Communication During Deployment: 3 Long Distance Relationship Tips
Have good communication with someone who lives in your house can be extremely challenging. Being on the same page with someone who is living on the other side of the world can be a nightmare of frustration.
When your relationship is strained, giving the benefit of the doubt, having patience, and communicating your commitment can go a long way toward easing the frustration.
1- Give Your Man The Benefit Of The Doubt
This first one is a simple one: The least we can do to help things get back on track is to make the assumption that he did not mean to offend or hurt us.
It is so easy to miscommunicate during a deployment. Your foundation is the love you have for each other. We all blow it, but most of the time it’s not anything intentional. It’s just a miscommunication.
Assume that’s all it is, and you’re off to a good start.
2- Have Patience And Don’t Make Any Rash Decisions
Communication during deployment takes a ton of patience. You can’t make rash decisions. It means you may not get resolution right away, and then you have to sit with that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach all day. Or all week.
Adam and I dated long distance from Portland, OR to San Diego before we got married. His ship, the USS Ronald Reagan, deployed and toured the Western Pacific. During that deployment, trying to talk on the phone often turned into the most frustrating, heart-wrenching, time of the day.
One particular day, the ship phone line connection was unusually bad. We were having an issue in our relationship, and we were trying to talk it through.
Dial. Ring. Long beep. Hang up. Dial. Ring. “hello?” Talk for 30 seconds. Get disconnected. Dial. Ring. “Hello?” Another 30 seconds before getting disconnected….
This went on for about 20 minutes during one of the most intense conversations we’d had (of course). We tried to pick up the conversation every time it reconnected. I was trying to explain why I was upset and ask some questions, but we weren’t getting anywhere.
Every time the line dropped, I got more upset and frustrated. I felt like giving up on the phone call and maybe even the relationship.
Finally, he said, “If we get disconnected again, send me an email.”
This was good advice. It also turned out to be agonizing for him. He thought he could sit at his desk and wait a few minutes for an email to pop up… But I spent an hour crafting my email late into the night, pouring out my heart while crying (or with steam coming out my ears, I can’t remember).
The poor guy had to wait an hour for my message. He read it, moaning, “NO, that’s not what I meant at ALL!”
Then, due to the time difference, I had gone to bed right after sending it. Once he wrote me back explaining everything, he had to wait all day (his time) for me to sleep, wake up, read and respond to his email.
Ugh. That was no fun.
But if you can have patience and let time have its course, you CAN get on the same page. You CAN resolve many issues of communication during deployment, and you CAN get back to feeling immense love towards your significant other rather than anger and frustration. It just may take some time, so don’t give up.
3- Share Your Commitment To And Need For Your Spouse
It’s a very vulnerable place to be out on a ship or on a base in the middle of the desert without any way to help out back home. We military spouses are so strong, we can do so much on our own. And yet our men long to feel needed by us.
I like to tell Adam all the things I’ve done around the house such as fix the screen, working in the yard, killing spiders (ewww!). He’s proud of me for being independent. But I always try to let him know that, for example, “When you’re back, you get to kill all the spiders again!”
And he gets to figure out the car battery and the rest of the things I’d rather not deal with but have to sometimes. (The one job he really does not want back is trash duty lol.)
Even deeper than that, you can give your man a huge sense of security by letting him know you’re committed to him. Even when things are tough, telling him, “Babe I’m yours forever,” will go a long way. An email or text that says how proud you are of him and how much you miss him will give him strength to face the day.
Those messages will also fill him up and help him to have more energy to communicate with you. And we all know that we women NEED our man to talk with us. =)
Keep At It
Communication during deployment is very difficult and it takes a lot of practice to be good at it. Don’t give up. Your effort is worth it because your relationship with your loved one is worth it. For more ideas for growing as a couple, check out these 5 deployment relationship tips.