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Lessons From A Newlywed: The Actual Lessons Learned

June 7, 2009

So, now that you all know how hard the first deployment was for us, and the ups and downs that we faced during those two years [and I promise you … it wasn’t ALL bad] I feel like I need to move past all of that and get to the heart of what all of this mean: the things that we learned as newlyweds when dealing with deployment reintegration. So here we go. My lessons learned as a newlywed.

Lesson #1: Cut them some slack They just got back from a very long, frustrating deployment. Don’t expect them to jump back into husband mode right away. Chances are, they may have seen a few things. And, after being apart for a year, it’s just as much of an adjustment for them as it is for you.

Lesson #2: Don’t cut them slack for TOO long This was my problem, and a problem that many wives face when dealing with homecoming. We all want to give our guys a break. But how LONG do you give them a break for?? For me, the “break” went on for a couple of months. And then a couple of months turned into a few months. And then a few months turned into me being completely frustrated because he wasn’t picking up the slack anywhere around the house. But somewhere in between giving him a break, and figuring out how to live our lives, I made things too easy for him.

This time around? He will get a break. But only just long enough for him to get used to being back home again. Which leads us to lesson number 3!

Lesson #3: Decide who gets to do what Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very independant person. I like doing things by myself. As I mentioned before, I had also lived by myself for quite some time before moving in with my now husband, so when he came back, giving up any sort of responsibility was difficult for me. On top of that, I had 15 months of living in our current place by myself. My ways, my routines, they were set!

Give yourself a couple of weeks, and then sit down with each other and come up with a plan. It may seem silly, but if you’re a newlywed, and don’t have a lot of experience living together, then some of these things may not have been determined pre-deployment.

I wish we had done this last time, and we will definitely be doing it this time. Again, come up with a plan. Sit down and say ok, who wants to take over the bills, who wants to do the grocery shopping, who wants to do what when it comes to housework and yard work. It may seem silly at first [think gold star on your chore list that’s posted on the fridge!], and it will more than likely change as you guys get into your groove and settle back into being a couple, but it will make him feel more like he’s a part of it all here again, and will also take some of the stress of you and keep you from feeling like you are doing it all.

Lesson #4: Make Weekly Date Nights One of the hardest things in the beginning of the deployment is coming up with a new routine. When the deployments start, we wonder how we’re going to get through it. The loneliness sets in, and the routine that we used to have as a couple is now a routine you do by yourself.

But, eventually, we all get through it. And we develop our own routine. And honestly, they do, too. It can be very easy to stick to those routines when they come back, and forget that you’re supposed to be doing things together. So make sure that you set a weekly date night to spend some time with each other. Do something special. Or just sit at home and talk. Something that is different from BOTH of your routines, and something that you can do to together. The time you spend with each other, readjusting and relearning, will be well worth it.

Lesson #5: Cut YOURSELF Some Slack We’re supposed to be Super Woman while he’s away. Able to do it all. Live our lives AND their lives. He’s home now. You don’t have to be Super Woman anymore. Give YOURSELF a break once in a while, too. Reintegration is hard. Or at least it can be. So when you get frustrated, and things aren’t going the way that you had hoped, just remember it’s probably frustrating for him, too. Take a breath, step back, and remember that eventually, things will get back to normal. Or at least a new normal. It may not be the “normal” that you had pre-deployment, but it will get easier.

Plain & simple, don’t be too hard on yourself.

I hope this series helps out other newlyweds like myself. I’ve said it before, that these are my experiences, and every body’s will be different. And while I painted a lot of grim in all of this, there were a lot of good times, too. But who wants to hear about those?? We want to know that other people are going through the same things that we’re going through. So chin up, ladies!

You can do it! šŸ™‚

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

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