddies, (such as homemad cookies, books & magazines,) who might not have anyone.

December 3, 2008 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger LDOWYF said...

This seems like a great blog and a great way to get information and life experiences to other military wives. So here is mine. I have been married to my military man for 15 years and before him I was a military brat. So 33 years of military life. Anyway... When my husband and I were first married he was deployed within 2 months. We were very young and didnt have the experience to know how the real world worked. We knew that he would be hitting ports and so we needed a international plan for our phone. I thought I was ahead of the game. Planning is in my nature. While my hubby was on deployment i got a call from my long distance carrier, She stated that she could put a limit on our phone bill so that if we reached it we would no longer be able to call long distance. She said that some places are really expensive and that this limit or cap would prevent our bill from getting out of hand. I was really excited. Now I didnt need to worry about the number of calls the carrier would track them and stop the calls when we reached our limit. We were almost done with our deployment and the bill never really had been that high but I felt at ease that i no long had to worry about the time on the phone or how many times he called home. Being young and without any debit we were able to put a 500 dollar limit. Long story short... hubby kept calling and we would talk and talk. I kept thinking... We must not be at our limit they would cut off the long distance. Well that is what she promised me and why wouldnt I believe her... Well, Here is the reality. we talked until our bill was 2000 dollars and they didn't do what they promised. I remember being so angry when I got the bill. I called them and I yelled and got nowhere. Turns out that not all the calls went through to the carrier at the time of the call and sometimes took quite a while to post. There was no way for my carrier to put a limit on the long distance calls and we were forced to pay the bill. I now look back and say how silly I was. SSeems like I should have known better, but I was young. I really dont rely on phone calls now a days however they are nice. They are being monitored and therefore not my favorite form of communication.

December 7, 2008 at 1:45 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Wow that must've been a hard lesson to swallow! You always want to believe in the good of people and businesses....I know I have learned through the years...get it in writing...and now this many years later...looking at all the great long distance phone options out there....from free to next to nothing:-))

December 7, 2008 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous CandaceB said...

Love the advice! VERY true!!! I normally here from my husband about every couple days during deployments, but when he has to go a couple weeks without calling, I get a bit sad, but I understand that his goal is not to call me all the time, it is to protect us, make this country safe, and to bring himself and his guys home safe, in one peice, and with no extra holes; this to me is more important than a phone call. Deployments are a sad and stressful part of military life, but I knew what I was getting into when I married him, so I try to be understanding when it comes to communication.
I would like to add something to the list. No matter what he says he doesn't need, ALWAYS send a care package. At least every month or two. All it needs to have in it is maybe some cookies, candy, gum, a couple letters/cards from you and the family (and even the pet). I ALWAYS send beef jerky. It's a good thing for him to share and he loves it (I buy A LOT from Sam's Club). Maybe even an inside joke item. And, it may sound trivial, but also some toilet paper. They have tp over there, but it's DEF not charmin or angelsoft. These things may sound trivial, but it does lift spirits when our loves get the little things from us!!! All it takes is about 40 bucks and it can make them smile and feel loved. That is the goal; to let them know they are loved and appreciated!!!

August 13, 2009 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Samuel said...

This post has a very good perspective!

I have a family member who is getting deployed some where in Iraq and have been really searching for better ways to communicate with him. Does anyone know if it's common for the bases to have internet or access to an ethernet connection? I have a friend that has a video phone that works when plugged into the internet and found that it's capable to leave video messages. I thought it might be nice to have something like this for him, but do not know about the internet access overseas military have.

If anyone knows please post.

February 16, 2010 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

It's getting better over there with internet connectivity and many do use webcams (Skype is very popular), BUT, there are also still quite a few locations with no regular internet access and some remote places with austere conditions. The locations with internet most of the time have slow bandwidth, so it could be frustrating, but it is better than nothing and then when the video gets too choppy, you can still do voice over the internet. I think it would be a good gift, as long as his laptop that he is taking doesn't already have a built in camera.

February 19, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

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