Ever since I can remember, my father’s job involved a fair amount of travelling. I used to fall sick with a fever every time he went away and my mother had to resort to putting me to bed each night with my father’s t-shirt, just so that I would feel comforted by his smell.
It never occurred to me until I had children myself, how my father’s frequent traveling must have been hard for my mother who had to juggle work, managing a household and looking after a toddler all on her own.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, whether you have children or not, the reality of having a spouse who is a frequent traveller requires understanding, adaptability and some measure of discipline.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, the reality of having a spouse who is a frequent traveller requires understanding, adaptability and some measure of discipline.
Maintaining a loving marriage across distance takes extra effort and thoughtful intention but is not impossible. Here are a few practical tips:
1. Plan for alone time
My husband travels occasionally for work. We also have several close friends who travel frequently for work and in some cases, both husband and wife travels.
As challenging as it may seem to be in a different country for extended periods of time, one thing that we all make an effort to do is to make time for each other (and each other alone) when our spouse is home. Be it date-night, brunch dates or just lazy mornings in, exclusive time focused on each another is precious and allows us to reconnect after the time apart.
2. Be disciplined
For those with young children especially, being disciplined with your time when home can help to enhance family dynamics.
One of our best friends makes sure that when he is home from his frequent travels, his time at home is solely focused on the family, actively caring for the kids, and being fully present. Exercising discipline with his time also helps him overcome jet lag in order to spend quality time with the family.
For those with young children especially, being disciplined with your time when home can help enhance family dynamics.
3. Just saying “Hi”
Technological advancements these days offer little excuse not to communicate often. Sending each other messages during the day can help involve your spouse in your everyday life. Sending a simple message to say “hi” can let your spouse know that you’re thinking of them.
Making time, however short, for digital face time every day will go a long way in developing a habit of staying connected. If need be, schedule your time together in a shared calendar in order to minimise any misunderstandings.
Sending a simple message to say “hi” can let your spouse know that you’re thinking of them.
4. Midway meet-up
Our friends who both travel frequently make it a point to meet each other midway between both their work destinations at least once a year. Because they are often in different countries for most of the year, planning to meet up this way breaks up their time apart and gives them something to look forward to after an intense work trip.
After they had children, they continued with this ritual and it allowed them to have quality time together. Planning family holidays also provides the opportunity to come together to work on something fun for the near future.
Sending special surprise packages in the form of flowers, romantic gifts or something cute to your spouse whether they are the one travelling or at home can perk up their day. Simple, thoughtful gestures like these play a big part in showing affection to your spouse.
Just as any marriage is built on a firm foundation of good communication, quality time together and a healthy partnership, a marriage where at least one spouse travels often should be no different – with a few tweaks made along the way to suit your family dynamics.
© 2018 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Do you have difficulty connecting with your spouse amidst the stresses of life? Connect2 is a marriage preparation programme for newlyweds to address common marital issues and challenges. Find out more at www.family.org.sg/c2.
Sue-Ann Lee is a mother of three spirited and hilarious children who have nicknamed themselves, Rainbow Skye, Chubbs Salami and Fatt Spaghetti. Writing about her parenting experiences brings her great joy as it allows her to relive the many precious lessons learnt along the way.