40 Day Deployment Dare – Week 1

It’s been a week since I started this 40 Day Deployment Dare.  Mostly I wanted to do this because I knew it would be such valuable information to not only military spouses, but anyone that spends time away from their spouse.  You can do this “Love Dare” at any time, for any type of separation or without one at all.  That’s what I love about it.  I also wanted to include some ideas on how to mold this dare to fit your needs, say if your spouse is at boot camp or MOS/Tech School.

Perhaps one of the hardest days of the first week was Day 5.  First of all I’m doing this on the down-low, mostly for me.  I wanted to have a change of heart from the normal times my husband is gone.  I wanted to start on the right foot and try not to fall into old patterns.  So day five was to ask your spouse three things that bothers or “irritates” them.  I was nervous about what he’d say and how I would receive it, with humility hopefully.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, 
by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13
I was so happy that when the text finally came with his answers that I received it as I did.  It was God working for sure.  Normally I would be plagued with worry, sadness, and consumed by self-imposed guilt.  That or pushing something on him that he does that angers me.  But nothing!!!  And I didn’t come back at him with anything.  That is what I love about doing this dare one-sided, even though that is not how it isn’t intended to be.  I received a special blessing after.  He followed that up with three things that I do well and that he loves about me.  How awesome is that?
I have never felt better about being away from my man, happier in my relationship and proud of myself (If I’m being totally honest).  I’m excited for where the next week will take me, and us for that matter.  And on a funnier note, it is clear that hubby doesn’t regularly read my blog huh?!  He’s not a social technology kinda guy – and THAT is one of things that I love about him.
Now, tips for the week for Boot Camp/MOS/TECH school separations.  These types of separations are commonly plagued by irregular communication, and very little of it when you do get it.  So how do you do the days when you can’t talk every day?  Take the time time to write a small paragraph ( a mini daily diary entry as it were) about each of the days, and mail it out once a week.  I would suggest doing the dare as I am, on the down-low.  When they are gone and in training like that it is typically a high-stress environment and thinking about you in the context of the dare might be near impossible.  Setting them up to fail doesn’t help anyone.  And like me, I think it will tremendously help you on your journey through this time as well.  I remember it clearly even after 12 years.  It was hard, but I think having this would have been so wonderful for me.   So here”s a break down of ideas for the first week’s dares:
day 1: maybe the first time you speak to them after they leave (or the next time you are able to have a phone conversation) – be positive and loving and try not to say anything negative at all.  If you are writing about something that day, try not to include anything negative.  This would be a good dare to carry on with you through the entire separation.  It will only cause you undo stress because they are typically not capable of handling anything.
day 2: today you specifically compliment your spouse.  Tell them how proud you are of them, recount a story in your letter of something wonderful they did and how you love them for it.
day 3: today is the buy something special for them day, but I would suggest including a picture of you or you and them.  make it a small one….a wallet size would be ideal.  
day 4: make this day all about them.  don’t talk about what you did today.  since you can’t ask them directly (and if you do get a phone call make this day that day wherever it falls in the line-up) talk about how you hope they doing well, that you wish you could be there for them more or help them in some way.  talk about things you might do to help him when he gets home; or things you love to do to help him when he is.
day 5: this will be hard, especially for those in boot camp.  this isn’t the time or place to really ask them to come up with three things that you do that bothers them, and it really really isn’t the time to tell them anything about them.  I would suggest using this day as personal reflection about things you could work on in your relationship.  Pick three things about yourself.  Maybe you can recall some arguments you may have had and look at your part in it.  In your letter today think about three things that are really wonderful about them and tell them.
day 6: is also a day of reflection.  for me I really confronted my feelings of sadness and anxiety about the fact that he is gone and how that comes out in every other emotion but the ones I’m actually feeling.  It’s okay to be sad!  Let yourself feel those emotions.  Tell them how much you miss them and say even though you sometimes have days that your struggle you are trying to be brave and strong for them.  you don’t necessarily want to pretend its all sunshine and rainbows.  Find loving and sensitive ways to tell your s/o your feelings without causing them to be worried or stressed.
Day 7: today’s dare requires you write down things you love about your partner as well as negative things.  Today is day 7 for me, and I also read that I’m to save these lists as they are used further down the road.  It’s important to be honest in relationships, with your partner and with yourself.  This dare when done together would also mean your partner is writing positive and negative things about you as well.  It’s some food for thought at least.

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