by Ilene Stubbs
Editor’s Note: With the U.S. pullout from Iraq by year’s end, returning military men and women and their families will be challenged with unique deployment and re-entry issues. Ilene Stubbs offers suggestions–and the timelessness of God’s wisdom–for managing the process of reunion and readjustment.
- Normal has changed for everyone.
- Be patient–it takes time to get into a routine.
- Soldiers haven’t been on a vacation.
- Expect your household to be different.
- Keep life as routine as possible.
- Take time to re-adjust to one another.
- Go slowly.
- Communicate feelings.
- Anxiety is normal.
- Discuss frustrations.
- Accept that we are all different.
- Initial discomfort in adjusting doesn’t mean your spouse is unhappy with you or the family.
- Communicate ahead of your spouse’s return about radical changes in your physical appearance (once a redhead now a blonde).
- Communicate about changes in discipline of children.
- Assume you’ve both been faithful to one another unless strong evidence indicates differently. Then seek wise counsel.
- Be open about changes that have occurred in your life–spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
- Avoid “who had it worse games.”
- Remember intimacy and sex are not the same thing.
- Accommodate, accommodate, accommodate. Meet small requests–like eating favorite foods three times a day.
- Listen, look, listen.
- Take it easy. Let things happen naturally.
- Old problems don’t disappear.
- Take time to share expectations and concerns before your spouse returns home.
- Soldiers’ sleeping patterns may vary.
- Spouses may need space–let them have as much time as needed.
- Realize you will never understand all your spouse has been through.
- Military spouses may have nightmares. Don’t panic.
- If a soldier doesn’t want to talk, don’t push.
- Re-union is difficult! Stay calm and don’t give up!!
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. –1 Peter 3:8
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
– Colossians 3:12