Returning home from a military deployment is very difficult. Thankfully, my wife and sweetheart recognized my struggle. As I spoke with military friends they told me of similar adjustment problems. After months of serious thought, my conclusion was this: In a war zone, every soldier is confronted with danger and faces the reality that any given day may be his or her last. When a soldier comes home, the danger is gone but the spotlight on the importance of life remains. Hence, he or she is confronted with the trivial nature of our day-to-day lives and the improper focus on the temporal self-centered world.
In addition to the soldier adjusting to everyday life, the family must also adjust to the soldier. While the husband was gone, the wife became the principal decision maker for family expenses and for guidance and discipline. With the sudden influx of an additional leader, the spouse and the children become confused and struggle returning to pre-deployment status. Consider the following suggestions to help the family during this adjustment period:
Accept the fact that an adjustment is necessary
Do not deny the problem. You and your family have changed because of the deployment and separation.
Bring the family together for discussions
Everyone in the family — even the small children — should be invited to talk about the new situation and how everyone should respond to the future.
Take time to listen to your spouse and make a plan
A friend, whose husband had returned from deployment, put it this way: "The couple should clean and organize a room together." What a fantastic idea! A person caught up in such a project must stay, help, and listen. Other suggestions might be a short vacation, a time-consuming daily walk, or a long delayed project in the yard.
Invite other people into your life — don't go it alone
Brothers and sisters, church leaders, friends, neighbors, and community members will all be there for you. They will add more perspective to your point of view. Moreover, they love and appreciate the sacrifice of the whole family. They will help you and your family with the adjustment and you will feel their love.
While this adjustment time can be a hard transition for the whole family, it can bring families together even stronger than they were before when handled wisely.