Military life is full of ups and downs and its incredibly hard to understand unless you have lived it yourself. But there are still ways that you can support a family during deployment.
Ways to support a military spouse/family during deployment:
- Try to anticipate the ups and downs. The first week/month is typically the hardest. But deployment is a roller coaster so show up. Offer to take them out to dinner or plan a girls trip. Try showing up on their door step with a pizza or just sit with them. Keep them company. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
- Don’t mistake their strength and resiliency as them not needing your help. We need you but we don’t always know how to say it.
- Help them love on their deployed spouse. Offer to write the military member notes and to send them care packages.
- Don’t underestimate the little gestures. Send them flowers, write them a card, text or bake them cookies.
- Listen! Sometimes we just need someone to talk to, to express how we are feeling and what our concerns are. Actively listen to our concerns and challenges. Empathize, without trying to understand it. It’s likely you can’t or won’t fully understand it.
- Travel to them. The military sends families to all corners of the earth, its nice to have a familiar face close by.
- Help them with house chores or accomplish different goals. They are on their own. Things can stack up. If you notice they need help don’t be afraid to offer it.
- Offer to babysit, so they can have some time off or so they can have a girls night.
- Plan a trip with them. Give them something fun to look forward to. Something that helps them take their minds off things.
- Just sit with them. Sometimes they just need company and don’t want to ask for it. They just need someone to sit with them while they watch TV, read a book, work in a coffee shop.
- Set up a weekly or daily activity. Like walking together in the morning or a girls night out. Get them out of the house!
There is no right or wrong way to be there for your friend. Don’t over think it or stay quite out of fear of saying the wrong thing! Show up because I promise we need you.