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Communication can be difficult for any married couple. But even more so, when a couple is apart, on different continents and different timezones. The military lifestyle (deployments, temporary duty assignments, annual training, workups prior to deployment, etc.) brings unique challenges to communication. But today’s technology means that creative and ongoing communication can and does happen.
There are two words that seem to describe military wives best, flexibility (“Oh yes dear, our plans are changing again? We’re moving where? Why not!”) and creativity (“Hmm…who says it can’t be done? I just did it, didn’t I?).
– There are times when regular communication does not happen due to the military job.
(Don’t be afraid to talk about what you would like, when you get the chance, or even prior to his leaving. “Can I hope for a phonecall a week, honey?” “Will two weeks be enough time for you to settle in and call?” Going over communication expectations and possibilities will help both husband and wife. )
– Often times phonecalls are interrupted.
(Some advice I’ve heard is, start your phonecall out with “I love you” in case you get cut off, then at least you’ve taken care of the most important part first. Also, jot down “must talk about” items on a notebook so you won’t forget them when your honey calls and you’re terribly excited to hear his voice. This also gives you something to talk about if things are at first a bit awkward for you both over the phone.)
– Don’t be afraid to be creative.
(One wife wouldn’t settle for not being able to send her husband a cake. Usually cakes cannot be sent because they don’t last well through shipping. She chose to make her husband a cake in a jar. It worked out beautifully, and he enjoyed it! Many wives send a “holiday in a box”. With these, the spouse fills a box full of items special to the holiday or event, including birthdays or anniversaries too. For instance, for Valentines Day, a box full of heart candies, chocolate or other special treats, as well as delightful cards and even a picture album are sent.)
Here is a link from a fellow milspouse blogger with her package idea! Throwing a Surprise Birthday Party from A Thousand Miles Away
– With the length of the present conflict, many improvements in communication options have been developed. Don’t be afraid to tap into these.
(Gone are the days of letterwriting only!)
So, here are a few creative communication options.
I just heard about Spawar calls.
And here’s something for children!
(Offer to help send a package or a letter to the deployed soldier. Or why not send a “deployment package” to the spouse herself. Include a book or video, small items to pamper herself with, crafting supplies, or other things you know she needs (you can even ask her), a phone card, or money for postage or shipping. Why not get creative yourself! I can’t begin to tell you how blessed you will make her feel.)
I would love to hear more ideas, both from military spouses and civilians. What have you done or are planning on doing? Any unique situations you have experienced? Please share! If you leave me a link sharing a post describing a package or idea you have done, I’ll include it here!