Matthew and Nicole Janis’ love story has seen all facets of military life. This couple met when they were stationed in Germany together. Over the past seven years of marriage, they’ve tackled deployment after deployment. They even deployed at the same time in 2011.
While Matthew and Nicole first met in Germany, they had actually been in a close radius of one another multiple times all over the world. Nicole explains that Matthew enlisted in the military and went through basic training just a month after her. Matthew also was in the AIT class just behind her class. And strangely enough, they were also both stationed at the smallest base in Korea briefly and never crossed paths. It wasn’t until they were mechanics in the same unit in Germany that they got to know one another. Nicole explains that it took her two weeks to ask him out because he wasn’t making any moves. The couple fell in love and they got married on January 11, 2011 in California.
Just after their wedding, both Matthew and Nicole were deployed to Afghanistan in different FOBs. While deployment was an unconventional way to spend their honeymoon period, the couple made it work for them.
Challenges of deploying together
Nicole explains that getting deployed at the same time was pretty challenging. One of the biggest challenges was hearing about things that happened at each other’s bases. Even though she went on missions every three days, Matthew’s FOB was a lot worse than hers. Overall, it was scary to hear news about his base and she was always worrying. Nicole admits that was difficult on both of them, especially since they were newlyweds and hadn’t had the time to really celebrate their marriage yet.
“There is always that worry,” Nicole says. She said that it’s different than being back home in the states because she heard all the news before anything was confirmed. However, now, whenever Matthew is overseas, she avoids the news because it only causes stresses. When she was in Afghanistan with him, she couldn’t avoid it.
Benefits of deploying together
While the couple admits that deploying together is challenging, Nicole shared a few benefits beyond receiving hazard pay at the same time. She explains that since they were both deployed to Afghanistan, they occasionally got to meet up on missions, which is an obvious plus. Additionally, Nicole says that they were sometimes able to even meet up and eat together if they happened to be close to each other.
There aren’t too many upsides of deployment, but Nicole explains that intermittently seeing Matthew was a nice benefit of deploying at the same time.
Tips for couples deploying together
While it may be uncommon for couples to deploy at the same time, the Janises are proof that it can happen. Nicole has advice for couples that are deploying together to help them get through that challenging time.
One important thing that Nicole stresses is communication. “You have to be strong and you can’t listen to rumors,” she says. Communication is extremely important, especially when both partners are in a stressful environment.
Additionally, Nicole explains that the times when they were able to see each other made the deployment much easier. She suggests that couples talk to their chain of command if they’re in the same vicinity to see if they can meet up to see one another briefly. Nicole explains that deployment is definitely challenging and stressful, but there are a lot of little things couples can do to make it easier.
Tips for couples not deploying together
The couple deployed together in 2011, then Nicole retired from the Army in 2013. So, Matthew has deployed without her since then, including a recent deployment to Poland. Now in her support role as a military wife, Nicole has been taking care of their two daughters–Alexia, who is five, and Kaylie, who was just born in March–at their home near Fort Hood in Kileen, Texas. She says that it’s definitely different to go through a deployment from this perspective and she also has advice for the spouses who are not deployed together.
Again, Nicole stresses the importance of communication. “Don’t listen to the news,” she advises. She explains that she doesn’t watch the news because it only makes her anxious. Instead, she waits to hear from Matthew directly.
Having children makes deployment even more challenging, but the Janises have many ways to make it a little bit easier. Nicole says that she is always sending Matthew pictures and videos while he is away to capture every precious moment. Additionally, the Janises like to record Matthew’s voice into books, so he can read the girls bedtime stories even while he is away. They’ve also recorded videos of Matthew reading to the girls, so that helps make the time apart a little easier on the children, and keep Daddy familiar to them.
Deployments have been a big part of the Janis family’s life, but somehow, this couple has stayed strong in the most stressful of times.
Recordable Storybooks –