Re: How do I respond
Welcome home and Thank You for your service. I am/was a military wife for 14 years and suffered many deployments. There is almost always a unit support group for those of us let at home. If they function properly, and sadly many don’t, they counsel on return issues and your situation falls under what we consider classic issues of miss communication. Both parties expecting everything to just fall into place without discussion.
You are supposed to have a partnership, but both have been living independently throughout the deployment. Readjusting to the partnership lifestyle is stressful.
Classic chronic issue example: Hubby is gone for a year, at home Wife has to manage all the issues, carry all the weight of house, home children and play the role of both mother and father, upon that has the added responsibility of insuring the kids and family don’t waver in their love and support for absent father. Hubby returns home and immediately RE-takes alfa role. He thinks he’s helping, he thinks he’s simply stepping back into his previous roll. She however thinks he’s undermining her role, her accomplishments and sewing chaos where she had maintained order. Fights ensue.
In this story, it’s not about power or alfa, or even sharing responsibilities. It’s about the confusion that happens upon adjusting to a return. Insecurities rise. For everything you take on, he has to give something up. Giving something up can often cause insecurity… (finances for example) “Does she not think I’m capable?”, “What can she do with it that I can’t?” “What fault is there in how I managed it”. It may not be that he wants to keep the responsibility, but that giving it up can feel like a failure or inadequacy.
Having suffered several deployments, I knew where mine and my husband’s weak spots were there were aspects I knew were better in my hands, but gave them over to him because it simply reduced my stress. Open communication is key. Him telling you what areas stresses him is paramount. You asking what you can do, and if there is a manner in which he prefers you to accomplish said goal is also key. But knowing, accepting these conflicts are going to happen helps the most. Easier to roll with it if you know it’s simply part of the adjustment.
Please don’t assume I’m asking you to be submissive. Remember in my situation roles were reversed. It was my Husband, a man used to leading a platoon that had to come to me and ask, “What needs to be done and is there a specific manner in which I need to accomplish it”.