Communication During Deployments

Hi Everyone!
Today we are talking about communication during deployments.

Photo By Dru Kelly

Communication needs to be a top priority during deployments (and married life in general).  End of story.  Yes everyone is busy, yes he's working crazy hours, yes the internet on ships is CRAP on a good day but it must be maintained.  Otherwise your relationship will suffer.
I am not in anyway saying that we are perfect or that we have it all figured out but we have a system that just works well for US on deployments.  We talk/email EVERY DAY.  Period.  Doesn't matter how busy or how tired one of us is, we send at least one email every day.  Even if the internet is down or if the ship is in river city.  (I love getting that ton of emails when it comes back on.)  He calls from the ship every chance he gets, even if its just for a few minutes.  Every port visit, one of the first thing he does is get his cell phone figured out and calls as much as possible.  And that works for us.  We are the kind of couple that talks about everything, even all the little stupid things.

Now there is such a thing as too much communication during deployment.  For example, if something bad happens, he doesn't know about it until after I have it handled.  Like if one of your kids falls and breaks their arm, do NOT email him going "Billy fell and his arm is all messed up, and I'm freaking out, and we are going to the ER and....".  Don't do that.  Can you imagine getting an email like that but you couldn't call or email back to make sure everything was ok?  Its not fair to him to have to worry and worrying means he is distracted and if he's distracted on the job, that can equal bad news for a lot of people.  Wait until everything is ok and you are calm, then email and say "Everything is fine but Billy fell and broke his arm.  We went to the ER and he's getting a cast now...".

One important thing to remember is that each deployment is different so be careful of how you set your expectations.  We are one of those weirdo couples that actually like the work ups before deployments. They give us time to see what we should expect for that deployment and adjust our expectations accordingly.  Will he be be able to be on his email 10 times a day or 1?  How often should he expect to be able to call home?

Another communication issue many couples run into on deployments is email.  Just like with any type of communication that is not face to face, so much is lost in translation.  95% of arguments my husband and I have while we were apart stemmed from a miscommunication because of email or texting.  After almost 3 years of dating long distance and 3 deployments, the best advice I can give on this is to try your hardest to not get mad about something right off the bat.  If how something he emails comes across makes you angry or upset, email back and clarify.  Be as open as possible and ask him if he meant it that way or not.  Sometimes we read something and we may take it as a negative but had he heard it instead of read it, it would have been a positive.  It is definitely easier said than done and it is one of our biggest struggles when he is deployed.

What advise do you have for keeping those lines of communication open during deployments?

Until next time,
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