My husband rides subs, so when he’s gone there’s no Skype, no IM, no phone calls. We have email (sometimes). Being the good wife that I am, I sit down and write him an email every day. A LONG email full of details about everything – what I did that day, what the dogs did, news about our friends, updates on tv shows, news reports, etc. If it happened, he knows about it. Before you stop and think, “Wow, your poor husband!” let me assure you that he appreciates the details of the mundane when he’s gone. Or at least he says he does.
My husband also writes me an email just about every day when he's gone. But his emails are… less detailed. Much less detailed.
I understand that he can’t talk about a lot of what goes on and that he doesn’t do much but sleep and work, but I still feel a bit put out when I write him a long email and in response I receive a paragraph saying there's nothing new, he misses me, and how are the dogs. (Disclaimer: I’m not complaining at all! I much prefer that to receiving nothing.) I suppose my real problem is that I’m expecting an update on his life and I never get it.
The thing is, he’s like this in real life too. I’m a details person and he’s not. Ask me what happened over my day, and I will give you a thorough recounting, down to the flavor of Crystal Light I drank. Ask him and he’ll probably just say nothing. He’s used to telling me something and having me ask for more details that he usually doesn’t remember and I’m used to talking his ear off and having him tell me that I “say a lot of things.” It works for us.
I guess the difference is that when he's at home, I’m still around him for part of the day and know what he’s up to, so when he tells me that nothing interesting happened at work, it doesn’t matter. But when he says nothing interesting happened while he’s gone, his whole day is a mystery to me and it drives me a little bit nuts.
He tries because he knows I’m a details person, but it’s just not his nature to remember if anything funny or weird happened that day. After four deployments, we've finally come up with a solution that works for both of us: in each email, he now tells me what he ate for dinner.
It may not seem like much, but it’s something that he always remembers and somehow knowing that yesterday was pizza and wings night makes me feel a little more connected to him.
Do you have communication imbalances when your spouse deploys? How do you deal with it?