Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Deployment as Couples Therapy

Deployment is the best couples therapy. Honestly. Know that saying: “Don't sweat the small stuff?” When your partner is deployed, you really get a sense of what is important. What it absolutely vital in a relationship, and you are able to identify the small stuff pretty quickly. And also like the saying says: ...”And it's all small stuff.”

Your relationship is bare-bones, down to pure verbal or written communication. There is no more movie dates, no more physical contact, no more daily chatter, none of all the fun stuff. Nothing to distract you from the essence. This is make it or break it time.

And when you are reunited, you realize that everything else is just whipped cream and cherries on top. Suddenly everything and all time spent together is seen as a wonderful luxury. Just sitting on the sofa watching TV together, or being able to yell from one room and hear the voice of the other from down the hall...pure bliss.

Also before he deployed, when I would go visit him, I would feel like we HAD to do something together, like go for a walk, go into town, see a movie, etc. Being together was something that had to be actively worked at. I would say that I have become less insecure about our relationship, because it was tested by the deployment and made it. Now, like mentioned above, just sitting together in the same apartment is considered "together time."

Conflict is dealt with a lot easier, too. You learn how to deal with conflict a lot better during a deployment, because you don't have a lot of time to communicate with your partner, and you want to resolve conflict as quickly as possible, because no matter what, you always have the nagging thought, that it could possibly be the last time you communicate with your loved one. You just don't have the luxury of dragging an argument out for as long as possible. Also, upon closer examination, most reasons of conflict fall under the “small stuff” category, and post deployment rarely make it to the conflict stage.

That is not to say that my boyfriend and I needed couples therapy before he left, however, I do think that our relationship actually benefited more from our separation, than was harmed. I personally definitely learned a lot of relationship tools.

I definitely learned to appreciate my boyfriend a lot more. All the things that would have potentially bothered me before, bother me less...or even make me smirk or smile. I am not saying I have become a connoisseur of my boyfriend's farts, but almost. If that it is the sweet smell of him being home, so be it.

(Cross-posted at ArmyWifeToddlerMom)


Blogger Liz said...

I love that and could totally relate.

Thanks for sharing :)

5:18 AM  
Blogger MQ said...

I have to throw the parenting factor into it. Your relationship when you're parents is much different than when you weren't, and then AGAIN when only one of you is and the other is missing the children like crazy. I know my job as mom and dad to our two boys for over a year now, has taken it's toll on me and I've been angry at him for it, even during the deployment, as unreasonable as that sounds. But you're so right about it being stripped to bare bones...and a little scary too, to see what that is :)

5:30 AM  
Blogger Billie said...

Your blog is so true. I've realized how much it takes soemtimes to work together to keep the feeling strong without the quality "inperson" time we're so used to getting. And you soon realize how important the time together really is!

I don't know what the reunited feeling is like :) Not yet anyway.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Umhakima said...

true, true and true. you certainly nailed this one! about being parents, when hubby was home, he was "afraid" to parent, since he was leaving again. wanted to be mr. fun, no discipline etc.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

so very true. thank you for stating it so eloquently.

8:20 AM  

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