By elaine | January 28, 2014
When I was teaching a breakout session at a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, I posed a general question to my group comprised mostly of women spouses. I asked, “When you first hear that your husband is coming home, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?” A hand darted into the air, followed by a woman emphatically answering, “How the h— did my a– get so big!” As you can imagine, the entire room erupted into laughter…primarily because they were ALL thinking the same thing! This led to a lively discussion about sex, image, and intimacy when you’re finally back together. We discovered that for some couples – often those who had experienced multiple deployments – it was easy and natural to get back to the way things were. For others, this was a time of apprehension, concern and a “nose-dive” in self esteem. Here are some of the suggestions that were offered during the session to help make this very important time better for both of you. This has never been a problem for us or for me. I always felt that if you put the other person first in his needs, he always wanted to please or treasure you in return.
- For your self image, please attempt to stay active both while you’re apart (get a gym membership and make time) and together when your spouse returns. Get bikes, hike or join a co-ed sports team. Make working out a priority so that all of a sudden you don’t find yourself thinking that it’s too late.
- I discussed issues with intimacy vs. physical actions with others. I learned that intimacy really is different from the physical act of lovemaking.
- For some reason I found that when we increased communication about daily household needs, it seemed to increase our closeness.
- Understand that there are likely to be high expectations on both sides. Reduce the pressure on each other.
- The two of us stayed close during the deployment through frequent communication. We would even exchange information about what our time back together would be like.
Lastly, on page 97 of my book The Road Home, I had fun sharing a list for your first sexual encounter together. It’s short, sweet, fun and directly from “those who know”.
- Think creatively.
- Remember the time factor: don’t rush, if possible.
- Watch for competition for your attention, such as kids, the TV, and other environmental distractions.
- To jump start romance, try an adult “boutique shop.”
- Schedule your time alone.
- Tell each other how you feel.
- Talk about the first time you met.
- Get a hotel room with a deep tub!
- Be respectful of each other.
- Give each other a massage.
- Bubbles – from a bath and champagne.
- Show constant, subtle, verbal and non-verbal signs of affection.
And my favorite (in his exact words)
- “Dim the lights, light a candle, and go at it like rabbits!”
Not sure I can do better than that! Enjoy this time and each other.