Getting gifts for one another on important dates while your spouse is deployed is one of the trickiest things about the military lifestyle. Every couple is different but for my husband and I, we love to get each other gifts on holidays and anniversaries. I love surprises and I also love planning out the gifts for my husband. I love making him happy. And when he’s deployed the gifts become more important because it’s one of the only ways we have to show our love when he’s not here. We can’t hug or kiss or cuddle so getting each other gifts to show our appreciation on special days is a substitute for that. But the gifts also become trickier to give.
For my husband, he is very in tune with me when he is home and is really good at picking out gifts because he listens to what I say and will remember me mentioning I like something even if it was months ago. When he is gone gift giving becomes really difficult for him because he can’t pick up on the subtle hints and on top of that he has limited resources.
Case in point, the first gift he ever got me while deployed was for my birthday and it was a rose dipped in plastic and outlined in silver. He saw it in the back of a Maxim magazine. And when he sent it he didn’t include any sort of note so I had no idea who it was from. Talk about a disaster. And I didn’t know how to handle it. This was the first time he had ever gotten me a gift I didn’t like. At first I pretended to like it because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings but I eventually confessed how I felt. We ended up returning it and he got me a replacement gift of the full Harry Potter series in hard cover, which I love.
So I learned my lesson, when he’s deployed I have to be less subtle about things I like. And he learned to get family members involved to help purchase gifts that he can’t from Afghanistan. So far this deployment we’ve only had one event, our anniversary that was a couple days ago. The gifts have been amazing! And my favorite one is the one he didn’t spend any money on.
For me there ends up being a dilemma when it comes to getting my husband gifts. I want to get him something nice but I can’t always send that something nice to him when he’s deployed. The first deployment I didn’t send him anything for Christmas but I sent him an email telling him about the gift I had gotten him that he would get when he got home. He didn’t say anything at the time but when he got home he confessed that he felt a little neglected at Christmas time because he hadn’t gotten any gifts sent to him.
So this deployment what I did was send him a gift that he could use in Afghanistan and I also got him something nice that he will get when he gets home. I sent him pictures of it so he could see what it was. I think he definitely appreciated having a gift to open on the special day this time.
As long as my husband and I can afford to get each other nice gifts we will do it because that’s one of the ways we show our love. And now that we’re experiencing our second deployment together we’ve each learned a few things about making that special day extra special. Hopefully our experiences can help you!