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How Do I Handle the Transition When My Husband Returns From Active Duty?

My husband is returning from active duty. What kinds of transition challenges should I expect?
- Mariah

Though some returning members of the armed forces can slip easily back into the rhythm of home life, most families do find that there is a period of adjustment. And that's understandable. Things changed while your spouse was away: the kids got older, you may be more self-reliant, and your family probably had to adopt some new routines to lessen the burden of your spouse's absence. It's no wonder that many returning parents often have a hard time figuring out their place in this new order.

Returning spouses also might need time to process any challenging or overwhelming experiences they had while serving. It might be hard to talk about these with family members — even when they know you care and want to understand. Some may seek extra support from a professional as they work through experiences and readjust to life at home. You may need to remind your spouse that reaching out in this way is an act of strength and courage — not a sign of weakness.

But just because you have a transition to work through doesn't mean you can't get back to where you were before, or someplace even better. Be patient as you get to know each other again and give the whole family plenty of low-stress opportunities to ease back into things. As always, good communication is key to finding a new sense of balance.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: July 2013