Active Military Life and Resiliency Skills

Pre-Deployment Checklist

  • Go on a family getaway/vacation prior to deployment and take lots of photos/video.
  • Talk about needs (e.g. bills, mechanic, insurance, etc.).
  • Make a list with payment dates for bills or set up automatic payments through your bank.
  • Ensure bills/accounts are in both spouses' names.
  • Prepare preaddressed envelopes and postcards.
  • Discuss powers of attorney, wills, and other potential financial/legal issues.
  • Don't dwell on the upcoming deployment (i.e. don't deploy before you deploy!).
  • Attend a marriage conference/seminar or couples retreat.

During Deployment Checklist

  • Have packages from dad already prepared for the children to open mid-deployment or on special occasions. Hide them for added fun!
  • Let each child have an individual communication time with deployed parent (not just pass the phone around).
  • Non-deployed parent needs to spend individual time with each child (especially teens) to let them talk.
  • Don't totally avoid difficult topics (problems at home or school, etc.), but be careful to not over emphasize issue.
  • Record and send an audio cassette or CD.

Post Deployment Checklist

  • Don't rush - allow time to readjust.
  • Plan a warm reception.
  • Be patient even though you may feel disconnected (3-6 months or longer).
  • Don't take it personally if the returning spouse is different.
  • Share stories of good and bad times.
  • Listen, but don't push. Allow them to talk whenever they're willing.
  • Neither spouse should expect an immediate return to the pre-deployment state (i.e. "normal")
  • Attend a marriage conference together.

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