Question from Reader:
“How do I get my husband to miss me!?”
Yes, this was a question asked. I have to be honest, I giggled when I read this. I kept picturing husbands walking out with their sea bags saying, “see ya later alligator” or something as cheesy and unattached. And then he would just leave for patrol without the long goodbyes and mushy love talk as if he wasn’t bothered that he was leaving and didn’t seem to miss his dear, loving wife!!
But, I took some time to think about it, and I believe that the question has nothing to do with the pre-deployment build up, but what is happening after the husband is deployed. . . Gosh I hope I’m right and that he isn’t skipping off to the boat whistling “In the Navy” by the Village People and just excited to “get underway”. In that case, I’ll have to write a whole other column.
Now to the serious stuff.
First, you have to try to comprehend why your husband is acting in a way that may come across as “not missing you”. Put yourself in your husband’s shoes. Your husband has to stay focused and do his job to the best of his ability. So, that he has no control over his life at home is enough to throw him off his game. Most sailors I have spoken with agree that they have to be able to stop thinking about home, just so they can focus on what is at hand. Their focus lies on getting home safely to you.
He sees that you are upset and that you don’t want him to go, but he knows that he must leave anyway. Of course he is missing you. Those feelings start before he ever steps foot on that boat.
So many wives feel “unloved” when they don’t receive the number of letters and emails that they would like. For some of their husbands, it just hurts too much to do these things too often. It’s survival mode. He loves you and it hurts. For the pain to stop, he has to control his thoughts. And the letters and pictures you send are great, but he has to know when to put them away.
Many of us need the connection to our husbands and to know that we are missed and that we are thought of. It is impossible for a wife to comprehend what a deployment is like, unless she herself has served. It’s hard for us to understand that they love us and have to put us aside to do their job. It sounds harsh, but when you put yourself in their shoes, you can imagine how difficult it really must be. Could you leave your husband and children for months at a time? Could you give up talking to your families? Friends? What about knowing that your spouse is going to have to deal with all the good and bad things alone? And remember, you have no control or comments on anything going on. Our husbands know that our lives go on without them. When I think about it, writing my spouse in an email would be one of the hardest things to do.
So, what is the answer? You want to know that your husband is missing you. You want to feel it. I believe that the most important thing you and your service member can do is talk before the deployment. Both should voice their expectations, wants, and needs. Ask questions. Deployments never really get easier. But after a few, you begin to adapt. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Just because you did things one way during a patrol, doesn’t mean you have to do it that way every patrol. Understand that deployments are not vacations. You husband is not out there tanning topside while in the Bahamas. Well, not normally. He is busy, which is one of the many reasons your contact may be far and few between. Be thankful. There was a time where there wasn’t email at all. GASP! Yeah, I know.
It’s hard not to feel selfish when thinking of things you want to ask of your sailor, but remember that you are in this together and there has to be a compromise. It is hard enough to be married without having to deal with deployments and separations. You are a team and if you need reassurance, let your husband know. Don’t assume he knows and expect things in return. You are only setting yourself up for disappointment. For me, it’s simple. I have talked to my husband and he knows exactly what I need from him to get through a deployment. And it works.
Now that we know that our husbands miss us, over the next two weeks I am going to list things to do for your husband and, things your husband can do for you! We’ll talk about half way night, care packages and what NOT to send! Including the question, “How do I take sexy pictures for my husband!?” Oh yeah, we are going there.
Do you have questions, comments, or topic ideas! I want to hear them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.