My Deployment Valentine
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Whoever said," Absence makes the heart grow fonder," has obviously never been a military spouse and deserves a solid throat punch for creating a cliché that military spouses hear way too often, and occasionally use as a baseline for romantic connection. The truth is, absence isn't cute or eloquent or romantic, it is just.... absent. And while you may miss your spouse like crazy, and long for them desperately, absence doesn't always create a fondness between you and the one from which you are separated.
After 30 years of military marriage, you would think I would be a certified pro at staying connected with my deployment Valentine. The "Martha Stewart" of long-distance romance, so to speak. FALSE! Let me assure you - I am no master at the art romance with a deployment Valentine. Staying connected and feeling romantic during the "season of all things hearts and kisses" was hit or miss for me depending upon my own season of life. If you have three kids under the age of three, or a plate full of teenagers, guess what? You may not have the personal bandwidth to be creatively, Pinterest worthy romantic across the miles. Guess what? That is 100% okay! Give yourself grace for the season of life you are currently living. Some years I earned an "A" for everything " Adoration, Affection & Amore," and other years I earned an "F" for " I freaking hate hearts and flowers!" Hallmark has yet to create a realistic depiction of love during deployment cycles because no one knows how to write that story, even the authors in the business of the masterful love story. The reality is, we all do the best we can during our current moment. You have to give yourself some grace during this reminder season of all things "cutesy couples," and try to love yourself as well as your spouse. That love will look different from others, and that is 100% okay too.
So, how do you do that? How do you love you spouse, and yourself, from afar? First, remember - your spouse loves YOU. They are missing you and the best gift of all is sincere, transparent connection. Choose a book study for couples, one that cultivates your relationship. Yes, they may say they don't have time to read, but hello - that's why we have Audible - they can listen at some point during their day or night. Make the investment in each other and learn to speak their "love language" (The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts - Military Edition by Gary Chapman w/ Jocelynn Green). Write them an old-fashioned love letter. Send a copy of a movie that you both love and is a great reminder of a special moment shared. Send a photo montage from a special trip or vacation and remind them you will make new memories soon. As crazy as it may sound, The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick has a multitude of ideas on how to love someone well. Create an online journal for connecting, in which you both can respond back and forth. 101 Conversation Starters for Couples by Gary Chapman, has 101 writing prompts for you to utilize just to reconnect across the miles.
Deployments don’t have to be a romance killer – if the home guard can shift the perspective and attitude on long-distance romance, surrender any misconceived or unexpressed expectations, and step into connecting with a creative mindset – long-distance romance can be kindling to keep the home fires burning.