My husband is a wind technician for a large energy corporation. He lives on the road. Although his domicile is California, he is gone 46 weeks out of the year. For the other 6 weeks we split it between vacations and being home.
Home is where the heart is. Well, actually, its where you pay taxes. When you live in California you certainly feel those taxes. Which is why he travels. The plan was to travel long enough to gain the experience necessary for a decent wage within our county. So far, things are going according to plan. However, two and a half years into the plan and with at least one and a half years to go, it hurts. This sucks. I appreciate my husband more. I find myself listening to his heartbeat and enjoying the smell of his salty skin when he is home. I bask in the warmth of his bear hugs and even stare at him while he sleeps.
It seemed like a no-brainer. We were veterans to this stuff. We endured 3 deployments and a whole lot of training missions apart. We would be able to pull this off without a hitch. Except, it was different. It hurt like hell. I had gotten used to him being home. This travel schedule meant he would be gone eight weeks, then home one week IF the job site let him. He would be on this rotation constantly for at least 3 years. We get it done. Its like a business. We just do it. I am no Stepford Wife and far from submissive. He is my partner in life and we treat everything in that way. That said, here is my advice.
Tips on a successful long distance marriage:
1. Sometimes you won’t hear from him. It could be three days before we talk by phone. Maybe in those three days I received two texts. Its OKAY. He’s working. THAT is the WHOLE POINT.
2. Trust with every bone in your body. This doesn’t work without trust. Yet, neither do deployments. We got over the trust thing a long time ago. If your marriage only works due to proximity, you may want to delve deeper into that.
3. Tell him about the little things. Sometimes a conversation can include how much I didn’t like the new coffee creamer I bought, to how many clients I brought on this month. He is still part of my day-to-day. Also, when talking be sure to take note of his circumstances. Many times I have wanted to talk for an hour but he was fresh off of a 14 hour day in 100 degree heat and he sounded annoyed. Take a hint.
4. Be cute. Send care packages. Send emojis. Send a boudoir shot. It keeps it alive. The nice thing about traveling is the anticipation of coming back. We figure out the next reunion date and count down.
5. Don’t overbook your together time. Firstly, deployments taught me that reunions are awkward. You’ve changed. Time has passed and initially you feel like strangers. So don’t have high expectations. Instead, I give him a day to decompress and rest from his travels. But, on day 2 I expect some personal attention. If it doesn’t happen I may go stark raving mad.
6. Don’t fill the void completely. Be content with being in solitude. It is peaceful and allows for awesome meditation. It is also when you should be calling him just to say you love him. If you fill the void, he may feel forgotten, and you will also miss out on a great opportunity to grow as a person.
7. Travel. Every other rotation I go to him. It is a cheap trip because his company covers the flight, I get a free room or we go somewhere near where he is working. We eat modestly and make it a point to see key landmarks. America is a beautiful place. The land of milk and honey – its worth taking a moment to breath it all in.
8. Choose a job that let’s you be present. This is a big one. Every eight weeks we get 7 days to be fully present with each other. I switched jobs so I could do that. Life is about the journey, not the destination. This doesn’t work if your husband is home and I am working for half of that time. That will start fights.
9. Keep your eyes on the prize. This can’t be a permanent situation. It is physically and emotionally draining. My health is impacted. As humans we are meant to cuddle, be intimate, smell our partners, etc. Make sure this is only a temporary solution with an end goal in mind.
10. Be adventurous. Be resourceful. Where there is a will there is a way.