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Strengthening Your Marriage, Even During Deployment

By: LIFELines

Marriage is not always easy or smooth sailing. For the Sailor or Marine and their family, it's even more complicated. Deployment will test even the strongest of marriages. Military marriages definitely weather some storms, but take heart - they often come through stronger than before.

Finances are a big stressor in marriage. Iron out the details of how you'll both receive the funds you need before your Sailor or Marine leaves. Set up any allotments necessary and stick to the arrangements. If one of you has to dip into the other's account, make sure you get word to that person as soon as possible.

Sharing information and good communication is important even in a marriage that never sees separation, so it's especially true for couples who sometimes have an ocean between them. Keeping one another involved is key, but tact and timing are everything.

There's nothing more frustrating or worrisome for a Sailor or Marine than to receive an e-mail, telephone call, or letter about a catastrophe that they can do absolutely nothing about. That doesn't mean you don't share, it just means you tell them the whole story - beginning, middle, and end - all at once. Your Sailor or Marine knows that life will have its ups and downs. If you share only the good days, they may start wondering what you're hiding. But consider how what you write or say will affect them so far from home and unable to help.

Dear John,
I can't believe you're not here. I really need you. How could you do this to me? Everything is awful, there is water all over the floor, I still can't drive the car, and I can't find John Jr. If I let you in the house when you get back, you are so going to owe me big time.


If you wait 24 hours, when problems often get resolved, or emotions are lower, you can send the same information without worrying your Marine or Sailor.

My Dear Sweet Husband,
You would not believe the last few days. The washing machine exploded all over the laundry room and kitchen. Don't worry, I borrowed the neighbor's wet/dry vac and called the repairperson. The kitchen floor has never been cleaner.

The car must have been in cahoots with the washing machine as it refused to start yesterday morning. After circling it for 15 minutes and placing a few well-aimed kicks, I remembered that Sue's husband is a mechanic in Motor Transport. Turns out it was just a loose battery cable. I went to find John Jr. and somewhere between the exploding washing machine and the car not starting he disappeared. I finally found him fast asleep under all the blankets on our bed. I overlooked the lump a few times, but one of the MP's found him after they had been looking for about 45 minutes. He had a great nap. All is calm today. I look forward to how your Monday was.

Love always,

In your darkest moments during a deployment, try to share those feelings and emotions in a journal that you keep for your Sailor or Marine to read when they return. The journal should include the good and the bad. This will give you an avenue to vent, and it will let your spouse see through your eyes how much your heart ached for them.

If they can keep a deployment journal for you, it will help you understand what they go through and what life is like for them in a sometimes all-work environment. Seeing each other's side after you're both back together can help you develop a new respect for one another. It doesn't hurt to have you close by for a hug or two either.

Finally, preparation is everything. Take time to nurture your marriage before you go through a deployment. CREDO, the Chaplain's Religious Enrichment Development Operation, is a great way to strengthen your marriage during one of their marriage enrichment retreats. Building a love that lasts takes work before, during, and after deployment. Even the best of marriages require consistent growth to survive choppy waters.