Columnist Jacey Eckhart visits II MEF families

10 Aug 2006 | Pfc. Christopher D. Lyttle

Jacey Eckhart, columnist for The Virginian Pilot, a newspaper out of Hampton Roads, Va., and author of, “The Homefront Club: The Hardheaded Woman’s Guide to Raising a Military Family,” visited military families at Midway Park Theater Aug. 10.

According to a recent column Eckhart wrote and published on, service members and military families experience increased levels of anxiety, fatigue and stress when their loved ones deploy.

The evening’s event, “These Boots: A Spouse’s Guide to Stepping Up During Deployment,” dealt with these stresses and how spouses can alleviate symptoms of “home front fatigue.”

Eckhart gave advice to listeners, emphasized strong communication in a marriage and offered humorous tips to keep conversations lively.

“Develop a little ritual when you pick up the phone. If you don’t have a lot of time speak, don’t waste it with meaningless chat,” said Eckhart.
“When my husband was out on ship for months, of course there were days where nothing was happening, so that reflected when we spoke on the phone.”

Eckhart’s methods to establish communication also included visualization. She explained males are particularly visual thinkers and become interested by envisioning the conversation being face to face.

“Another way to keep the conversation interesting is a thing I call, ‘tell me something good,’” she said. “Before every conversation is over, make an effort to mention something good about the day or about each other.”

Eckhart emphasized positive verbal communication between spouses.

Another tip Eckhart offered was to “tell me what you want to hear.”

“It’s a funny way to get the exact response you’re looking for even if your spouse doesn’t care as much,” said Eckhart. “Always give a compliment for every task.”

In addition to communication skills, Eckhart entertained listeners with her valuable insight on surviving while you’re “married but single,” preparing for deployment and getting ready for homecoming.

Eckhart’s strategies for military families have been developed during her 18 years of marriage, 14 moves and five deployments. Her work aims to build courage, confidence and increased knowledge between service members and spouses