5 Ways to Be Supportive of a Spouse Who Travels for Work
My husband and I, at the risk of sounding cliché, are better together. We’re two peas in a pod, we go together like peanut butter and jelly, bread and butter, coffee and tea (is that a thing?). Our favorite thing to be is together…and our least favorite thing is to be apart.
Last year, my husband took on a new role at his company. While it was a step up, it did involve a few changes, more responsibility, and more travel. As the new job has ramped up, so has the travel.
While neither of us wants to be apart this often, this is the season of life we’re in. We both want him to be successful at work, to be known as a hard and diligent worker, someone who can be counted on – this isn’t just good for him; it’s good for the future and security of our family!
Proverbs 31:23 says,
“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.”
A Wife’s Role
It’s part of my role in our marriage to honor and support him, encourage and build him up to those around me, to let him know that I trust him and believe in him.
If he has to leave our home and family for a few days, I want him to be as productive and successful as he can while he’s gone. I want him to know that I have his back and everything is handled at home. The flip side of this is equally true – I don’t travel as often for what I do, but when I do, he also seeks to fill this role supporting me!
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” Proverbs 31:11-12
Before I share a few thoughts for other couples in this common situation, let me just add that a) we’re still really new at this, and will undoubtedly learn more and get better with time, and b) I totally get that there are many, many couples out there in far more challenging “separation” situations than this, especially the men and women separated by military service for much longer periods of time. You have my respect, admiration, and gratitude!
Here are a few simple ways I’m trying to be supportive and we’re trying to stay connected and on track in this season. These go either way – if it’s the wife who is traveling, the husband can do these things!
1. Have a conversation with your spouse about how travel is going to affect your home’s work-life balance.
There has to be balance and it is important that two of you communicate about ways to make it work. You may have to get creative depending on how often your husband travels, so that he is still making time to date you (because the two of you need that time even more after being separated!), being intentional about how he is going to spend time with the kids, how he’s going to find time to continue to contribute to the household chores, maintenance, and so on.
2. Pray for your husband while he’s gone.
Pray that he’s safe, productive, and encouraged by his work endeavors while he’s away from home. Most of the husbands I know don’t actually enjoy traveling for work – they would rather be home with their families, so pray that their time away is worthwhile!
3. Encourage your children to support their father.
I know my kids (especially my 10-year-old daughter) get a little emotional the night before he leaves for a trip, even if it is just one night away – it messes with their reality and routine. What I like to do is remind them first of how much their father loves and adores them. I give them updates on how his trip is going, so they are in the loop and feel involved, and I remind them of the purpose of his trip – Daddy is serving our family by being diligent at his job (Col 3:17), providing for our needs, and taking care of his clients.
4. Keep it fun, but routine, while he’s away.
We still take care of the chores and make sure things run smoothly. We still make a good dinner (well, if the kids had a horseback riding lesson or evening activity it may be frozen taquitos or something in the crockpot). Or we’ll use that dinner as a chance to test out a new recipe (I’ve been doing that a lot lately). Sometimes we even start a game at the kitchen table while dinner is cooking and keep playing it while we eat dinner!
5. Stay connected.
This is a little bit safety tips and a little bit emotional connectedness, and it probably looks very different for everyone. He and I are used to being together a lot and communicating throughout the day. His flight schedules and hotel itineraries are in our family calendar. Our iPhones share our locations so we can see what each other are up to or if it might be a good time to call. I get a message when he’s getting picked up by an Uber. He FaceTimes with the kids every night before bed, and we catch up by phone, frankly, at every opportunity.
I know I’m not always going to get this right. I recognize that there will be times when he has to leave. Either me or the kids (maybe both) will be sick, or my to-do list is long and I’m worn out. The perspective I aim to keep and hold close is that we’re a team. Yes, we’re better when we’re together, but even when we’re apart, we’re in this together, unified.
Chels, Catz in the Kitchen
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