We all know deployments are stressful and sometimes they can make or break a marriage.
I've been reading about tips from books and online about ways to help keep the military marriage strong through deployments, separations, and relocations.
The first thing I want to stress is that if you are having problems with coping during deployment don't be afraid to seek help from the many services available to you. If you aren't coping well while your spouse is deployed, they will know and it can effect your marriage. You can easily find out what services are available where you are by contacting your ACS office, the post chaplin, or even your FRG may be able to point you in the right direction. Military OneSource is a great place to get information too!
One thing I have noticed from experience and reading is that as army wives, we need to have our own identity. Separate from our spouse. This goes with any marriage really, but I think it is even more important in the military. I have seen wives completely fall apart when their spouse deploys because they focus everything around him. We need to have our own hobbies and friends. Our lives can not revolve around our spouse.
We need to be independent. That independence will get us through everything! Your spouse needs to know you can handle things on your own because when they leave, you will be doing it on your own. We take care of the bills, the house, the kids, go to school, work...etc. The list goes on. Basically, when your spouse deploys or goes on an unaccompanied tour, or off for training, you are on your own.
Communication is extremely important!! When your spouse is gone you may not get to talk to them on the phone much, but you can still send letters or emails. Even cute cards count. Now-a-days, many couples use yahoo, skype, msn or another instant messaging service. You've got to stay connected. Send care packages and pictures of yourself and the kids (if you have kids). Send a small teddy bear or a shirt in a zip-lock bag with your perfume on it. Little reminders of home help alot. If you are comfortable with it, you can also send "naughty" pictures as a pleasant surprise for your spouse. We must keep in mind that lack of communication does not mean there is a lack of love. Sometimes our spouses can't call us or get on IM. There could be many reasons why, but keep it coming from your end!
As with all marriages, there must be compromise and trust. I think that is pretty self-explanitory.
Faithfulness should be mentioned too. I'm not just talking about cheating physically. From what I have been reading lately, it seems that emotional affairs can be just as bad or even worse than physical cheating. Be careful of your friends of the opposite sex who are "just friends". It is easy to get caught up emotionally on both sides when you're separated from your spouse for long periods of time. An emotional affair is when you depend on someone else more than your partner. Here's some info on emotional affairs : Emotional Affairs 101.
There is more but I've run out of time for now. =)
Helpful books? =)