Lessons from A Travelling Man

India

India

He’s traveled by car, airplane, taxi, boat and even sea plane. He’s been gone 10 days at a time, just overnight and over many weekends. He’s gone just to a neighboring state, to 5 cities in one week, and around the world (literally). He’s eaten alligator and chilled monkey brains (think Indiana Jones) and had the opportunity to eat dog and horse.

He skipped his own birthday once (courtesy of the International Date Line) but has never missed being home for our anniversary or my or either son’s birthday. I’ve met him in San Francisco, the Twin Cities and Waikiki. He’s brought back tea, coffee, t-shirts, baseballs and even a Kindle as surprises.

For the past 20 years, the whole of our marriage, my husband has been a travelling man.

When our relationship struggled, business trips provided both of us with much-needed space. As we both grew as people, we learned independence and individuality in ways that have made our relationship positively unique.

Singapore

Singapore

But most importantly, my husband’s travel strengthened our relationship in significant ways. The lessons learned from being married to a travelling man have helped define our marriage as well as formed some of our future aspirations.

  1. Two really do become one. When my husband travels, I just feel “off.” It’s like a part of me is absent even though there’s one less person to accommodate. We handle so much as one unit that suddenly handling life alone feels, well, lonely.
  2. Dependence on God is crucial. Because of the loneliness I feel when my husband is travelling, my dependence upon God has grown significantly over the years. While I definitely rely on my husband, he’s not my number one “go to” guy. At the same time, God uses him more than any other person to guide and protect me.
  3. Technology can be a really good thing. We talk about the kids, coordinate our calendars, talk about our days, complain and even flirt via email and text. Doing so seems to allow for deeper connection when we are face-to-face since the everyday matters of life have been dealt with already.
  4. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. When my husband is gone, I realize so much more of what he does not only around the house but about the value his presence adds to me as a person. In this way, distance creates a significant appreciation for who he is as an individual, a father and a husband.
  5. Home truly is where the heart is. When my husband returns from a trip, he always says “It’s good to be home.” His trips are usually very busy, filled with meetings and inadequate sleep. He’s just ready to relax on the couch and have a home-cooked meal. While I love to travel with him, I have learned that nothing will ever feel quite like being at home together.

2-15-13 beach writing2While I am usually the last person to use clichés (at least I try to be), even I can’t help but realize their truth when I consider how my husband’s travel has impacted my marriage over the past 20 years.

Our focus these days lies with enjoying our two junior high boys and anticipating the fun and excitement of their high school years. We’re focused on preparing them for college, careers and even marriages but mostly on how to live in all of those roles as strong, Christian men.

But my husband and I also know that when the boys are both out of the house, we want to fill at least some of that time traveling together. We truly enjoy travelling as a family and plan to continue that for many years to come, but we also know that travelling just the two of us brings unique opportunities as well.

DISCUSSION: How has travel impacted your relationships?

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14 thoughts on “Lessons from A Travelling Man

  1. My wife and I are in the opposite boat – I work from home so it seems we're always together. That definitely has its perks and challenges too – but you make some good points about travel. I could see the same principles for extended family as well.
    Your point on technology stuck out to me, though. What a great gift that you can stay coordinated and in communication through modern technology. Imagine how rough it would have been 40 years ago.

    • I do love being with my husband all day when he's able to take time off, and someday we home to make it a regular gig for us. I'll have to write a post about it when it happens. But you're right, it does present it's own unique set of challenges. Technology has helped tremendously, especially when he's busy with work and/or on a different time zone.

  2. I think it is great how you and your husband handle travel. I used to enjoy traveling for work but I do not really enjoy it anymore. I would rather be home. I am thankful at how easy it is to get in touch with everyone when I travel. It has been a blessing to travel when my family was able to go with me and I took my mom on one of my trips which was nice.

    • My husband does grow weary with travel at times, but he has developed friends he sees when he travels for work, and we do get to travel with him sometimes. With our boys getting older, they are able to go with him on trips sometimes too. That will create special one-on-one memories too. We just sort of make the best of the situation, because life is rarely ideal.

  3. Great perspective. I have been married 40 years this summer and there was a period of about 20+ years where I traveled extensively too. My wife and I have learned early to not take each for granted in the relationship. Quality v Quantity of time is the key! I know a lot of married people who struggle in their marriage and they share the same bed everynight. God bless you and your husband as you grow together even when a part. (Proverbs 31 has some great interspective on a good marriage)

    • Quality over quantity is a crucial point. My husband's busyness and travel have certainly taught us that. And we too see couples who have rarely been apart but seem continents apart. I actually did an online study on the Proverbs 31 Woman for my church's women's ministry, and we studied that perspective on marriage. Had not seen that aspect before the study, so it was enlightening & very helpful. (You can view it at <a href="http://www.newhopeladies.com” target=”_blank”>www.newhopeladies.com if you're interested.)

  4. I loved the study Kari! Some of you may know I now travel almost full time in a semi with my new husband. Together we live in a very small space and even when home we seem to draw to each other. I am blessed! It would be much harder if God were not a part of it. My daughter experienced the travel, we did for awhile, and we looked forward to the homecomings. For my daughter it was hard with 2 young children and in the end they did not make it. I believe marriage takes work and committment whether you are together every day or apart. but like you Kari when I am apart from him I feel "off".
    Nate and I spent hours on the phone as we were becoming friends and before we were married. I thank God for all those hours of talking, as we got to know each other so well.

  5. My husband has always traveled and it nearly always seems to be just the right amount for both of us. God's a good schedule planner. I very much appreciate that my husband is always home when he says he will be.

  6. I've been in Europe twice with Ellen remaining at home in Russia (the 1st time) and in Wisconsin (the 2nd time). The two trips were a decade apart. It amazed me the 2nd trip how easy to connect with Ellen had become. We talked via Skype every day (my morning, her evening) when I joined a short-term mission group to a Christian college campus in Germany.

  7. My husband doesn't travel at all, but it's good to hear about how you've kept your marriage strong, Kari, and how you honor your husband in the way you talk about him.

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