6 Thoughts on Adresssing Issues During Deployment
Your spouse is probably someone you have always confided in. They are your best friend. Naturally, you want to tell them everything that is going on in your life, but should you address issues going on in the homefront while they are overseas?
Contoversial, yes. Here are my thoughts and personal experience
Factors to consider
Ask their opinion pre-deployment and take this seriously. If your spouse wants to know any and all details you should probably tell them. When they get back and they are bombarded with tons of large issues, they might feel betrayed. They could feel offended you didn’t tell them when you had the opportunity to talk. They will also feel extremely overwhelmed since it is all revealed at once rather than over a course of time, giving them time to think.
Consider your spouses’ Personality type. Are they truley able to handle rough news even if they say they can. This can affect mission readiness and cause them to over think when they have limited distractions and activities.
Context of news is another factor to consider. If you are having trouble with utilities or maintenance, I would keep this to yourself until the issue is solved. This is something that you can totally handle yourself, or with the help of a friend/professional. I would advice that you do not reveal these types of issues because it will cause them anxiety about your well-being at home. You can, however, tell them after the fact and let them know how you handled it like a champ. This will give your spouse peace of mind that you can hold down the fort like a pro.
Communication breakdown: Save the arguments and bickering for the return. It is very hard to hear on the phone and so many word, even good words get twisted. Even saying “what, what?!” Can be perceived as yelling and then hurt feelings can get in the mix. You are both are likely to ruminate on a bad conversation or message during this time. It could be weeks to months before you talk next. Let’s keep the calls and messages loving.
For issues such as logistical problems I would avoid contacting him if possible. For some things he will need to know about. For example. he will need to know and help you when your hands are tied when you are having a problem with power of attorney, an issue with the bank or insurance company that your POA does not cover. Some companies require special POA’s that the general POA’s do not cover. At this point, he will have to go down to admin and scan you a PDF of whatever you need.
I am just speaking from my experience, husband’s MOS, and rank at the time. The decision will also fall on the command. The last resort of conveying an issue is calling the American Red Cross if you have an absolute emergency and you need your spouse to come back ASAP. This service should not be abused because you miss them and you want them back home. Remember that they are out there to complete a mission and their presence is highly needed. If you suffer from chronic pain & fatigue as I do/ did and was in the hospital many times I was unable to contact the ARC. Instead,I contacted the Family Readiness Officer. She or he will find volunteers or resources to help you out (make meals. get the kids to school etc.). It does not qualify a call to the Red Cross even if you are unable to care for yourself or your child(ren). This is what emergency contacts are for. If you contact the ARC for something that does not qualify, your spouse will end up getting negative counseling from the command. This might go on record, and even if it doesn’t, it is not good for reputation because it makes you look unprepared. This is harsh, but you may call the American Red Cross if you are dying or expected to with in a couple of weeks, your child is critically injured, dying or expected to die, or a parent expected to die within a few weeks/ just died (maybe and depending on command). They might send him back for other reasons such as a long-term miscarriage but most likely not when this happened to a family on the deployment.
No matter how prepared you are during pre-deployment, issues are likely to arise- especially if it is your first deployment. I learned to pick my battles wisely. I stayed clear of arguments, I tried my best not to reveal any problems, but I had to tell him the severity of my health. Things went haywire when I did not have a proper POA for our insurance. I thought I had my own account, but it turns out I was under his. This was miscommunication between me and the insurance agency. So in the end, I saved my battles for revealing health issues, and resolving technical issues. Remember, leave room for your spouse to vent. They will want to talk to you and be open and calm to whatever they have to say.