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Welcome to the National Guard Family Program e-learning lesson on Reintegration for Couples. In this lesson you’ll learn about the challenges that couples may face when a service member returns home from a deployment. Knowing what to expect during reintegration can help couples be more prepared for the adjustments ahead. Ongoing communication between partners is a crucial ingredient in reducing the inevitable stress involved in reintegration. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify the challenges couples face during reintegration, recognize the ways that setting realistic expectations can ease stress, assess the way coping and communication skills can ease transition stressors.

This lesson will help you recognize common reintegration challenges for couples and useful coping skills that support the transition process.

This lesson will identify some of the common issues couples may face when a partner returns from deployment. For instance, roles may change, reestablishing intimacy may feel awkward, and one or both may have changed during the deployment period. Things won’t feel normal right away. When couples have realistic expectations about the challenges they may face during reintegration, they can be more prepared for the adjustment.

Couples will discover a “new normal” during the post-deployment experience.

The post-deployment period begins with the homecoming of the service member. These initial weeks and months often involve a “mixed bag” of emotions that may range from excitement to worry, relief to frustration, and joy to disillusionment.

One factor that contributes to post-deployment difficulties is the unrealistic expectation that things will return to “normal” once the service member is back home. The family may not realize that a “new normal” will gradually emerge as members get reacquainted and family life is reorganized. The length of this adaption period varies depending on family circumstances, but it will typically last from three to six months. However, family members will continue to adapt even after six months.