Romancing the Ever-Absent Military Member

love heart lock socialMy husband is one of the many military members with a frequent TDY schedule. In the 7 months, we have lived at our current base, he’s had 9 TDYs.

This isn’t the first job he has had with a schedule like this.

At bases where he is not TDY a lot, his hours are long—12-14 hours at the base, and then answering e-mails on his blackberry when he is home. It was hard for me to accept this schedule and its effect on time I spend with the man I consider to be my best friend. But after almost 10 years of marriage, I have learned a few tricks for keeping a romantic connection with an unpredictable schedule.

4 Ways to Keep the Romantic Connection Alive With Your Spouse

1. Dates can be taken any time of day
We have started taking dates while Science Kid is at public school and Word Boy is at preschool. Sometimes Jag takes a day off to be able to do this with me and sometimes we take advantage of his unpredictable work schedule which occasionally results in a down day on a week day. We also do date nights after the boys go to bed, as well as the occasional weekend night date night.

2. Keep common interests
Jag and I agree on all TV shows we watch and watch them together. Sometimes it means we watch a series I have more interest in than he does or visa versa. We try to watch the shows together, but when he is deployed or TDY for a long time have agreed to watch an episode on the same day, so we have something about which to talk. This helps ensure not all of our conversations are about the kids, household maintenance, or the military.

3. Keep separate interests
I am an introvert and love spending quiet time at the house. Jag is an extrovert and loves getting together with others. Golfing with friends or watching sports with friends is good for Jag and good for our relationship. I love hearing the stories he tells when he comes home. Likewise, I enjoy reading, book clubs, and BUNCO nights with girl friends. The time apart always adds to the relationship.

4. Speak and think positively about your spouse
Sometimes it is hard to remember the positive when they are gone so much and you are left behind doing the work of two people. Trust me! I have had my moments of anger at Jag, at the military, at his work. His work ethic will never change, and it something I love about him. At every base, there will be too many TDYs, hours that are too long, overnight exercises. I found that by changing how I think about my husband, I can feel more enjoyment of the situation. It has taken me a long time to reach this point, so I will not pretend it is easy but it has made a world of difference for me.

How do you keep your connection with your military spouse that is away too much?

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