44 Spouses Share Their Best Deployment Advice

There are so many wonderful things about the submarine community.  One thing I cherish most is meeting a diverse group of people living this same life.  We all have one thing in common- we love a submariner.  We are fortunate to meet amazing spouses who give great advice.  The mentorship I have received from other spouses has had such a positive impact on my life. 

I read a post the other day from a spouse who’s submariner was leaving on their first deployment and she needed some advice.  Without hesitation, informative and sincere comments rolled in.  I decided to start a thread asking spouses one thing they wish someone told them/ they knew before their submariner left on their first deployment or patrol.  The comments were fantastic.  I really wish I had done that before my spouse left for the first time.  

Here is what they said:

  1. Keep busy.

  2. Try new things.

  3. Ensure you have specific Power of Attorneys and they are all current.  Go to the base legal department and verify your POAs are sufficient.  

  4. Have multiple back ups for childcare.

  5. If you have kids, find a friend who doesn’t have kids (but loves kids) and invite them over once a week so you will have someone to cook for who will actually eat what you make.    

  6. Do not expect phone calls or emails. That way if it doesn’t happen, you aren’t disappointed.

  7. You are allowed to make plans and memories without your spouse.

  8. Give yourself grace.

  9. Start a new book, TV show, or devotional.  

  10. Start each day with a positive song or message.  

  11. Take notes of silly things your kid or animals do or say.

  12. Be patient.

  13. Pick one day a month to spoil yourself.

  14. Plan a fun activity halfway through that you/your kids/ your pets can look forward to. 

  15. Write cards, letters, and send surprises with your spouse to open underway.

  16. Set goals that you wouldn’t normally do if your spouse was around.

  17. Make little care packages to send with them- not just the halfway box.  

  18. Be kind to yourself.

  19. Homecoming is wonderful but there may be an adjustment period afterwards.

  20. Give your spouse some time to rest and adjust to being home when the boat returns.

  21. If you get family grams, don’t bother with full sentences.

  22. Focus on things you can enjoy or do a little more of while they are not around (i.e. binge romantic comedies).  

  23. Have something to look forward to while they are gone.

  24. If your submariner is trying to get qualified, they are very busy on deployment so they may not have time to write back.  

  25. Keep busy and the time will fly by.

  26. Have a major list of things you want to do or accomplish before they get back (i.e. reorganizing the closets/ gardening).

  27. Cook your way through a cookbook.

  28. Explore the duty station you live in- don’t be afraid to get out and do fun, new things.

  29. You can miss your spouse without being sad all the time.

  30. Avoid giving last minute gifts at the pier.

  31. Find your people- the ones who will support you, love you, and carry you when needed.

  32. Don’t pressure yourself to match your feelings to how you see others coping.

  33. Write “open when” cards and letters & put a heart on your calendar on the day they are supposed to open it.  Even if you can’t be with them, you know they’re getting a special “date” from you.  

  34. Make sure you know where the water/gas shut off valve is in your home.  

  35. Make friends and ask questions. Those special bonds you make with friends during a deployment and beyond last a lifetime.  

  36. Schedule specific things in the first few weeks that force you to leave the house.  

  37. Plan meals that you normally don’t prepare because your spouse doesn’t like them.  

  38. If you have kids, have your spouse video record themselves reading books or singing songs to show them later.  Make it part of the bedtime routine.  

  39. Do recordable story books from Hallmark.

  40. Be prepared to receive one line emails.  

  41. Date your emails because they can be received out of order.  

  42. Even if you aren’t receiving responses to your emails, keep sending them. They may have just enough time to read them but no time to respond.

  43. Send personal hygiene wipes for when there are no showers.  

  44. Make sure you know all the passwords for online banking, credit cards, etc.  

Anything you would like to add?  I would like to thank all the sub spouses who offered this advice. For more deployment resources, check out our ultimate pre-deployment check-list, how to prepare your children, self help tips and more.

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