If your spouse is due to come home soon, then you’re probably going through a lot of different emotions. Obviously, you’re going to be relieved to have someone you love come back after a long period of time. However, you might also be a little concerned as to how they’re going to settle back in. Here are some important things to remember for when your soldier comes home.
The first thing I can recommend is not to act too differently. Your returning spouse is going to be pretty relieved that they’re back too! Obviously them coming home after a number of months is cause for celebration, so have one if they want one. Aside from that though, try to get back into the normal swing of things as soon as possible. A lot of people assume that every veteran has experienced trauma, and that they’re in a delicate mental state. As a result, they can end up acting strangely around the vet, choosing their words carefully and handling them with kid gloves. In truth, most service members see themselves as neither heroes nor victims. Treat them as you always would. If they need to talk about anything, they’ll do so at their own pace.
My next tip deals with the opposite situation. If they’ve gone through trauma, and are suffering with the effects of it, then let them recover. It’s true that some people leave for military service, and come back someone completely different. If your spouse’s service has obviously affected them, then it’s natural to want to help in any way possible. However, you should never try to get your veteran to let go of memories when they’re not ready to. With conditions such as PTSD, it’s not a simple act of willpower for a veteran to recover from it. Don’t say things like “Afghanistan is behind you, so put it behind you”. This may only make things worse, and cause your spouse to regress from family life. Offer to talk, but don’t start doing the work of a therapist.
My final tip is to make the most of their leave! No matter what your veteran has done, and no matter what their occupation has done to them, your time together is precious. If your spouse is happy to, get out and do some things which will get their mind off of their service. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit somewhere? If so, get on Hotwire, rent a car and hit the road! Perhaps there’s some activity you haven’t been able to do together in a long time. Even going out for a nice meal and wandering around your town can help a returning spouse feel more at home.
I hope this advice makes you feel more confident about welcoming your spouse home. It might be as easy as them coming back from a business trip, and it might be one of the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Remember that you love each other, and that there’s always help where you need it.