Let’s face it: husbands who travel for work can be a strain on a marriage. Being away from each other can cause a lot of difficulties in a marriage. Whether you travel once a week, once a month, or once a year.
The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to stay connected with your spouse while you are out of town. The tips below for husbands (and wives!) will give you helpful advice. You’ll find it useful, regardless of your situation: dual income family, single income family, kids, no kids.
Let me preface this post with the fact that Josh and I have first-hand experience with this topic. Most of what is listed below are ideas that we have implemented ourselves. They have helped us get through any work travel he’s had to do and we hope they’ll help you too!
- Effects of traveling for work on a marriage: the traveling spouse divorce rate
- Husbands who travel for work
- Wives with husbands who travel for work
- How to deal with husband traveling for work
- How to deal with a spouse that travels for work
- Stay connected throughout the day when your spouse travels for work
- Lonely when your husband travels
- Anxiety when your husband travels
- Be supportive when your husband travels for work
- Give yourself a break and practice self-care
- Trusting a traveling husband
- Other considerations
Effects of traveling for work on a marriage: the traveling spouse divorce rate
ABC News wrote an article on the traveling spouse divorce rate. They found that “spouses of travelers filed 16 percent more claims than did spouses of non-travelers.” Frequent travel can cause stress and disconnection in one or both spouses. That’s why it’s so important to connect while husbands travel for work. It can put a lot of strain on a marriage.
Husbands who travel for work
Husbands, I want to talk to you first. There seem to be so many resources online for wives, mothers, and women in general. So I wanted to focus on your needs and advice first. I’ll address the wives later in the post.
*Note: To avoid repetition, anything marked with an asterisk can be directly applied to wives. Therefore, these items will only be mentioned in the husbands’ section.
Ways to connect before you leave
Here are some important things you can do before your work trip to make the whole thing easier on both of you:
- Write your wife a note – It can be sweet, funny, thoughtful, etc. Just make sure it’s from the heart! *
- Schedule some alone time with your wife – It can help recharge you and get you ready for the craziness ahead. Need something easy? Try a box from DateBox Club or Crated with Love.
- Practice self-care – Taking care of yourself is important to fostering a deep connection with your wife. If you’re not doing well, you won’t be fully present in your marriage. *
Note: #2 and #3 can also be used after the work trip is over. If you have a date planned or something relaxing scheduled for yourself, it will give you the encouragement you might need to get through the trip.
Stay in touch throughout the day *
I know, you’re busy. Trust me, your wife is too. But it takes 5 seconds to send a text to say “I love you.”
If that’s all that you have time for, great. If you have a few more minutes, catch your wife up on what you’re doing.
Even a simple, “That meeting went way too long. Going to lunch now.” text might just mean the world to your wife. It will make her feel like she’s there with you and it will let her know that you’re thinking of her.
If you get another minute, take the time to write down 1 or 2 unique things about your day to tell your wife later that night. *
Begin each day with “good morning” and end each night with “good night”
And while you’re at it, add in an “I love you”. Even if you are rushing in the morning for that big meeting, you can still send a quick text.
Ways to connect when you’re done with work and back at the hotel
If you have kids, I’m assuming they’ve gone to bed by this time and your wife has a moment to breathe and give you a call. If so, here are some awesome ideas:
- Do some conversation starters
- Have a drink together
- Listen to music together
- Watch a show/movie together – You can talk on the phone or text while you watch from your laptop and she watches at home. Make sure you tell your wife when you’re about to hit “play” so she knows when to start it. That way, you get to experience it at the same time.
- Play a music game where you each play the beginning of a song and see if the other can guess which one it is
- Play a game on your phone together
- Reminisce – Think of some fond memories of your past together
- Talk about your goals
- Talk about your future – Where do you see your family in 5 years?
- Start (or add to) a bucket list
- Ask about your wife’s day
- Vent about your day
- Ask your wife if she needs to vent – Be supportive and listen if she does.
- Acknowledge each other’s strengths: Husbands: “You’re doing a great job keeping your cool through all of the kids’ tantrums.” Wives: “You’re working really hard on this new project, despite all the stress it’s put on you. I’m impressed.”
Remember that just because your wife isn’t traveling doesn’t mean she’s not working hard. Especially if you have kids, she’s going to have her hands full while you’re gone.
Try to find one small thing you can do to help her before you leave. Maybe you notice the trash is overflowing: take it out before you leave. That one small gesture might mean the world to her.
Be honest and give yourself a break if you need it *
Traveling for work takes a lot of effort (planning, packing, driving/flying, etc.). Be honest with yourself and your wife. It’s great to connect while you’re traveling but if you need a night to yourself to decompress after a particularly grueling day, please speak up.
Your wife loves you and chances are, she needs to unwind too and doesn’t mind the breather. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll find it all the more difficult to connect with your spouse.
Wives with husbands who travel for work
How to deal with husband traveling for work
Ok, wives: I’m talking to you now. Most of the advice above can be applied directly to you so I won’t repeat it. (See all the asterisks – that means you can do it too!) I’ll devote this section to dealing with your specific needs and how you can help your marriage thrive while your husband travels.
How to deal with a spouse that travels for work
It’s important to note that if your wife is the one traveling (and you as the husband are staying home), everything below still applies to you. Do your best to take care of yourself and be open and honest to your wife about how you are feeling.
