Anyone who is watching TikTok knows that lately folks have been talking about the demise of marriage. It’s really sad. I do believe that the issues at hand is that folks are not given the tools to survive marriage. I keep hearing over and over the struggles that have bubbled up.
This year the theme is all about Keeping It Together. Relationships with our marriages, children and ourselves need tender love and care.
In this first article of the year. I thought the perfect place to start is with couples. For many traveling spouses, finding space and usefulness in their own families — families that had done just fine without them while they were away — can be challenging and dispiriting.
If you’ve never traveled for work, it might seem like a pretty sweet gig: expenses in upscale restaurants; clean, cozy hotel rooms; no carpools, sibling rivalry or dishes to deal with. But for the most part, work travel is, well, work. There’s almost never time to explore and enjoy the city like you normally would when on vacation, the work is often exhausting and the experience can be painfully lonely.
For the traveling spouse, home can sound like heaven — forgetting all the day-to-day duties and stresses that come with home-life that the non traveling spouse has to deal with all the time.
Don’t argue about who does more or works harder or whose role is tougher. Here are a few steps to try to to #keepittogether.
- Be Flexible- When you’re traveling, don’t try to micromanage your spouse’s schedule and routine. And when you come home and it isn’t quite what you remember or like it to be, try to blend in instead of trying to disrupt what’s working. Don’t second-guess your spouse’s decisions. Non travelers have responsibilities, too. For instance, you should include your traveling spouse in decisions as much as you’re able. And if you’ve agreed on a set of family rules — 8 p.m. bedtimes for the kids, for example — you should stick with those rules even when your spouse isn’t there. And when your traveling spouse is home, try to help him or her integrate into daily routines.
- Touch base Ever Day– Don’t fall victim to the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. Marvelous technology can help you stay in touch: Use it. Skype or FaceTime with your husband or wife. Share pictures. Stay connected and keep communicating. In fact, over-communicate: Keep your spouse in the loop about everything — how long you’ll be gone, who you’re with and what you’re doing, what’s up at home. By communicating these details, you’re creating a greater level of safety and trust. Communication means staying connected about your inner lives, too — not just the day-to-day operations of life. Target 10 minutes every day to connect on a deeper level. This is key for any couple, but especially those who spend significant time away from each other. Studies show that the happiest couples are those who talk frequently with each other about meaningful things. Just because you’re having those conversations via email or phone doesn’t make them less meaningful.
- Schedule Travel Time Together– It allows you and your spouse gets to reconnect in a new way in a new location. It can also provide you with a special memory too. It’s important to have those life moments. It will strengthen your ties and make life a little less monotonous
- Guard Your Marriage- – It goes without saying. Avoid relationships that could damage your marriage. Be careful how you cope with the loneliness of being away from your spouse. Connecting and emotionally investing with opposite-sex colleagues or friends can set you up for an affair.
If frequent trips are creating constant headaches for the non-traveling spouse, figure out a way to fix the problems — hiring a lawn service, for instance, if the spouse is overwhelmed with yard work. But if the real issue is the absence itself — missing out on too many special moments, for instance, or watching the kids grow up from afar — then maybe it’s time to find a new job or figure out a way to cut down on travel. Whatever the solution, make sure it’s a win for both people.