More often than we would like, part of being in a military relationship involves being separated for some period of time. This makes communication a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with time differences. But there are many ways you can remain connected, even when you’re miles apart.
One thing that kept my husband and I really connected when he was in training and deployed were our letters to each other. Service members are often cut off from the outside world while they’re away. They can feel disconnected from their loved ones, unaware of what’s going on at home.
These letters served as a great way of grounding us both, reminding us of how much time had gone by. Sometimes I would go back and read them, reminiscing on how far we had come. But letters don’t have to be just the simple pen and paper. Here are some ideas on how you can get creative!
“Take What You Need”
Take a blank piece of paper and write a list of things you would like to give that person. Include things like strength, courage, inspiration, and bravery. Cut the list into tabs so that they’re all separated, and write “Take what you need”.
Letters like this one are special, because they’re not only for your loved one, but for the people around him/her. Maybe you haven’t met them yet, but they will have a huge impact on their life and become friends that they remember 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 your service member.
This one seems to be a pretty popular idea, and I can see why. 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 overseas can be even longer. These letters will allow them to skip the wait.
Care packages have always been popular, but there are many ways you can decorate those too. Take some scrap booking materials or even just scrap paper and decorate the box itself. It could be anything at all, from a funny quote on the flap of the box, to an entire theme throughout. It gives them a nice surprise, aside from what you choose to put in the box.
Get together with a few of their closest friends and family and write a letter that has something from everyone. This way they don’t have to feel guilty when they don’t have enough time to check in with each person. It also ensures them that you’re staying connected with their friends and family while they’re gone. If you want to add an additional touch, include pictures of all of you together.
What are some ways you stayed connected with your loved one while they were in training/deployed? Did you use any of these?