Last night I attended an awesome group here in the Fort Bragg area called “Army Wives Marriage Recovery”. It’s a group for military spouses to confide and talk with other spouses about the challenges of marriage especially when living the military lifestyle. One of the topics I took away when I left was how service members behaviors change before they are about to deploy.
The thought of a deployment is stressful much less actually enduring one. It affects the entire military family but more then anything it affects the service member. You may begin to notice changes in the weeks leading up to the deployment and it’s important to understand why they may be acting different and when to avoid taking it personally. Here are 6 behaviors that your soldier may display before leaving.
1. Man Cave
You may notice that your soldier retreats to his man cave more than usual. Whether it’s video games or watching an unusual amount of sports your husband knows cable at his finger tips won’t be an option. TV will become a luxury and in order to make up for the 6-9 months of not having it you may see an increase in his viewing activity.
2. Outside The House
Again deployments take away the freedom of doing the things that you and I will still get to do . Simple things such as running to the store, or heading to a fast food drive thru won’t be an option. Try not to be offended if it seems like your loved one wants to venture out more by themselves. If there is trust then them wanting alone time in the car they won’t get to drive for a while won’t be an issue.
3. Snap, Snap, Snappy!
Knowing you are going to a place that can potentially kill you is no easy feat to deal with. You may notice in the weeks leading up to D-Day that petty arguments will increase and your spouse may snap at you more. This may be because they are detaching themselves (in a weird way) so that it’s mentally easier for them to leave. Don’t mistake this for him not caring that he is leaving ,but sometimes in order to focus on the mission some soldiers feel as if they must do an emotional disconnect. Ask just about any military spouse and I can pretty much guarantee that they have endured this too.
4. No Communication
Again don’t be surprised if communication starts to decrease. This will happen before and during the deployment. We woman are naturally inquisitive and part of our wanting to help is feeling like we need to know everything happening. I don’t think the men intend to do this but it’s just part of them putting themselves in the mindset.
The last thing a lot of spouses complain about before, during and sometimes even after deployments is the increase in money spent on frivolous items. The general consensus on why soldiers do this is for entertainment. Before the deployment soldiers are looking for items to keep them entertained during the deployment. During the deployment they maybe contained to the base they are at (FOB) and so going online and ordering things is a form of entertainment and something to do. When they return home they haven’t truly had a chance to enjoy the money they have earned and may want to spend a bit more than usual.
What are some behaviors your loved one exhibits before they leave?
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As I said on FB this time in our lives don’t have to be the way you said. I would encourage you to share theany resources avaliable to families before, during, and after deployments. Chaplains, books, financial advisors. I listed a few books that have helped many families on my comment on FB. You don’t have to endorse those books yourself but the resources avaliable through each branch can take away some of these as you call norms and help young couples and families communicate and be financially responsible through separations. I pray very hard you can change your heart and offer help and encouragement during these times to young couples. Separations don’t have to be a a time to suffer through but with the right encouragement and resources we can all thrive.
Crystal thank you for sharing your insight. You first need to understand how I blog. The tone of this blog is lighthearted and just very realistic. This was an awareness post mainly because I am not a counselor. I share resources all the time and have been doing so for the past 5 years. However your ideas make for a great post and I will be sure to share them again in the future.
You hit all of these on the head! I definitely experienced each of these during pre-deployment prep and even though it took me awhile to realize it ‘wasn’t me’ once I did I was able to take my own feelings out of the equation and simply be the support he needed as he prepped for a major change in his life.
Being a Military Spouse is something there is no true handbook for but using your love for your spouse and the help, advice and support of other spouses going through the same situations is definitely a great way to make sure you come through on the other side.