Focus on the Family

Renegotiating Leadership After Deployment

When deployment is over, ease your transition as you renegotiate leading and submitting with both spouses in the home.

by Jocelyn Green

Your family has endured weeks or months of separation due to training, a temporary duty assignment (TDY) or a hardship tour. Reunion is just around the corner, and, while you cannot wait to have everyone together again, questions lurk about the new balance of control and leadership between spouses. No matter which spouse has been away, both will need to make adjustments in order to ease the transition from independent individuals to a cohesive marital unit once again.

Know What to Expect

As you begin to navigate the "new normal" of your household, recognize where each spouse is coming from. Here's what to expect:

  1. The service member needs to know that your family needs him/her, since the family managed for a long time on their own. Assure him/her of their vital place in the family.
  2. The service member will wonder how he/she still fits into the family. The children may go to the parent who has been home for everything and ignore the other.
  3. The service member may feel hurt if children hold back from him/her. Talk about the best way to approach young children.
  4. The service member may want to step right back in to handle all of the family's responsibilities. Talk about how to best divide family duties, and give the transition time to develop.
  5. It will be hard for the hero at home to give up sole control of the family to share it with the returning soldier.
  6. The service member may not notice some of the adjustments the family needs to make because he/she is home again.
  7. The spouse at home will be more independent than before deployment.
  8. The spouse at home will have new skills gained during the deployment.

Take it Slow

When it's time to renegotiating household duties, a revised budget plan, etc., first allow time for the service member to adjust to life back home. A few things to keep in mind:

Support Each Other

As parents' roles and the balance of leadership shift, remember that you are all on the same team. Support each other: