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"What do you mean you have to report to work? You just returned from a 15 month deployment! When do we get to spend time together as a family?"

The deployment cycle doesn't end when the service member returns home. The service member will spend some time attending instructional and informational briefings and health screenings. Your service member will need to transition from being in a combat zone to regular work and home life. Unfortunately, the transition doesn't happen overnight. Give your service member some time to adjust to a new time zone, climate, food, and living environment. Likewise, you will need some time to adjust to having your loved one back in the household and part of your daily routine.

The first week may be awkward for both the service member and the family. Don't try to make up for lost time or capture every missed milestone, instead celebrate the present - your time together as a family. It's normal for married couples to feel uncomfortable with intimacy. Act as if you are dating and get to know your spouse. The service member may want to spend one-on-one time with each member of the family. The best interaction often occurs while you're participating in an activity, such as bowling, playing a game, or walking the family pet. Stay within your budget. Don't plan activities or trips that you cannot afford. The best gift you can give your family is your time together.

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Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.

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