Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering through these links may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free.
Rebecca Alwine has been an Army wife for 9 years, traveling the world and learning about herself. She’s discovered she enjoys running, loves lifting weights, is a voracious reader, and actually enjoys most of the menial tasks of motherhood. You can follow her on her website, www.whatrebeccathinks.com.
My husband has been a Soldier for over 13 years, and throughout the 9 years of our marriage, we’ve spent countless nights apart. Sometimes it’s one night in the middle of a six-month deployment, sometimes it’s a random 24 hour duty on a weekend, and sometimes it’s the dreaded night shift.
When he’s out of the house before dinner and coming home as I’m rising to get the kids to school, we often go days without a real conversation. Ships passing in the night makes for an interesting week of marriage. Here are some ways we make it work.
- Dinner at the Office – This is a favorite of mine. Usually on the weekends, my kids and I traipse down to the office and sit and have dinner with my husband. Sometimes we get a good 15 minutes without interruption. Sometimes the Soldiers interrupt every 30 seconds. Sometimes, when we’re really lucky, the kids run off to play and we get a few minutes to have a real conversation.
- Handwritten Notes – I like to write notes to my husband, especially when I don’t get to see him much during the day. Sometimes just an “I’m heading to the store” while he’s still sleeping or an “I love you” slipped in to his uniform pocket.
- Reading the same thing – We’re both history buffs, and we discovered a few years ago that we like to read the same kinds of books and that we enjoyed talking about them. So when we are separated, we try to read the same thing so we have something to discuss. This also works with articles, magazines, and short stories.
- Making Life Easier – This is one that I really struggle with. I do sincerely try to make the week of night shifts easier on him by picking up his normal duties around the house, but its hard to do it without a bit of resentment. But, I know that he rests easy and works hard, he trusts me to keep things running at home, and that is motivation enough to get it done.
- Recovery Day Dates – My favorite part about night shift is the recovery time. Saturday through Tuesday off from work! The weekend is time spent as a family, and when the kids head back to school on Monday, we have time together. Sometime it’s a lunch date, sometimes a movie, sometimes we just go about life together. But Tuesday evening, night shift is out of our minds for another few weeks.
No season of marriage is easy, and yet the dreaded night shift brings a short season ready for personal growth and growth as a couple. It reminds me that this one week of nights apart is nothing compared with the months we have and will again spend apart. Most of all, it reminds me to treasure the nights we do have together.
What are your ways of dealing with night shift?