Stay connected throughout the day when your spouse travels for work
When your husband travels for work, you can apply the advice given to the husbands above. However, remember to be flexible. Your husband might have an after-work dinner or need to catch up on some paperwork from the hotel room.
Some days, all you’ll get is a quick “I love you” phone call or text. Hopefully, you’ll have days/nights where there will be more connecting. If you do, allow those times to help get you through the days when communication is sparse.
Lonely when your husband travels
Dealing with loneliness when your spouse travels can be difficult. I’ve personally dealt with loneliness during Josh’s work travel before we had kids and since.
Obviously, before kids, I truly was alone. But the surprising thing is that I still experience loneliness even now that we have kids. The fact of the matter is that talking to a 4-year-old is not comparable to talking to an adult, let alone your spouse.
My point is that you can become lonely very quickly and easily.
So what do you do to combat loneliness when your husband travels for work? The answer is simple: surround yourself with people. Call your mom (she’ll appreciate it!) or a friend, schedule a playdate (this helps both you and your kids!), or just get out of your house.
I’ve even found that simply going to a store and walking around helps me feel less lonely. Just being around other people can help combat loneliness.
Exercise is another great way to help with this. You can do yoga to help you meditate or go on a walk to get some fresh air. Regardless, move your body and get those endorphins running! If you have kids, include them in your workout. Make it fun for everyone.
And remember, your husband comes back so your loneliness won’t last forever!
Anxiety when your husband travels
You hold down the fort when your husband travels for work and that can come with a lot of anxiety. If you have kids, you are solely responsible (unless you have family help) for their well-being.
And if anything goes wrong, you have to take care of it: Your husband can’t watch the kids while you clean up your cat’s vomit because he’s sick…again. You can’t tag team bedtime routines. You can’t go rest if you’re sick. The list goes on and on.
I completely understand because I’ve been through a lot of different scenarios while Josh has been gone for work. His #1 advice for when he is gone is simple: all that matters is that everyone is safe. If you focus on that being your biggest (and let’s face it, sometimes only) priority, then you’ll have a much easier time with your anxiety.
Be supportive when your husband travels for work
Remember to support your husband through his travels. What does he need help with the most?
Think of something small you can do to help him. Maybe you could pack his bathroom items or wash his laundry before he packs so he has clean clothes to choose from. He’ll feel like you’re a part of the trip.
Be your husband’s rock. Traveling for work is tough. Ask your husband what the travel is like. Does he like it? What parts are good/bad? Does he wish he could travel less?
Go deep but don’t stop there. When he’s having a bad day, remind him of things he likes about traveling for work. (Maybe he loves hotel breakfasts!)
If he hates to travel but there’s no way around it right now, support him by reminding him that his travel is helping to support your family. And you are beyond grateful for that!
Don’t be afraid to ask for his support when you need it. Chances are he’ll appreciate that you spoke up and allowed him to help.
Give yourself a break and practice self-care
Ok, so maybe the kids watch a little extra TV or the laundry doesn’t get done. When your husband is traveling for work, don’t try to go above and beyond. This is not the time. It’s absolutely ok to give yourself a break in any way you need it.
Make sure you take care of yourself. What is something that would make you feel better?
I usually order from a favorite restaurant. It’s nice to enjoy some delicious food that I didn’t have to cook. Pick something, even if it’s small, and let yourself enjoy it.
When our daughter was born and I was overwhelmed with taking care of a newborn and a 4-year-old, I booked a babysitter for when Josh traveled.
And you know what? I wouldn’t even leave the house! My daughter was still so young and I felt more comfortable being close by. I just wanted to lay in bed and relax. So that’s what I did. It helped me feel recharged and motivated to get through the rest of the days Josh was away.
Trusting a traveling husband
If your husband travels for work, you might worried about what he is doing while he travels.
Trust in a marriage is so important to have. If you can’t trust your husband when he travels for work, you need to consider why. What steps can you take to increase your trust in him? Would more communication help? Would knowing his schedule make you feel better?
“My husband travels a lot for work”
Have you talked to your husband about how much he travels? Is there any way he can cut back on some traveling?
It might do your marriage some good to establish some marriage boundaries around your husband’s work travel. Here are some ideas of boundaries you can have that might help:
- Discuss work travel as soon as it is scheduled
- Speak up if work travel is becoming a burden on either spouse
- Discuss how you will stay connected during work travel
- Discuss how the stay at home spouse will cope when they are lonely
“My husband travels for work and I hate it”
Do you hate it when your husband travels for work? Why? The first step is to understand how you are feeling. Get to the root of your emotions.
Next, talk to your husband. Tell him how you feel.
If you can’t talk to your husband about his work travel, you might need to first take a look at the emotional intimacy in your marriage. Here are some signs that your marriage is lacking in emotional intimacy.
If this is turning to be a heated topic, you might need to consider working on your conflict resolution skills.
How much travel is too much?
There is no right answer to this question. For some couples, the answer might be that traveling once a month is too much. For others, it might be once a week.
The point here is to figure out what works for you and your spouse in your marriage. How can you strengthen your marriage despite all of the travel?
If you find that your marriage is suffering, implement the advice above. It might be time to admit that your spouse is traveling too much.
Remember to be honest with each other and work through this. Great marriages didn’t start out great. They became great because they worked together through the rough patches.