Delayed Entry Program: Navy. What it is Like for the Family

Delayed Entry Program: Navy. What it is Like for the Family


What is the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program?

In a nutshell DEP is when you enlist or reserve for a future date to become active pending on something such as the day you ship to boot camp or high school graduation. My husband was in DEP for six months however DEP can last any length of time.

When a family man joins the military the family commits to the military life style. However there is this limbo called DEP where your “associated” with the Navy but not apart of the Navy. There is plenty of insight for the future sailor they have stories from recruiters and numerous youtube videos to explain what the experience will be like, but where is the information for the wives? Right here! I remember the day my husband got his ship date, smart book, and joined DEP. For about the first month out of six it was pure excitement and pride. My husbands dream was going to be a reality! However by month two reality was in the moment and we knew when life was going to change but not how. At this point life was for lack of a better word “normal”. By month three of six it set in that we had made a life style, relationship, family routine changing decision. All I could think was “We are really doing this”. Then I would think “It’s not to late to change our minds.” Finally I would think “He is going to look really sexy in uniform.” By month four things started to change in our home, we realized time together was precious. I began to read the book The Love Dare from the movie Fireproof it helps rebuild the foundation of your marriage in Christ. Regardless if your marriage is in trouble or not this book is an amazing tool to give you a new perspective on how to love one another. With time running out we became more patient, kind, and more willing to take the initiative . This time was beautiful.
By month five the stress began. As the wife I thought about being home alone and being a “single parent” when my husband was gone. I imagined the lonely nights and big empty bed, it terrified me. There were moments when I got angry that my husband was going to miss some of our son’s milestones. Then there were moments I was heart broken that our son was going to miss his daddy with no understanding of why he is gone or where he went. The last six weeks before my hubby’s ship date I cried randomly but to keep myself from putting a damper on our last precious moments I began to find ways to make memories. We made a list of things to do as a family before he left for basic. ( Examples; silly string fight, bowling, going to yard sales etc.)  We Began a 42 day photo challenge! What is a 42 day photo challenge? It is exactly what it sounds like you take at least one  photo a day for 42 days. We still have pictures of us in our robes with our coffee and trust me it won’t be posted on Facebook but we will have it in a photo album at home, in a closet.

Those last few weeks really brought the spark back into our marriage. Something good always comes out of something bad and in this case it was infatuation with each other. The last week was the most difficult because we knew we were about to be separated for the first time since the day we meet. We studied his smart book while playing basket ball, we picked up his phone card while grocery shopping, and looked at bases on the internet with no idea where we might end up. Then THE DAY came, I walked the love of my life to the baggage line, I kissed him, and then I had to turn around and walk away from him. He didn’t look back I think its because he didn’t want it to feel like goodbye.

So DEP was both a curse and a blessing. It was stressful to have to wait not knowing what it was going to be like or what was going to happen but all and all it gave us time to prepare for a long distance relationship. Being a wife in DEP is scary and confusing.  You don’t know whats really expected out of you. However if I had it to do all over again I would pick DEP over immediate enlistment because it gives you time to get comfortable with your choice and make memories. Good luck and God Bless.

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Disclosure: Images found on Gooogle

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