More often than we would like, part of being in a military relationship involves being separated for long periods of time. But there are many fun ways to make it easier on both of you. One thing that kept Kyle and I really connected when he was in training were our letters to each other. While your military man is in training, especially basic training or deployment, they’re often cut off from the outside world. They feel disconnected and lost, like the people at home were just something they imagined from a long-ago life. It doesn’t mean you aren’t important, it’s just part of the mental toll that their duty often takes.
Kyle always said that my letters and the letters from his friends and family really kept him going. While he was on long ruck marches or runs, he would think about home and what all of us were up to. He said that it made the time go by quicker during those long, grueling days. I knew that the letters we exchanged were so important to both of us, and on days when missing him was almost unbearable, I would go back and read what he wrote to me.
When writing your letters to your loved one, there’s a lot of different approaches you can take to lighten the experience for both of you. Have a little fun! Here are some ideas on getting creative with yours.
“Take What You Need”
This was the type of letter I sent to Kyle when they were in “Red Phase” of BMT, and they were all really struggling with exhaustion on all levels. He passed it around to his friends, and by the time it made it back, it was empty. He wrote me a letter saying that the idea, despite how small and simple it seemed, had a huge impact on them.
Letters like this one are special, because they’re not only for your loved one, but for the people around him. Maybe you haven’t met them yet, but they will have a huge impact on his life and become friends that he remembers forever. And if they haven’t met you yet, when they do they will think back to the letter that helped them when they were at their lowest point. It will help you to feel more involved by helping others that matter so much to him.
This one seems to be a pretty popular idea, but certainly useful. When your loved one is really feeling down and wishes they could be close to you, the next best thing is to read a letter straight from your heart. You can title these letters any way you would like, such as “Open When… You need to know I love you.” Or “Open When… You need motivation.”
These are the type of letters you can write up before they leave, and put in a cute box that they can bring with them. Often times it takes about 2 weeks for mail to start coming to a new training station, and sometimes mail takes forever anyways. These letters will allow them to skip the wait when they really need to feel close to you.
One thing that helps your soldier stay connected is being able to surround himself with things from home. Many people remember to send lots of letters to stay connected, but they forget the next best thing: pictures. Whether it’s a picture of the two of you, or your pet, it helps them to feel like they’re still a part of that life. If you did some home decor improvements to your bedroom, send him a picture. It doesn’t matter what it is, trust me, he will cherish it.
Also keep in mind that anything you send, there’s a chance that the mail room is going to inspect it. Don’t send him anything he isn’t allowed to have such as certain foods, magazines, etc. if he’s in BMT or certain training schools. Here is a list of the forbidden items for BMT. Check with the current training base for some varying requirements.
This is another letter idea that I tried while Kyle was in training. Get together with a few of his closest friends and family and write a letter that has a little bit from everyone. This way, no matter how little time he has, he can hear from all of you at once. Sometimes things like this really turn their day around.
This also reinsures him that you are staying connected with his friends and family while he’s gone. This will make him feel like you’re doing ok, and that others are looking out for the one he loves. Have everyone put their favorite picture they have with him to add a personal touch.
What are some ways you stayed connected with your loved one while they were in training/deployed? Did you use any of these?