We are all storytellers with a story to tell. For over 27,000 years, since the discovery of the first cave paintings, humans have been sharing stories. They are the thread that connects us as human beings. And the secret weapon for military families for bridging the miles during times apart.
Reminiscing shared stories together reinforces that “connected feeling”. It has a way of saying “This is who we are, together, in the world, this is our military love story!”. As you face the long-term separations and deployments ahead, use the following tips to keep the lines of communication open and help bridge the miles apart:
Mind Your Memories
Much like a modern-day computer, our brains store memories in a system of files and folders. Stories act as the folders for our memories by connecting and grouping them together. Making it possible to retrieve information from our brains when needed. Our sense-of-self is the self-narrative or story we use to piece together the memories we’ve collected and the emotions we’ve assigned to those memories.
Remember when you and your spouse first met. Does it bring a smile to your face and a warm feeling inside to think of those times? Thinking back to fond memories make us feel good and research has shown that traveling down memory lane together brings couples closer, creates a greater sense of self-worth and can contribute to a brighter outlook on the future.
Author Your Story
Our stories play a central role in sustaining healthy relationships with and among military service members and their families. The strength to hold it together in the face of danger and endure time apart during deployment comes from a solid sense of who you are, who you want to be and how it all fits together into your shared vision for the future.
Think empowerment. Take charge and safeguard your mental and physical well-being. Remain flexible, nurture your self-worth and give yourself room to bloom. Seize every opportunity to take advantage of the educational resources that the military has to offer. Equip yourself with new skills and stabilization in new routines, skills, lifestyles, and self-care activities.
Journal The Memories
Keep a journal on hand and fill it full of short recaps of your fondest memories and thoughts. When it comes to filling your journal, there are no rules: Journal your good memories in snippets or write them out. Either way, include the sensory details that made the moment special.
- Favorite time spent together…
- The biggest challenge overcome together…
- Funniest family moment together…
- What kinds of feelings do you associate with your home?
- Scariest experience together…
- Your biggest accomplishment together…
- Most inspired moment together…
Keep the lines of communication open and honest. Don’t bottle it up during deployment or you run the risk of losing your cool and having it come out as resentment or blame.
Even if you talk, email, Skype or FaceTime regularly, it doesn’t guarantee that you will both be able to open up and really share your feelings. Discuss expectations for communication —and hopes for deployment. Having a good communication plan will help align expectations and lessen miscommunications during the deployment.
Hold The Phone
Phone calls from the front-lines to the homefront are precious. If you feel the conversation heading towards a dark place emotionally, grab your journal of good memories and begin sharing. A simple “Remember when…” can save the discussion. This can be helpful for times when your soldier does not have much to say. Rather than making it about you and taking it personally, share a page or two from the journal.
Don’t Forget To Write
Letters are priceless during deployment. There is something so heart- warming about a handwritten note. It is tangible and holdable. It can be tucked away in a pocket, under a pillow and revisited again and again. Share a memory from your journal, include a memento or photo with the letter, seal it with a kiss and mail.
You Have A Military Love Story & We Want To Hear It!
Military Love Story: The Brit And The U.S. Army Combat Medic
Military Parents Experience New Model For College Education
You Served – Now Make Linkedin SERVE You!
The Journey Back -Preparing For Transition
Online Certificate Programs Help Close U.S. Skills Gap