Inside: If you’re feeling weird about homecoming, read these military homecoming tips and you’ll know everything really is normal. Or how to avoid the awkward altogether.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” he responded.
This is basically how the conversation went when my husband returned home from his first deployment. I couldn’t believe how overwhelmed with emotion I was. Butterflies were fluttering around my stomach.
I felt like I was going to puke.
I also felt like I wanted to click my heels and announce to the world that my husband was coming home.
When I saw him come off the bus, my tongue suddenly felt glued to the roof of my mouth. Of course I hugged him. But the only word that would squeeze past my lips was “Hi.”
It was awkward; I won’t lie. It’s not always easy when a military member returns from a deployment. All sorts of crazy things can happen.
1. You’re at a loss for words.
You suddenly don’t know what to say to your spouse because you’re so nervous. See above. It’s okay if the words won’t flow. They’ll eventually come, I promise.
It might take a few hours, but they’ll appear.
2. Or the opposite happens.
….and you vomit out words and can’t stop talking. My friend once told me she just couldn’t shut up. Her husband kept asking if she was drunk.
3. He’s confused.
Your husband seems confused that you totally redecorated the house and purchased new furniture. Sometimes to help cope with the distance, I would buy new things.
I never re-arranged anything, but I had friends that did. Their husbands came into the house and thought they entered the wrong one.
Me, I bought new couch pillows or end tables. Nothing big, and honestly, my husband didn’t even notice the pillows because he’s a dude. He did spot the end table, but only because he crashed into it.
“Where did this come from?” he wanted to know.
“Target,” I answered.
4. Then there’s the parenting together thing.
It’s okay to be weirded out if your spouse disciplines the kids. After all, you’ve been doing it alone for the past six or so months.
I remember my husband telling my daughter to “keep it down” and my first response was to say, “Excuse me, the noise doesn’t bother me, who do you think you are?” But then I realized, okay, he’s the dad, it’s his right. Relax.
5. You’re not sure who does what.
At the same time, if your husband doesn’t do much when he gets back, gently remind him that it’s okay. Some spouses might not want to step on any toes and will stay silent.
Or they’ll be feeling awkward and not knowing where their place is anymore.
6. Wait…what’s the routine?
You got into a routine when your spouse was gone but he or she might not realize it.
So if you walk past him carrying the trash and he’s all, “What are you doing? That’s my job!” gently remind him that hey, you did it all when he was gone. But then let him do it if he insists.
7. There’s new rules in the bedroom.
“Um, your leg is sort of on my side.” Oops! If one of the deployment perks is getting the bed to yourself, you might forget that you have to share again when they return.
I stretch out when my husband is gone and sometimes I forget that I have to share again.
8. Romance might be different than imagined.
Look, your spouse might fall asleep soon after returning home. They’ve been traveling all day so don’t be offended.
You might have images of a romantic evening playing through your mind, but it might not happen until the next night. It’s not you. It’s simply because they’re exhausted. I repeat: it’s NOT YOU.
It’s not always easy or smooth when a military member comes home. It’s not a lie when you hear that reintegration can be tricky. Yes there will be awkward moments.
But there will also be wonderful ones and the best part? You get to fall in love with your spouse all over again.
Want more on military life?
- What Military Families Wish You Knew About Homecoming
- 6 Military Homecoming Outfits to Make Your Service Member Swoon
- The Real Reason Why Being a Military Wife is So Hard
- 47 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife