Challenges of Deployment

Case Study:

Al and Marie are young newlyweds in the military who moved into the home next door a few months ago. Everything is new to this young couple–being away from home, learning to depend on one another–all complicated by the fact that this is their first duty assignment.

Al came home today with some shocking news: Their unit has orders to deploy! Al and Maria knew deployment was a significant part of military life, but they really hadn’t expected it to come quite so soon.

Maria is understandably worried about Al’s safety, and there is an element of danger in any military assignment.

You and your spouse have been through several deployments, and you know there are other pressures and problems this young couple will face during deployment–challenges they don’t seem to even be aware of.

1. What would you tell Al and Maria about the challenges they are likely to face during deployment?

2. Do you believe that the challenges of deployment cause problems–or merely reveal problems?

Recent history has shown that many military couples are not prepared for the pressures and challenges they face before, during, and after deployment. As you consider your next deployment, you would be wise to consider three threats to your marriage relationship: uncertainties and difficult adjustments, selfishness, and poor communication. These are a challenge in normal circumstances, but in a deployment these threats are magnified.

Threat #1: Uncertainties and Difficult Adjustments

Although all couples face changes based on their family history, roles, seasons of life, and expectations, deployment brings its own set of challenging adjustments.

3. Looking back at the Case Study, what adjustments will Al and Maria need to make before, during, and after deployment?

4. How will their attitudes affect their reaction to these changes in their lives?

Threat#2: Selfishness

“SELFISH” – definition (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition),”concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.” We can all be that way at times, as we are naturally self-centered creatures and want to have things our way.

5. It is sometimes easier to see selfishness in someone else than in yourself. Why do you think this is true?

6. In what ways can deployment make it easier to focus on yourself than on your spouse?

7. Philippians 2:3-4 tells us: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (NIV)

What are some ways you can apply this verse and think of your spouse more than yourself during the separation of a deployment?

Threat#3: Poor Communication

Good communication between a husband and a wife can make a marriage. By communicating information clearly, sharing hopes and desires, giving opinions, and responding with encouragement, you build connections in your relationship.

8. What are some differences in the way you and your spouse communicate?

9. What challenges do you expect in maintaining communication during deployment?

10. What changes could you make to improve your communication before deployment?

(Excerpted from “Making Your Marriage Deployment Ready”)

This is one of the lessons in the HomeBuilders Couples Series for Military Couples.  For more information on the HomeBuilders series, check out and