The best advice I have heard for a traveling spouse…

I admit it.  There are some things that change around the Jones home when my husband travels. For years we would discuss this aspect in our marriage, and at times it was a sore subject.  Especially when my kids were little, the change of routine would mess them up.  But…the reality is, things do change when your spouse is gone.

Apparently, when I travel, my husband runs a tight ship.  Meals are planned, chores are assigned and the daily schedule is managed like a well run law firm. The dogs have their place (in the kennel and not on the bed), the kitchen is clean and everyone keeps the engine running.  Sure, there is time for play, there is time for Grandma’s house, but there is definitely a plan.

When my husband travels, I would say the house goes into more of a well run chaotic and dramatic state.  I mean, we have our routines, for example, we have a nightly time of hang out, girl talk, movies and fun… and we have our chores like how we are going to clean the house before Dad comes home, and we have our planned meals, like tonight we planned a getcha leftovers or you’re not going to eat, but the house runs a bit more loosely.

What can I say?  I have three girls and I am a bit of a freebird at heart, and when Steve goes away, things are managed by a woman who is comfortable with a flexible schedule and creative activities.

However, I must admit, I am always glad when my man steps back in. I like life best when he is home, and so do the kids.  We are a good balance for each other!

Right now we are in a season of travel. I just got home from Kenya and Stephen is on the road with concerts for Compassion.  Mercy Me is doing a tour and promoting Compassion’s Child Survival Program and well… Stephen’s job with Compassion is the Director of Music and Speakers (or something like that)  so….. we let him go and do his job.

It’s still hard sometimes to re-enter from travel. Every time one of us travels, there is a get to know ya stage again…maybe insecurity too. Travel makes us tired and grouchy, and we both get this way after being on the road.  But here is the best advice we have ever received…and it has helped us… A LOT.

Never criticize the parent that stays home.  Let it go.

That doesn’t mean the spouse that is home can go hog wild and neglect responsibility.

What this means is let it go if things weren’t done exactly as planned.  If the house isn’t perfect, the kids are a bit wild, the car has a dent and the cat is dead (yes, its happened).  Let it go cause you were gone.

Stephen and I have had to work hard at this for years.  It hasn’t always been easy for us, and we still have our moments.  But we are getting there, 19 years is all it took.  Maybe he gave up on trying to fix me and I gave up on changing him, but we have made it work.

I still like it best when he is home!

9 Comments on “The best advice I have heard for a traveling spouse…

  1. That is an awesome bit of advice. 🙂 Many Blessings on your travels and time together. I know it would be hard for me. I hate it when either of us travels without the other.

  2. This is a great reminder. My husband works for 5 weeks at a time and has to travel to Africa to get to his office. Needless to say, as much as I try and plan and schedule and try (did I say that?) things invariably fall apart.

    And he is so gracious to me anyway. Never mentioning the mess, the chaos, the undone.

    Me? I come home from the grocery store (when he’s home), and get upset at the shear volume of cracker crumbs on the table left from his snack (a snack he had to scrounge together because I hadn’t gotten to the grocery store prior to his return).

    “Let it go.”


    You should put that in print.

  3. Karen,
    You make me laugh, you and my husband are very similar in many ways. He has a million why questions when he gets home too. Many are random and he cracks me up. Good point that it is coming down from travel. You are loved!!

  4. the traveling spouse…..hilarous!!! I really like the adjectives used to describe the free flowing home front. I did laugh out loud many times throughout reading this and found myself in agreement on a few subjects. Especially the re-entry phase of being home. Since I travel more than the Wingman I often find myself so critical of the stupidest things. For example when he comes to pick me up at all hours of the day and night, I often think to myself, why is he bringing this car? Why is the heat on in the car? Why are there dishes in the sink? What about our agreement of a picked up house? That’s been a tough one for us, but through many converations about it and having him travel too, I realize that it’s just me coming down from my travels, missing him and missing being home.

    Nice to see we aren’t the only ones!!

  5. Aww.. I tease my husband all the time.
    So glad you got to the office, its a great tour. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a trip with Compassion and see those kids. It is worth the investment….and…if you can bring your family its all the better. Best thing I did for my kids and my sponsored kids. Yes, its money but the relationship that it builds is powerful beyond the dollars.

  6. Stephen’s job sounds interesting. (Do you ever tease him about being a roadie?) I will heed your advice when I come home to find pink socks in a houseful of men, because the red boxers infiltrated a washload of whites.

    If I haven’t said already–the Kenya blogs meant so much to us. I continue to follow the bloggers, to catch the additional posts about the trip. We sponsored our first Compassion kid (an LDP student from Kenya) in February, and at our house, March was all about Kenya. Now we sponsor Hannah (12) and Joseph (19) from Kenya, too. (Yes, as a result of an “ugly cry.”) We took the kids on a tour of Compassion HQ yesterday, and they are stoked to write letters to our Compassion family in Africa.

    Great job in helping lead the trip. Here’s me, waving the Bik flame on my iPhone, for PJ Freebird.

  7. Sage advice! So good to hear a veteran’s perspective.

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