Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Survive Deployment Arguments & Fights

There’s something about that first dreaded fight while he is away that is absolutely maddening. It’s so much worse than just a normal fight while he’s home, not that those are all sunshine and cupcakes. Still, fighting while you are hundreds of miles apart sucks and that first one is like being socked in the face!

photo credit: bandita via photo pin cc
Work-ups are done so the Sailors can practice for the real cruise, but they also serve as practice for what madness will happen at home and to the marriage during cruise. My husband and I are getting our sea-legs back after shore duty so it hasn’t been easy, but I feel I’m doing pretty good, getting a handle on things. Then WHAM! We have our first long-distance fight. I had forgotten how unpleasant they are.

 When you first start doing work-ups, a lot of people, including myself, naturally try to keep the peace while he’s away. Both the husband and wife tend to do this. You both let things slide a little more, and give each other some leeway, but there will always come the time, when you least expect it, that one of you can’t play mister/missus nice spouse anymore.

Even if it’s something small, that first time, it feels like a catastrophe. There’s shouting and crying and freaking out all over something that usually ends up being silly. Usually, the distance causes a horrific waiting period - either because one of you avoids answering calls or because of the one email a day thing. Either way, you are forced to wait and worry. Fear strikes you, and you start to wonder what he will do while in this enraged state? As if he’s lost his mind and will flee without you around to hold him down until it passes.

I’m serious. This crap goes through my mind. It happens in like a split second in a subconscious way because it’s obviously ridiculous. This idea that because you fought and he’s far away, that means he’s going to forget that he loves you and end the entire marriage. Nevertheless, in that moment of panic, anger, and fear, it almost seems plausible. Especially, the first time when you aren’t used to these kinds of low-communication fights yet.
It threw me for a loop the first time it happened during my most recent work-up cycle and had me spinning for a couple of days even after we made up. I kept fretting over whether or not he was still angry or if I had planted this seed of resentment that would lead to the end . . . ok, that’s a little dramatic, but it so easy to let things spin out of control in your “cruise what if” scenarios.

I think when this happens, if you are lucky enough to realize it’s happening, it might help to stop and remind yourself that nothing has changed. You two are still who you are. You both love each other and neither one of you are going to abandon the other on the basis of a single fight, or even after several long-distance fights during cruise.

photo credit: modenadude via photo pin cc
Also, remind yourself that he gets all spun up too, you just can’t see it. It’s so easy to feel like he’s out there not even worrying about you or your fight while you’re at home freaking out.

But what about those people who do lose each other during a deployment? Sadly, that happens, but not on the basis of long-distance fights. There has to be larger problems going on in the marriage before that can happen.

The point is to remember you’re not going to forget you love him, and he’s not going to forget that he loves you. Fights are inevitable over long periods of time and they are more stressful when you can’t communicate easily, but you will get past it and survive . . . and don’t be too hard on yourself if you get a little dramatic. Trust me, you’re not the only one who does.

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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