The holidays are coming and I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of active duty military members and contractors who will be away from their spouses and significant others this holiday. I was curious as to how service men and women stay connected to their lovers and family members during this time. According to research, over fifty-nine percent of military members serving our country are married.
In the past decade we have had thousands of service men and women serving multiple deployments overseas. Many times the reunited couple feels disconnected from each other and finds it difficult to reconnect emotionally. As a counselor I have worked with many couples who struggle after having a long separation. Here are three great tips that were shared with me on staying connected by retired and active military professionals.
- Technology has come a long way baby. SSG McNabb, who is currently serving overseas says he uses Tango video and chat to stay connected to his girlfriend and family. Kurundi Daniels, Life Coach and Veteran, shared how her daughter is staying connected to her husband who is currently serving a two year deployment. She started a private You Tube channel just for her husband. She called it “Letters to Daddy”. On this channel she does daily blogs which also include the couples children. This allows her husband to be apart of their daily activities. This channel keeps them connected and the children get to look forward to having family time with their dad. This holiday, the family will share special holiday wishes on their channel for daddy.
- Journaling- SSG McNabb shared that he is keeping a written journal of his daily activities and insights. His girlfriend at home is also keeping a journal. When they unite they will share their journals with each other. Sharing memories helps them to stay bonded. This holiday special notes will be placed in the journal for the couple to reminisce over for years to come. Daniels also stated that one of her favorite gifts during the holidays were video journals that her children would make her. They would make reenactments of her favorite’s videos from the music group, The Temptations, or of funny things that happened around the house. These video journals allowed her to have a taste of home even though she was far away.
- Care Package- Oh the holiday would not be the same without a special holiday care package. Donna Newman-Robinson, Veteran and Success Coach for Women Veteran, recalls that receiving a care package from home always made her day when she was actively serving. McNabb says he is looking forward to receiving a package this holiday with all his favorites from home that are not available where he is located.
Times have changed but one thing remains constant, communication. Maintaining holiday traditions allows you to make memories and strengthen bonds even when being separated physically from your love one. Happy Holidays everyone!
BWMK: How will you make this Holiday sweet for your love one?