I was reading Andi and Sarah's posts regarding "do overs," arguments, frustrations, anxieties, etc. that occur when our spouses deploy. This post is not necessarily on the exact same wavelength as those two posts, but it reminded me of an experience that I will never get to "do over" - and I learned something valuable about my husband.
My husband's first deployment came about 9 months after we were married. I had just joined him at our first duty station and six days later he was gone. He went to Kuwait for Desert Thunder and when he left we had NO CLUE when he would be home. My unit was also packing up and preparing to deploy, although we never went.
I decided to write a little bit of a letter every day and then send one long letter to him after a week or two. Who wouldn't want a long, loving letter from his/her spouse??? Well, it turned out that MY idea of what DH would want and what HE would want were two completely different things... and ten years later he still brings it up (usually to bust my chops in a humorous sort of way in front of our friends).
My DH was the last married man (he's armor - all men) in his entire battalion to get a letter from his wife!!! He says it was 23 days after he left... but I don't remember. This really hurt my husband back then but he didn't exactly tell me right away. I promised him I would never wait so long to send a letter - even if the letter only had a few lines.
It's more important to him to just hear from me and know I am thinking about him than it is to read a 5 or 6 page letter every few weeks. I'll never be able to do that first deployment over again, but now I know one of the expectations my husband has when he deploys. Every time he deploys or leaves for an extended period of time, I make sure I get a letter or card out to him ASAP. If that had not happened, I would never have known one of the "little things" that helps my husband get through a deployment.
What is a "lesson" you learned about your spouse when he/she deployed for the first time?