Saturday, June 5, 2010

R&R - How to maximize your time and enjoy it

Combat deployments are stressful for
everyone, and couples & families can
expect that this stress will impact their
relationships. The Army has provided this
R & R so that soldiers, spouses, and
families can have a break in the deployment,
and reduce relational stress.

Long separations during deployments
cause couples and families to make
adjustments in their daily lives - structures
and normal routines are changed in an
effort to cope with the separation. Both
those that remain at home, and those that
deploy, are affected by these changes.

R & R also has the potential to be stressful.
Lots of changes and new experiences have
already occurred, and you many feel
anxious about how these changes may
impact your relationships. Issues such as
coping strategies, personal growth, sexual
fidelity, finances, child behavior, and lack of
appreciation may be present.

With intentional preparation, most couples
and families will find R&R to be relaxing
and enjoyable. Some couples and families
may require additional assistance to work
through difficult issues. Your chaplain is
available to help you before, during, or after
your R & R to help with these issues.


* “Just Visiting.” It may be very helpful
to help your children understand that
the soldier parent is just visiting. They
still have a job in Iraq that is not finished
yet, but they do get to visit.

* Special Time. Soldiers should try to
spend special 1-on-1 time with each
child; it means a lot to them (and you).

* Reactions. Recognize that kids will
react differently & maybe unexpectedly.
They may regress from recent developmental
milestones. Have patience!


* Have realistic expectations about your
time together. Everyone has their own
needs, and negotiation is a good idea.

* Make deliberate plans to communicate;
set aside time for just talking / listening.

* Tell your spouse about significant
changes before you meet, such as hair
styles, tattoos, children’s behavior,
changes around the house, etc.

* Be flexible and willing to change plans.
Realize that arrival flights may change
or be delayed.

* Make time for spiritual activities and
conversations. Share new experiences
and commitments.

* Plan ahead for parental visits or other
extended family. Agree on time limits.

* Take steps for birth control, as needed.

* Remember to treat your spouse with
kindness & respect, not as a fellow
soldier or a child.

* Respect each other’s need for personal
space; both of you will probably need
alone time too.

* Plan ahead for the “second goodbye.”
There’s no “right way” to do it, and no
way to make it easy. Each couple is
different, and some may avoid talking
about it and ignore it, while others will
talk openly. Do what is best for you!


* Don’t plan too much; remember, this
is rest and recuperation!

* Don’t try to fix relational problems in
two weeks; it may be too complex and
could ruin your time.

* Don’t make a long “Honey Do” list for
your soldier. Treat this as a vacation.

* Try to maintain a quiet environment.
Soldiers have been hyper-vigilant for
months, and may jump at noises.


* Be sure everyone knows when you
are coming back for R&R. Your
“surprise” may find that no one is

* Avoid criticizing your spouse’s
decision making. You won’t agree
with everything they did; just let it go.

* Leave new household patterns and
rules alone – you are a 2-week guest.

* Don’t bring home your crude field
manners: trash talk, bad hygiene, etc.

* Limit your alcohol consumption! This
could easily ruin your time together.

* Be extra careful when driving your
POV on high-speed roads.

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