ACI’s Marketing Project Coordinator extraordinaire, Stephanie Savoian, weighs in with a civilian perspective for this installment of Veteran Connection. In a committed relationship with an active duty serviceman, Stephanie is no stranger to dealing with deployments that can last many months at a time. Here are Stephanie’s tips for keeping communication strong and sanity maintained through these difficult times.
Healthy relationships are supported by the building blocks of trust and communication, and even more so for long-distance relationships. Military long-distance, especially during deployments, can test this the most. Besides the typical challenges of a long-distance relationship, the military environment can bring with it additional restrictions like long or unusual work hours, cell phone-banned buildings, and potentially dangerous locales. How do you focus on communication when there might be hours or days without even phone contact? Here are some tips I’ve found that help keep communication strong.
iPhone iMessages via WiFi connection are free
An affordable way to text as if your partner wasn’t deployed.
FaceTime and Skype via WiFi are also free
If it’s an option, make a point at least once or twice a week to FaceTime or Skype to see each other via digital face-to-face time. Be sure to rotate schedules with the time difference so that not only one person is shouldering the challenge of waking up at an absurd time of day.
Make a point to communicate every day
Whether it’s an email, iMessage or even a missed FaceTime, the thought that the effort was made to reach out daily is appreciated.
Snail mail care packages “make deployments go round”
This is an actual quote I’ve heard from my friend’s fiancé! The most popular standard care package items include:
- Favorite Candy and Snacks
- Favorite Magazines
- Crystal Light/Gatorade packets to mix in water
- Workout Gear or Accessories (there is usually ample time to work out while on deployments)
- iTunes gift card for books/music
- Vitamin C supplements and cold prevention items like Emergen-C and Airborne
Packages are fun to customize by the holiday, or month
Pinterest has no shortage of package ideas. In March, make all items in the package green for St. Patty’s, or for Superbowl, send a stadium-food themed package with chips, nacho cheese, cracker jacks, etc.
Most bases world-wide have Exchange stores
At these stores, essentials like toiletries and snacks can be purchased. Universal gift cards for these exchanges can be purchased here and sent to deployed service men and women directly: https://www.shopmyexchange.com/scs
Looking for more advice and resources for servicemembers, veterans, and family? Visit Veteran-Connection.com for support.