As submariner spouses, we know that deployment not only means the absence of our spouse – it also means the absence of regular communication.
Unlike other branches of the military, during deployment submariners don’t have access to common forms of connecting with loved ones (ie: phone calls, social media, video chat, snail mail, etc). Sure, they may have the infrequent mail drop or port call to get a letter/call off to their family, but those opportunities are few and far between (if at all). Typically we rely on emails and family grams as our lifeline of communication during those long deployments – and let’s be real…it’s hard! I’m definitely guilty of refreshing my email 10 times a day knowing quite well that an email is not going to be coming through that day.
As part of pre-deployment preparation, many of us put together halfway boxes for our spouses to open during their deployment. Some of us even write letters to shove into their seabag so they can open notes from home along the way. BUT don’t forget to remind your spouse that you too could use some pre-planned communication and loving reminders to help raise your spirits along the way!
Here are some simple ideas to share with your sailor in case they need a little inspiration:
Hide sticky-notes around the house with little messages for your partner (or kids!) to find.
This is something quick and easy to put together – but the sentiment goes a long way! Stick these notes on the bathroom mirror, inside the pantry cupboard, in the dresser, inside a pair of shoes…get creative. There is nothing better than randomly coming across a little note that says “Hey my love, you got this! I love & miss you!”
Write pre-addressed & pre-stamped letters/cards to have sent to your partner.
Perhaps you have a friend or family member that could drop these in the mail near dates like a birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc. OR you can always just leave them at home and write a date on the front for when each should be opened! Some of the best cards to leave behind are “Open When” letters. For example “Open when Murphy’s Law strikes!”, “Open when you miss me”, “Open when you need a good laugh” etc.
Order flowers to be delivered on a special day.
Local flower shops will have your back when it comes to getting a pretty bouquet delivered to your spouse! Perhaps on a birthday, anniversary or even better – just because.
Leave videos or voice recordings on your spouse’s phone for them to listen to.
These can be short and sweet! “Happy Anniversary Babe! I’m thinking about you today, we’ll celebrate in person when I’m back!”, “Happy Birthday – treat yourself to your favorite take-out tonight and have a drink for me!”, “Hope you had a good day, I know deployments suck but hang in there! Each day is one day closer to homecoming!”
So go ahead, share these ideas with your sailor! Let’s be honest; sometimes our spouses could use a little creative guidance when the demands of the boat are dominating their brains!
It can feel weird dropping hints, but just be honest and say “Hey, I’m going to miss you so much and would love if you left behind a few messages for me to read throughout your deployment.” You’re a submarine spouse so you’re already tough as nails…but you deserve all the extra love and encouragement you can get!