Keeping relationships strong during deployments

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Frances Locquiao
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Deployments can put a strain on relationships for many couples. Despite hardships, many have managed to keep relationships strong during deployments.

"During a deployment, couples must remain grounded with each other," said Master Sgt. Rachael Clark, Health and Wellness Center health promotions flight chief. "Communication is one of the most important ingredients in keeping it strong."

Sergeant Clark's husband, Master Sgt. James Clark, 23rd Aeromedical-Dental Squadron flight chief, is currently deployed to Southwest Asia serving his fifth deployment.

"When I do get a chance to talk with my husband, we concentrate on the good things and enjoy our conversations," she said. "Even though we're miles apart, I want him to feel wanted and loved."

Michelle Turner's husband, Senior Airman Jeremy Turner, 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is currently deployed to Africa serving his second deployment. She also said communication is vital during deployments.

"My husband and I talk to each other almost every day," Mrs. Turner said. "Keeping an open line of communication allows us to be more understanding of each other.

"It's always good to hear what happened to him each day and that he's safe," she said. "It also makes him happy to know what's happening at home. It's very important to listen to each other."

Mrs. Turner said it's best to focus on the good rather than the bad.

"The biggest mistake couples make is they look at deployments in a negative way," she said. "I look at it as a part of my husband's job being in the military and serving our country. I have learned to understand it's what he has to do, and we all have to make sacrifices."

The thought of his homecoming is what really motivates me to stay optimistic, she added.

Sergeant Clark also viewed deployments in a positive light.

"Deployments can be an opportunity for couples to strengthen their marriage," she said. "If couples can make it work during deployments, then they can make their relationship last."

In addition to communication, establishing a solid relationship requires effort from both husband and wife. 

"Some individuals don't bother to go the extra step and stretch a bit to keep the relationship going," said Sergeant Clark. "That's why it's a good idea to put forth extra effort to show you care such as sending a care package or a simple greeting card and try to do a favor for your spouse when they ask.

"In return, they'll see how much you understand and care about their situation," she added. "My husband also understands that I have to fill in his shoes while he's gone."

Though Sergeant Clark and Mrs. Turner share common attitudes toward deployments, both agreed everyone has a different approach to making relationships work.

"I can tell people what works for me, but it really depends on each couple and what makes them happy," said Sergeant Clark.

"All I can say is, I couldn't have done it without the support from my family and friends," she said. "They also play a big part in making light of the situation."