Re-entry Reminders

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.

  1. Normal has changed for everyone.
  2. Be patient--it takes time to get into a routine.
  3. Soldiers haven't been on a vacation.
  4. Expect your household to be different.
  5. Keep life as routine as possible.
  6. Take time to re-adjust to one another.
  7. Go slowly.
  8. Communicate feelings.
  9. Anxiety is normal.
  10. Discuss frustrations.
  11. Accept that we are all different.
  12. Initial discomfort in adjusting doesn't mean your spouse is unhappy with you or the family.
  13. Communicate ahead of your spouse's return about radical changes in your physical appearance (once a redhead now a blonde).
  14. Communicate about changes in discipline of children.
  15. Assume you've both been faithful to one another unless strong evidence indicates differently. Then seek wise counsel.
  16. Be open about changes that have occurred in your life--spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
  17. Avoid "who had it worse games."
  18. Remember intimacy and sex are not the same thing.
  19. Accommodate, accommodate, accommodate. Meet small requests--like eating favorite foods three times a day.
  20. Listen, look, listen.
  21. Take it easy. Let things happen naturally.
  22. Old problems don't disappear.
  23. Take time to share expectations and concerns before your spouse returns home.
  24. Soldiers' sleeping patterns may vary.
  25. Spouses may need space--let them have as much time as needed.
  26. Realize you will never understand all your spouse has been through.
  27. Military spouses may have nightmares. Don't panic.
  28. If a soldier doesn't want to talk, don't push.
  29. 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