Service member on video chat with family.

Deployment Planning: Your Relationship Checklist

Have a deployment in your future? This is where you and your partner team up for relationship resilience. Plan, trust, communicate—and be confident you're ready to support your partner and keep your long-distance relationship strong.

Make a family plan.

Separations mean preparation, and making a family plan is one of the most important ways to get ready. Talk about out how you'll handle life and situations that can come up when you're apart:

  • Emergencies and parenting issues: How will you handle them? For example, who will be the back-up emergency contact person if the at-home parent can't be reached?
  • Finances: Who will take the responsibility for household expenses and large expenditures?
  • Communicating: How will you stay in touch during separations? What contact is possible? What's comfortable?
  • Get your support in place: Identify your support network.
  • Check "Plan My Deployment," an online resource for deployments from mobilization to reintegration.

The operative word is trust.

Trust is always important in relationships, but it's crucial when you're apart—it's the best way to help your partner feel strong and able to focus on the job at hand. Try these tips for keeping both sides of the relationship secure as you head into separation.

  • Don't take each other for granted. Reminders of love, of missing them, thanks for what they're managing—on both sides of the relationship—these things are always, always appreciated.
  • Remember, you're both under stress. Respect each other and the jobs you have to do, and stay positive. Offer frequent praise, support, and encouragement.
  • Share the little stuff. Sharing daily happenings keeps your partner connected and builds trust in your relationship. Just remember that a deployed spouse may not be able to "share back" —and that's okay.

Keep the lines of communication open.

Sometimes there's no telling when or how you'll hear from a deployed partner, but there are things you can do on the home front.

  • Be patient. Trust that your partner will connect as soon as he or she can.
  • Do your best to express yourself clearly, no matter how you're communicating.
  • Keeping a lighthearted attitude can help make communications easier for both of you.
  • Keep security in mind. Remember that your service member may not always be able to share certain information with you.
  • Be creative. Hey, it's email! You can attach kids' artwork and photos, record video messages, scan articles from the local paper.
  • Explore technologies and adapt. Chat and Skype are great, but your deployed partner could be severely limited in the ways he or she can communicate—or afford to. Look for alternative ways to stay in touch.
  • Using the mail? There may be mail restrictions. Check out the U.S. Postal Service website for restrictions and regulations specific to the address or location, or visit the Military Postal Service Agency website.

A solid plan. A healthy dose of trust. Open communication. While deployment's never easy and everyone's different, these three things can take your relationship a long way.

P.S. Need extra support or help? Reach out. There's an entire military community here to help you power through the challenges. Remember, Military OneSource is here for you 24/7, with advice, resources and confidential support.