Here's what I've learned about arguing with your significant other during deployment. It happens. From what I can see everyone hits a rough patch or two during a normal deployment. At times it may feel like one's relationship won't survive deployment but most do, so hold onto that.
Here are a few more things I've learned from my own experience and from others:
1) One thing that is important to remember regarding deployment is that both parties are under a huge amount of stress. Give everybody a break. Sometimes the arguing is more about the tension that naturally builds up from the frustration of being apart. Often little things are blown out of proportion. Catch yourself and pull back when you see this happening.
2) Deployed life is not particularly fun or enjoyable. I've read that after three months everyone is sick of it and just wants to come home. From what I've seen of the military workplace is is not particularly kind or friendly much of the time. It can be very mean, brusque and selfish. Keep in mind this is the environment your other half is living and working in. An agitating environment is going to lead to agitation. Living in a depressing environment is going to bring out negative behavior. Remembering this will help you not take your partner's moods personally.
3) Being apart breeds disconnect. It just does. It inherent in the situation. Sometimes it just can't get totally better until you set eyes on each other again and remember how great life is together. Sometimes snail mail and care packages that show you know your loved one can help a couple feel more connected.
4) Sometimes one or the other party will just be in a really bad mood or very tired when a call happens. There is a lot of graciousness in just overlooking it, trying to be supportive and doing all you can to keep the conversation simple, easy and upbeat. Results will vary. (She writes with a laugh). But most of the time meeting distress or unhappiness with a little cheeriness goes a LONG way.
5) Be quick to apologize. Deployment and war are not places to hold a grudge or wait for another chance to straighten things out. Own up to your mistakes, apologize for your bad mood or your bad timing and your baggage when it creates problems in your relationship. Try to keep the relationship playing field as clean and simple as possible.
6) Stop yourself when you realize you are trying to start a fight. Sometimes we want more attention from our partners and may dig for it however we can get it. Fighting is not a good way to do that, but it often happens. Get to know yourself and your moods and try to avoid letting this happen.
7) Loved ones far away in a deployment environment have few places to vent their built up frustrations. They may mistakenly take them out on the people they love the most. Recognize when this is happening and again don't take it personally. Learning to let them vent without feeling like you need to fix it is a great skill to have. Also, learning to brush off the negativity is vital to your own well-being. Sometimes the best thing to say is, "I'm so sorry that is happening."
8) Rarely do we need to tell a significant other that they should be sorry when they've acted badly. That usually hits them like a lightening bolt as soon as they hang up. It's easy to get angry and feel we need to set them straight, but it's much better to receive an authentic apology initiated by them than demanded by us.
9) If phone conversations seem to end badly for a while, cut back and keep them short or take a break from the phone or whatever form of communications seems to be in a negative rut. Try writing letters, sending packages or using email. A well rounded love "attack plan" goes a long way.
10) Try to overlook moods and understand what is causing a loved one to suffer. That way maybe you can help them realize that and offer some love and support that will relieve the pressure they are feeling a bit. It's easy to misplace frustrations and anger on the homefront. Helping them see what may be causing them stress may help you both.
Most importantly remember that arguing and stress on relationships is pretty normal in deployment. But it doesn't mean your relationship is doomed. You can help minimize arguments and it always helps to remember things will generally get better once they get home. Remember you are both learning and growing in your lives and in your relationship.