Friday, March 11, 2016

Dear Military Spouse: The Comparison Game

Every deployment is different. It's often hard to remember that but it's definitely important to remember. Just like no two people are the same, no two deployments are ever the same either. This is why it's never a good idea to play the comparison game during a deployment.

Dear Military Spouse,

I wanted to share a little secret with you today. It's something that I learned a couple of deployments ago and still struggle with today. It's the fact that no two deployments are the same.

When the husband first deployed with his current unit, it was rough. We were living on opposite coasts and our communication was being cut even more. Not to mention the fact that he was new to his ship and spent most of his time learning new things. We hardly ever talked. It was rough.

When the next deployment rolled around, I geared myself up for the same sort of communication pattern. I mentally prepared for the lulls and silences that can come with deployment. They were few and far between. I just assumed it was due to the fact that my husband was no longer new to the boat.

I was wrong. The third deployment is the one that truly opened me up to the fact that no two deployments are the same. The third deployment fell somewhere between the first two in terms of communication. It was a bit hard after being more spoiled during the second deployment.

My husband's boat typically visits the same region of the world and does similar things while they are there. In theory, it sounds like the deployments should sound and look the same. They don't though because there's this special thing called life that makes each one different. Life isn't predictable and therefore neither are deployments.

Just like no two deployments are the same, neither are any two people. I figured I would enjoy talking to the other boat spouses when they are gone because they are in the same place of me. While I do enjoy their company, I have learned that there's one topic I prefer to avoid - the current deployment.

Why do I prefer to avoid the topic of the current deployment?

Because it has a nasty way of leading to the comparison game.

Even if you don't mean to, you find yourself comparing things along the way. Oh, her husband contacts her multiple times a day. Oh, she heard this about the deployment. Sometimes the comparisons are just an internal battle in your head but they do have the potential to lead to bigger external battles.

I'm not saying don't talk about the deployment and how you feel. You know I'm a big supporter of real talk. I'm simply saying proceed with caution when the topic comes up.

Before I let you get back to your day, I want to give you one simple piece of advice. Keep in mind that just because it's simple doesn't mean it's an easy piece of advice to follow. Don't compare the current deployment to any other deployment, including ones from the past and stories from your friends. Simply take it as it is and move forward one day at a time.

Much love,
The Coastie Wife

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! It can be so hard to compare your life to someone else's, especially in the military where everything seems so, well, military.
    You guys must be rock stars to go through 3 deployments!
    Also, I am so glad my husband is stationed about an hour away from post, where I am in the loop but also out of the loop.