My husband is a wonderful dad and truly the love of my life.
Which is why it’s so, so, so hard on me when my husband travels for business.
Most of his trips are fairly short (usually no more than 4-5 days), and some of them are overnight trips.
But, even after 14 years of marriage, it still rocks my world every. single. time he leaves. I don’t realize how much I depend on him until he’s gone.
My husband just finished up a season of heavy business travel, and I know another season is ahead for August. So as I look ahead to August (and think about what I’ve been learning lately through all this travel), I wanted to share some practical tips I use to survive these travel seasons. These are the physical things I do (along with the mental attitudes I pray for) to be as strong and healthy during these times.
Note: I don’t do all of these things (or even some of these things) perfectly. And in some situations, these things are just not possible. I consider these to be like a toolbox: I take the tools that work for me in that situation.
18 Keys to Survival When Your Husband Travels
Physical Things to Do:
1) Streamline and Simplify School. As much as it is within my power, I do my best to not take on additional responsibilities or school projects. This isn’t the time to try a new curriculum or to add a new subject. Again, this isn’t always possible because one of my husband’s busiest travel seasons is early fall… right when we’re starting school. But it’s a general guideline I try to follow.
2) Streamline and Simplify Meal Times. Freezer meals. Crock pot meals. Even a few nights out to eat. Leftovers. These things are my sanity when he’s not here. When meals are quick and easy, it makes me feel like I have less to do, which, in turn, boosts my attitude.
3) Get out of the house. Sometimes I find myself in a funk because we’ve been stuck in the house doing school all day… for several days in a row. So maybe we’ll go out for ice cream; walk around Target or the mall (which isn’t always good for the budget, but it helps my attitude!); or even escape to a park or a friend’s house for a few hours.
4) Ask for additional help from the kids. Normally, my kids take on a fair share of the household tasks. But when my husband is gone, I rely on them even more to keep things going.
5) Enlist outside help. This option isn’t available to all of us (myself included since my mom lives several hours away), but if at all possible (and it wouldn’t cause you more stress!), consider asking your mom, your in-laws, or another trusted family friend to help out for a few days. Think about what you would find helpful: Babysitting? Help with the household tasks? Companionship? Or perhaps you can team up with another local mom whose husband also travels a bunch and you can make it a point to support each other during these times.
6) Plan something fun that both you and the kids enjoy. If it’s a particularly long trip, I try to proactively plan a field trip or an outside school day so as to break up the routine.
7) Treat yourself. What would replenish you? Starting a new novel? Taking a hot bath? I try to find something truly replenishing at the end of each day. And yes, some days that’s simply a cup of tea or a few moments of silence. Find what works for you, and be vigilant to build it into the routine when he’s gone.
8) Commit to communicating in person at least once a day with your spouse. We are so blessed to live in this era! There are so many wonderful ways that we can keep in touch with our loved ones when they are far apart! My husband and I use FaceTime to chat in the evenings. It really helps me to not just hear his voice, but to see his face and to see him speaking to me.
9) Spend intentional time together before he leaves. If we know a trip is right around the corner, we do everything we can to block off time the day before to spend time together, both as a family and as a couple. We also pray for each other the night before he leaves, asking for a special protection over the kids and I while we’re here alone; for traveling mercies for him; and for our marriage to still be strong and thriving, even through the travel.
10) Let the kids talk to him (if they are still up when he calls). This is a small thing that I’ve found not only encourages our kids, but boosts my husband’s morale, especially if he’s been gone several days.
11) Consider other ways to build your marriage, even while you’re gone. Sometimes we read Bible passages together, pray together, or go through a book together—yes, even while he’s traveling. We do this through FaceTime, Skype, or even just on the good ole’ fashioned telephone.
12) Try to think of ways you can bless him while he’s gone. Can you text him something sweet or encouraging? One thing I’ve learned about marriage is that marriage isn’t about me, but is instead about finding ways to love and serve my spouse. I know that my husband doesn’t prefer to travel and would rather be home, so I try to consider his side of things. I ask myself, “What would he appreciate in his day?” It’s little things: sometimes I send him photos of things that the kids and I are doing, or I try to respond with patience and grace when he says that he won’t be able to talk until 10 p.m. because he’s at a business dinner. It’s not always easy and there are times when I want to lose it, but the more often that I can make blessing him a habit, the easier it is for him, and for me, to have a positive attitude when he’s traveling.
13) Give him a warm hug and a smile when he comes home. When he comes home, it’s usually late at night, and honestly, I am completely exhausted. But I do try my best to make sure I give him a big smile and warm hug when he walks through the door. I want to communicate to him that I love him and that I am so glad that he’s home!
Mental Attitudes to Establish:
1) Support him, and let him know you support him. How can you support him? As his wife, only you can best answer that for your husband. My husband feels supported when I keep everything running smoothly while he’s gone, when we communicate regularly, and when I don’t regularly complain about his travel. This is not the easiest thing in the world to do! But it’s what I prayerfully strive for.
2) Give yourself extra grace. There are times when I am completely spent from handling everything myself, and honestly, the last thing I want to do is to be a happy, supportive wife. All I want is my husband home!! If I find myself in this mental state, guilt and overwhelm (and grouchiness) are sure to follow, which seems to compound the problem. So, as much as I am able, I try to be honest with myself, admitting that it’s understandable for me to feel this way. Free-form journaling helps me here to just get my emotions out.
3) Spend more time reading the Bible and praying. My husband’s travel seems to bring out my own insecurities and anxieties, which means that I need to spend time bringing those to God and letting Him reassure me. The book of Psalms is often a comfort to me when he’s traveling.
4) Try not to be jealous. Yes, jealous. Can we just admit that many days it sounds downright glamorous to travel somewhere new, eat out at exciting places, and just get away from the everyday of home? I often find myself falling into this trap, especially on the nights when my husband sends me a picture of some famous person he’s met at convention; or an incredible four-course-meal he enjoyed (and I’m on the third day of leftover lasagna). And speaking of stinking-thinking…
5) Transform negative thoughts into powerful truths. I can easily get stuck in the rut of feeling sorry for myself, and of being angry about the time my husband is away from us. When I’m in these moods, I try to look at the other side of the coin: Yes, it’s hard that he’s gone. But he still loves us very much and would prefer to not be gone (that’s a praise). He also has a great job where he is needed and wanted, and that’s why he’s traveling (that’s a praise too). He won’t be gone forever and he will be home soon (that’s a blessing).
My prayer is that you’re able to use a few of these tools to help you survive those times when your husband has to travel!
This post contributed by Alicia from Your Vibrant Family