Expect these 7 reactions when your spouse comes home from The Desert
(Photo: White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs, John Hamilton)

By Julie Provost

Sand in my washing machine, sand in my living room, sand in my bed! No, we didn’t just get back from an epic beach trip . . . my husband just got back from the desert and brought a few souvenirs with him.

When your spouse gets home from a deployment or training in a desert location, there are specific things that will happen. These days, trips to the desert are the norm. Whether it’s a tour in Iraq for six months or a summer in the Southern California desert, here are seven things you can expect from a spouse who has been living in the desert.

1. He’ll want to throw everything away

Okay, maybe not everything . . . but don’t be surprised if your spouse says to heck with it and wants to start over. Sand will be everywhere, and tossing his toiletries — or his clothes — is going to be easier than cleaning off all that sand. No matter what he does, I guarantee you will see evidence of his trip to the desert for years to come. (Dang sand!)

2. The washing machine will work overtime

There will be things he won’t throw out, so put a pause on your daily wash routine. Their gear will need to be washed and some of it more than once. Between the uniforms, blankets, and jackets, your machine will see green and tan for quite a while.

3. He’ll have no interest in a camping trip anytime soon

After sleeping outside in a tent in nature for a while, your spouse probably won’t be excited about planning big camping trips anytime soon. Want to get away? Plan a trip to a comfortable hotel, where you two can order room service and sleep among the poorly painted wall hangings instead.

4. He’ll take the longest showers ever

Your spouse has been missing a hot shower. Don’t be surprised if you hear the water running for an extra long time. Who can blame them?

5. The uniform fairy will move in

Whether you see ACUs, DUCs, or something else, the uniform fairy will throw up all over your house. Military stuff will be everywhere. Smile when you see this since that means they are home and not still in the desert. Don’t worry, within a few days (or sometimes a few weeks), you will get your living room back.

6. He won’t want to go near the beach

A day at the beach isn’t going to sound fantastic to your spouse. All that sand and sun? They will want a break from those elements. Save your beach trip for later spend the day at the museum — or better yet — at home, watching movies and cuddled on the couch. You haven’t gotten to do that for a while.

7. He’ll eat all the food

If you never thought of yourself as being an excellent cook, things are looking up. Whether you spent the time they were gone perfecting a four-course meal or survived on pizza and cereal, your spouse is going to love your cooking. Anything homemade is going to taste better than MREs and the DFAC.

Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at