10 Tips For Traveling Husbands to Keep Their Marriage Strong Keeping your vibrant when on the road is a tough task to accomplish. Use these tips to keep your marriage fresh and strong. BY DR. KAREN GAIL LEWIS
Don't just be a memory of your marriage, be actively involved when on the road.
Dan travels a lot for work. He basically lives two separate lives—one in hotel rooms and one in his home. When he returns from a trip, he wants to feel appreciated; he wants to feel his wife and kids have missed him and are glad he is back. He wants to feel he still counts as head man in the family. Yet, that often is not what happens because his kids and wife have learned to live without him.
Dan’s story is not different from hundreds of thousands of men who must travel for work. From my experience as a marriage and family therapist, I hear men saying they want to stay connected and relevant with their family, but meshing their two lives is tough. While they call home regularly, even every day, the calls feel routine or mandatory—to them and to their wife and children.
If you travel, you may be facing the same problem of how to stay connected from a distance. In the phone calls, your wife complains about the kids or problems at home; you tell her information about your business and people she may not even know. The calls are not satisfying; she doesn’t really care what you have to say, and you are not interested in hearing about leaky drains or your son spilling chocolate ice cream on the sofa (at least when you can’t do anything about it at the moment). When you hang up, you don’t leave each other with that loving, fun, special spark that brought you together in the first place.
It doesn’t have to be that way if you are willing to be creative and stretch yourself beyond your typical routines. Here are 10 tips that will keep you very present in your home life while still traveling in your work world.
1. Telephone calls home need to be more useful and personal. In addition to asking about what is happening at home and talking about your work and meetings, share something personal about yourself. Your wife will feel more connected to you when you are speaking about yourself, not your work. Ask more personal things about her, not just problems and kid stuff.
2. Make sure some of your calls are loving. Something more than a quick, "I love you," as you hang up. Speak about what you miss or love about her.
3. Make sure some of your calls are sensual, not just sexy. Giving explicit details of what you’d like to do with her is not the same (to her) as talking about how much you miss touching her soft skin, kissing her, enjoying her twinkly eyes, etc.
4. Every day or two, send her an e-mail or text with loving thoughts. They don’t have to be long. Even a quick, "I love you and miss you" or, "Can’t wait to see your smiling face," or, "This city is so lovely, I would love to share it with you someday."
5. Before you leave, hide funny or loving notes in different places that she will find. It might be inside one of her shoes, under her slips, etc. This can also work the other way around.
6. Leave her with a treasure hunt. Each day you text her a clue where to find something special from you. They could be little notes or small gifts that are funny or special. It is best if they are not expensive that way she will not feel you are buying her acceptance of your traveling. She’ll know you are doing this because it helps you think about her every day, and that you want her to think about you every day.
7. Together, write a continuing story. Each day you alternate writing a paragraph. Even though you are busy all day, you can always find five or 10 minutes before collapsing into bed.
8. Play chess or checkers by computer or smartphone, where you each make one move a day. Again, you can always find five or 10 minutes before bedtime to do this.
9. Leave funny or loving messages on the phone (so she can hear your voice) when you know she will not be there. If you have a newer smartphone, you can record a short video message and send it.
10. Take turns having a joke or story for each other on alternate nights. If you're finding inspiration difficult, check out the news or find an upcoming event to talk about. You can also discuss ideas for date night when you return home.