Happy last week of un-official summer… There has been a lot of talk around here about “communicating”. Why is it such a hard thing to nail down?
So much discussion about the “best way” to communicate when an active duty member deploys, reintegrates, (or being honest) living the day to day.
We always hear: Give them time.., Date your spouse!, or my favorite… just talk to them 😱. But let’s be real…. When sometimes you are feeling like you live on two different planets or always different tasks at hand, it can be difficult to figure out what to communicate, let alone how.
I know for me, I have a difficult time trying to ask for help, because I’ve done a lot of things on my own while hubs was underway-deployed-definitely not here.. So figuring out how to ask someone to help is hard, when sometimes I could just do it myself. But what we found is that something was lacking. We weren’t on the same wavelength. I knew we loved each other— so this should be easy right? HA. (sorry that was outloud) It takes work. But there are a few simple, actionable steps you can take to keep that connection and communication alive (even if you aren’t military).
Bonus points: You can add in your family to these also!
1. Talk nights
This is probably one of my favorites. I am a doer… so this helps me slow down a bit, and just DREAM! What are the things we want in life? What are we grateful for? What do we LOVE (or maybe just like) about where we live? What is the bucket list that you have here?
Put it on the calendar, order a pizza and get your fav beverage — turn all the electronics off and away. And just dream away! If you want extra credit – you can put small steps towards one of those dreams (schedule a family day, save for that perfect vacation). In an ideal world, this would be great every week.. but if you get it on the calendar, and just enjoy dreaming, this is a win! Acknowledging what you are grateful, in what you have will always help you dream bigger, and love whatcha got!
2. Hard no or Expectations
Have you ever noticed that you know what you like, because you saw what you didn’t?? It is also much easier for your loved ones to know what you love and don’t love about a situation, or in general. For example, as a mom, we have a no food in the living room rule. Hard no. My kids like to iiiiiiiiiiinch their way to the living room, I will give them a warning, but as long as they don’t cross that threshold into the room, I let it slide. Picture… pizza in the doorway 🙈🤣
This also works with your marriage and relationships. In 3 years, my husband was deployed almost 75% of the time. Like a constant in and out. I set the expectation with him, that when he comes home, he gets the kids. I get to go out and run errands, spend time with him, but I drew the line that parties by himself or going out and around the first week he was back was my hard no. After that, HAVE FUN! But it was a very trying season for our family (like a 1 year old and 3 year old, I worked full-time and no family around)…. I needed to feel support, and to be able to let loose myself, to get back into the mom and wife mode as soon as he came home. He understood, and we found our rhythm. And we realized that I/we/us needed this, because after a few rounds of him in and out, I would be all surprised because I hadn’t slept in weeks and was yelling a whole lot! And he felt like he wasn’t jiving with the kids.
To sum it up, it is vocalizing your expectations of situations. And figuring out how to respect what every person needs.
3. Simple activities or questions
Activities to continue connection. This could be playing cards, going for a walk, going shopping, make dinner together. Do an activity together, do it because you want to be together hanging out, and spending time together! I know once I am intentional with how the activities on the calendar, there is less need to worry about the small stuff – and just enjoy each other. And bonus, you tend to talk during these activities! HURRAY! 🎉 So really more action – more communication- more love.
If you aren’t sure on how to continue this with the kids, (ahem.. I didn’t) you can head over to the Deployment Support Deck, here. 53 simple questions and activities that can help you start conversations with your family (even if your Active Duty family is here!) Just start. You know your family the best.
I PROMISE, if you can take action on one of these steps consistently over a few weeks, you will see improvements! Respond back if you tried these, or post about your experience and tag @EverAnchored on social media!
I also was on the MilHousing Nation Podcast last week, talking about Relationship Management! If you want to hear more about this, head-on over to the podcast! Listen here.
I hope you have an amazing long weekend, and hope these simple, actionable steps help you on your way to amazing communication!