6 Ways to Save Your Marriage During Deployment

****This post is part of the series Real Army Wives on storiesofourboys.com. This series chronicles the story of our first deployment, back in 2003.****

Once Alan had been gone for 6 months, and we were finally able to communicate regularly, we found that we began to bicker–even from continents away. We were having newlywed problems, whether we were together or not.

Alan was anxious to move us forward towards our goals in the U.S., yet he was stuck in a combat zone, feeling powerless to affect change. He wanted me to go out and buy a $70,000 house. Plus, he thought I should move us in there by myself so we could start building equity……I was like, “Heck no, I won’t go..”

I wanted him to call more. He gave me the actual reasons he couldn’t.

I was disappointed that he hadn’t had a family member send me an anniversary gift.

Granted, my expectations were HIGH, and he was never one to sugar-coat a single thing…..so we had issues….

an Iraqi flag Alan sent me in a package

On October, 1, 2003, I wrote him out this list, half-joking, half-serious, to lay out all of my expectations and avoid further arguments…


So here’s a guide for you– to save your marriage and prevent further fights.

{Alan may not have enjoyed reading this, but at least he knew how to not upset me going forward, which made for a better marriage relationship.}

Keep this in mind if your spouse deploys! It may help you! And you may even be able to say it with less sass than I did, and it would sound downright sweet…

#1. Call me every chance you get, BUT if you decide not to because….

a.) You think it’s not a good time.

b.) You don’t want to wait in line.

c.) You’re cheap.


d.) You want to let other people call their families…

Fine, but you NEVER should tell me these excuses. Keep them to yourself. Don’t tell me you purposefully didn’t call! Especially for the above excuses which DO NOT help.


#2. Mid-Tour Leave– Yes, of course you want to take it.

ALL you care about is seeing your wife ASAP. You would do anything to get to see her. It doesn’t matter that you have to go back to Iraq. Even for a day with me, you’d do anything.

#3.) Pictures: Never return pictures I send to you.

How would you feel if you mailed me a picture of yourself that you thought was good-looking, and I just mailed it right back to you? HELLLOOOO!

#4.) Please record all tapes to me when your roommate is not in the room.

….This was very much a 2003 problem. We recorded each other cassette tapes. Nowadays this advice would apply more to phone calls.

For at least half of the tape, please be alone. Otherwise, you are way too official and business like, and there’s nothing mushy on the whole tape. Yuck. I hate getting business tapes about money, etc.  I just want you to be absorbed in me the person, not me the dependent.


#5.) All holiday and special occasions should be accompanied by a gift OR flowers.

Being apart does not take away your responsibility to make me feel special. For example, everyone else’s husbands arranged for them to get flowers on their anniversaries and/or birthdays. Don’t give me that crap about you can’t because you can.

Here’s how:

1- You arrange it when you have internet access.

2- Otherwise, you write a family member (i.e. parents) and ask them to send me something specific and reimburse them with a check. You have checks.

#6.) What qualifies as a holiday?

Anniversary, Birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day


That’s all I can think of right now….I know you probably feel a little offended that I made you this list, but I’m just sparing us future fights by alerting you to my expectations of you as my husband.

I hope this doesn’t sound harsh. I’m not trying to sound harsh. I just don’t want to have to cry all the way to Sea World like I did the other weekend because there are some things you simply don’t understand.

Now I do realize that I’ve been guilty of the same thing, so see, I’m working on it.

My tapes have since been VERY sweet and the last one was even rated R. {Note to self, destroy all tapes.} Plus, I have increased your packages and refrained from reacting quickly to things that you say that I hope you don’t mean.



No long deployment is going to happen without some disagreements. We all just have to do our best to be understanding and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, I think this list was a big help, especially since it was the FIRST year of our marriage!









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