When my husband deployed for the first time I felt like our relationship had been put on pause.
We were newly married, and I couldn’t help but worry about how this distance so early in our relationship could cause rifts, miscommunication and distance between us personally.
What I learned from watching other couples though, is that deployment does not have to be a speed-bump in your relationship growth. Instead, military couples can use the season of deployment to explore their love in new and unique ways by intentionally dating one another during this season of separation. Even from a distance, and even with logistical challenges, it doesn’t have to be difficult!You can start right now! So I’m sharing my 8 favorite ways to date your spouse while they’re deployed!
Create Shared Open When Letters
You’ve probably heard of “Open When” letters. Usually you send them to your deployed spouse with instructions on when to open each one- a birthday, an anniversary, or a special moment. With “Shared” Open When Letters, you and your deployed spouse will each write letters to one another before deployment starts, and open them on the same days. So, on the first of the month (or whatever day you choose) you’ll get to have a shared experience of reading a special note from your long distance lover!
Play “Truth” or “Truth”
This date idea is great because you can play it from anywhere! Over skype, email, phone, or even by keeping an ongoing letter you and your spouse can take turns asking random questions about one another. Simply google “random questions for couples” and you’ll find an endless source of fun, deep, interesting and even a few naughty questions.
Send a SmileMail
Remember when you were first dating and you couldn’t help but do those little, thoughtful things that made your loved one smile? Deployment is a great time to put intentional focus on small (but powerful) ways to say “I Love You”. SmileMail is a simple app that lets you quickly create a customized card and sends it straight to your deployed partner. But here’s the kicker- the card includes your own photo AND a voice recording from you! So, when your partner opens the card they’ll see your favorite pic and hear your voice. What a beautiful surprise way to say “I Love You!”
Plan a “Move Night”
If your deployed spouse has access to decent Wi-Fi a Movie Date Night is a great option. First, send your spouse some Move Night-essentials like popcorn, cozy socks and a few other snacks. Then, choose a day that you will both watch the same movie and set a time for a video call once you’ve watched. Spend some time talking about the film to share:
what your favorite part was
what surprised you
which characters you couldn’t stand
and what you thought of the end.
Share a Journal
If your spouse has limited access to talk on the phone or via chat, consider using a shared journal to create some date time in your lives. Find a good quality journal (make sure it’s hardcover so that it stands up well to shipping multiple times) and take turns journaling during the deployment. Keep the journal for a few weeks, writing in it daily, then send it to your spouse so that they can read your entries and then fill it with their own before sending it back to you.
Write a Love Note
The chaos of a deployment can leave everyone feeling hectic and frazzled. So often, when we actually are able to spend time talking with our spouse, we end up focusing our conversation on the latest crisis or question we have- the sweet, kind words of love and affirmation that are so important for a healthy relationship can get lost in the midst of it all. Taking some time to write a beautiful, thoughtful love note will be a great way to let your deployed partner know that you’re thinking of them intentionally even when things get crazy.
Learn Something New Together
One of my favorite at-home date nights is taking a class together! Learning to do something new with one another (like cooking, or dancing, or photography) is a wonderful conversation starter and creates new connections with your partner that will last a lifetime. Deployment doesn’t have to derail this date! With your deployed spouse, choose something new that both of you can learn during the countdown. There are tons of youtube videos to help you do this for almost nothing! For instance:
Learn a new language
Learn to knit (send them the supplies!)
Learn to be a cell phone photographer- Learn to do yoga
Share a Pinterest Board
When your spouse is home, reminding them that they are loved can be as simple as q wink after they finish the dishes, a quick hug, a note on the kitchen counter. But the distance of deployment can make things more difficult. Sharing a pinterest board together is a great way to leave one another simple, random reminders of your love whenever you have a few seconds. Share a private board together, and when you have a minute during the day pin inspirational quotes, articles your partner would enjoy, or even photos of the two of you. Next time you log in, you’ll see what your loved one has left too!