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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
While 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?