Military deployments separate spouses, children and friends from one another.
It can be difficult for some to imagine what it must be like to be married to someone in military and having to deal with spending time apart such as during military deployments. You may wonder what you can do to demonstrate your support to a friend who is going through a separation due to their husband’s deployment. What should you say? How should you act? Should you mention your friend’s husband or wait for the subject to be brought up?
Everyone needs to shop to live, but for some military spouses, they find that the absence of their husbands has given them even less of an inclination to shop for the necessities so that they can fix a meal for themselves. If that is how your friend feels, why not offer to go shopping with her? Encourage her to take care of herself rather than wallow in self-pity. Shopping alone is daunting for many women, which is why a companion at this time can be of so much help. Don’t just leave it at that. Stop over your friend’s house afterwards or invite her back to your home where you can enjoy lunch together on a Saturday or Sunday.
Call Me – When?
Many well meaning friends will offer the vague “call me if you need anything” speech to a friend whose husband has been deployed. But this does not really offer true comfort or support to those who need it. A better way to offer support is to be more specific and mention that you are always free on Saturday mornings to get together for a chat and some girlie time together and that you would love it if your friend joined you and your family as you attend the fair next week. Many friends are reluctant to call if they have only a vague invitation to do so. But if specific plans are mentioned, then your friend may feel more inclined to pick up the phone and take you up on your offer.
One of the challenges that military spouses face during their spouse’s deployment is dealing with unexpected problems that arise such as plumbing problems around the home or car troubles. Unless your friend is a plumber or a mechanic, she may be bewildered about the problems she is having and not know where to turn to for help. But do you or your husband have any expertise in D-I-Y projects or cars? If so, make sure that you mention this in advance so that once your friend’s husband has deployed, she will not feel truly “alone” if any problems come up and she will know where to turn to for help.
A friend whose husband has been deployed does not want to receive a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and nothing else for months on end from her friends. She will need companionship at times when she is feeling lonely and she may even need practical assistance if any problems arise that she cannot cope with alone.