By Allie Ochs
How do you deal with the challenges of homecoming?
Relax and accept that homecoming can be difficult. In getting
ready for the big day, put your own needs aside and help your
spouse reconnect with the life he or she left behind. The
real challenge is life after deployment. Historically those
fighting in combat have a much greater likelihood of relationship
break-ups than their civilian counter-parts. Depending on
how devastating the war experience has been, your soldier
may not be the same person that you saw off. Your spouse could
have witnesses others including children or comrades die.
He or she may have been forced to kill in the line of duty!
While your soldier may not share all of these experiences
with you, listen with empathy if he or she does. Even though
your life was clouded with fear during deployment, don't compete
for the most wounded heart. After the big homecoming, you
might be anxious to get on with life as a couple, but find
each other at different junctures. Returning from a country
at war, every day life may now seem trivial to your spouse.
He or she may suffer from post-war trauma or guilt.
Here are the two of you trying to pick up where you left
off. This is the critical point where military couples set
the stage for a spiral breakdown or deeper love. How do you
prevent your relationship from becoming a divorce statistic?
Simply be what people in exceptional relationships are: Fit
2 Love! Do what people in exceptional relationships do: Become
better for each other every day! By following the 3 principles
of being fit to love: mutual respect, moral responsibility
and authenticity you can turn your relationship into a solid
anchor. Here is what these principles mean:
Mutual Respect: Exercise true mutual respect
instead of self-serving respect. In real terms this means
your partner is just as important as you are. Respect how
your homecoming soldier feels. He or she has gone through
a life-changing phase while serving, an experience the two
of you did not share. Cherish the new person that has emerged.
Accept his or her altered perspective on life and be open
to learn from it.
Moral Responsibility: You are always morally
responsible to your partner. Everything you think, say or
do affects your partner. Sometimes you even have to think
of your partner first. Yes, you are responsible for each other's
well-being. Be kind, loving and understanding. Allow for time
to heal the wounds. Be sensitive and encouraging when you
help your partner get on with life. It is your job to be an
Authenticity: Be you! Create and be the
best of you. Be better for each other. Be honest about your
own feelings, but don't blame each other if your relationship
is going through change. It could also be a change for the
better. Depending on how you react, crisis like these are
often the kick-start for more authentic and more solid relationships.
Take your cues from your heart, for it will never betray you.
Think back when you wholeheartedly committed to your partner.
Did you commit to respect and be morally responsible to each
other? Did you commit to be the best you could be for each
other? Sure you did and now you have a chance to do all that
and do it better. While your soldier's homecoming will definitely
fill your heart with happiness, the months after can be very
Here are some tips to make military love stronger:
- Don't be anxious to get back to everyday life
- Allow for re-adjustment
- Become acquainted again
- Respect the different person he or she may have become
- Don't try to make up for lost time
- Accept that things may be different
- Don't have unrealistic expectations
- Talk to each other openly and listen with empathy
- Don't be surprised if your sex life is uneasy at first
- If you have children be open and reassuring
- Spend quality time with your partner and as a family
- Don't be controlling or manipulative
- Learn to make decisions together again
- Keep the faith; you need each other more than ever.
Allie Ochs, Relationship Coach, Speaker and Author
ARE YOU FIT TO LOVE? ISBN 0-9720227-9-1.
Allie's articles are published in numerous magazines
and newsletters. She has appeared on radio and TV. For
Relationship Coaching or to book Allie visit www.fit2love.com
|© 2005 Allie Ochs