So the other day my Hubster and I were having a conversation about what happens to the family dynamic, when a spouse comes home, after a deployment. (This includes a training exercise.)
Now I have talked about this subject before, and have given some pretty sound advice and resources that are available. With that being said, what I really haven’t addressed, or really talked about, is how we feel. Not just us as spouses, but also how our Soldier feels, when they get home.
Coming from a wife’s perspective, it’s a lot of rigmarole, and headaches. We go through cycles of happiness, sadness, and uncontrollable anger, and back to happiness again. It’s an emotional roller coaster from hell. And you can quote me on that.
One minute we are overjoyed to have our Soldier home, after a long absence. The overwhelming feeling of Love, pride, and relief coupled with the realization that yes, you really were terrified while they were gone. Now what I want you to realize is while you’ve been feeling this hellacious roller coaster of emotions…. So has your Soldier.
Yep, that’s right.. They are feeling the mirror image of what you are. (Maybe even more so, because they might be carrying a lot of baggage from their deployment.)
They are so damn happy to have boots on home soil. They are overjoyed to see you, and can’t get over the shock of seeing you after all those long months or years. Of how much their hearts hurt from the amount of love they have for you. How much pride they are feeling over the fact that you held in there, kept the home fires burning, kept the house from falling on your heads, how you took charge and took care of shit.
They also feel the same sadness that you do.
Sadness over the time they lost with you and your kids. Sadness felt about milestones they missed. Birthdays, anniversaries, maybe the baby’s first steps, our your kids high school graduation. (The list is endless and identical to yours.) Sometimes the depression they feel really does require professional help, and there is no shame in finding some either.
They will also feel uncontrollable anger. They will pick fights with you, just like you pick fights with them. You’re going to bump heads over the household schedule you’ve gotten established, because he may not like or understand the way you have been doing things, while he has been away. He is going to get angry when you tell the kids it’s bed time, because he thinks you’re being unfair and not letting them stay up just a little bit longer, because he has been away for so long.
Then there is the ever popular sex issue.. We’ve all been there. They’ve been gone for so long… And with everything that has transpired with their homecoming, there is this awkwardness with each other, when it gets right down to knocking boots..
Picture this scenario; there you both are, standing in your bedroom, (or maybe a rented motel room, because your house has been over run with well wishing family members, who just need to “be there”, because their son or daughter, is finally back. Take advantage of the unexpected house guests…. If you have kids, voluntell them they are babysitting for the night!! You’ll thank me later for this one! lol)
You are both nervous, and apprehensive. Neither one of you really know how to proceed with the commencement of the one activity that you have been waiting a LONG damn time for. Let me give you a little piece of advice on this one.
Take the night, and turn it into “date night”. Go out for dinner and drinks. Go see a movie whatever you need to do, in order to give yourselves the time needed, to reconnect as a couple. Talk, laugh with each other, listen to each other. Really connect with each other. Then when the evening is done, and you are standing in that room with the bed, IF and only IF you BOTH feel comfortable enough, do what comes naturally. Knock those damn boots! You aren’t going to be able to make up for the missed (and often lonely times), while they were away in one night…. But you can damn well try!
And PLEASE understand that if neither one of you are ready to get naked, and play twister right away, IT IS PERFECTLY OK!! It can take time to readjust to your Soldier being home, and for him to adjust to being home. Take the time you need, don’t rush things. Sometimes it can feel like you’re in that “getting to know” each other phase. In a lot of ways, you ARE getting to know each other all over again. And that’s perfectly natural and normal, it can also be a lot of fun too!
These are just some of the things that can happen, or emotions that you are both going to experience.
BOTH of you WILL get through this, too!