Getting Acclimated After Your Military Homecoming

When your spouse returns home from a military deployment, the joy and relief may be accompanied by concerns about finances and family life. There are ways to make the transition smoother for service members, their spouses, and their families.

Plan the Homecoming

After months apart, your spouse’s military homecoming will be a momentous and emotional occasion. You might consider having a professional photographer capture the homecoming. Kay G., Social Media Customer Care Representative for Regions Bank, who is also a military spouse, says it’s also important to follow operational security protocol and not publicly announce the date or location of the homecoming — even on a private social media page — as that could lead to security concerns and delay their return.

Take Time to Readjust

Whether your spouse has been gone for a few months or more than a year, it will take time to acclimate to a new schedule and a new set of responsibilities. “Give them time to readjust, and don’t take it personally,” Kay advises. “Make sure they can comfortably adjust to a new sleep schedule and ease back into their lives at home.” She suggests giving your spouse at least a week before asking him or her to tackle some of the responsibilities and decisions. Through Military OneSource, military families impacted by deployment or other transitions can access free support and counseling.

Discuss New Roles

When your spouse is away, it’s usually up to you to take over financial decisions, paying bills, and other daily duties. By organizing your finances before deployment, you can simplify the transition. After your spouse’s homecoming, decide together who will primarily manage your finances, maintain a budget and stay on schedule with bills and saving. Additionally, discussing family dynamics, parenting philosophies, and individual roles will help your spouse adapt to home life. If this is the first time your spouse will be able to spend time with your children, be understanding while new routines are established. “It’s a good idea for the returning service member to take some time to bond again with their children,” Kay says. “Even a day or two alone with them can make the transition easier and also give the spouse who has been home some enjoyable free time they may not have had for several months.”

Organize Your Finances

Consider meeting with a professional to discuss how to handle changes to your financial situation, such as your spouse’s salary once he or she returns home or those that occurred during deployment. A financial expert can help you understand your post-deployment finances — whether you want to consolidate debt to pay it off faster or invest money you saved — and weigh your options to move forward.

By preparing ahead of time, keeping your finances organized, and allowing for the time needed to settle in, you can have a joyful homecoming with minimal stress.