This title is inspired from a book that my daughter has, Tackling Dad. So we were having a nice talk with my husband one fine afternoon and we remember how God has always been faithful each time He brings us to new places that entail bigger responsibilities and challenges. That each time He does it, He also brings us all to a new level of relationship with Him. Not that I didn’t quite experience it before the way I do so now, but as we grow in our walk with Him, He continues to discipline us, refine us, prune us, so our goal is to let Him accomplish His purpose in our lives , not only as individuals but also as a family. And the bonus is, there are always wonderful surprises along the way!
Funny in that talk, we also remembered how God has granted our desires for travels. I am glad, we both love to travel , knowing that it is the best teacher not only for geographical and cultural appreciation but more so in our dynamics as a family “team”! The preparations don’t come easy (budget is a primary concern), we sometimes had petty arguments on where best to eat or if I’d rather be spontaneous and just go by what I fancy without sticking to the plan. Clearly, my husband’s leadership is cemented in times like this! But I am glad he always does, though he occasionally gives in to what I “suddenly” like (as long as it is reasonable – read – within the budget and time-frame). But generally, we are the backpacker type of tourists – we choose to have fun over the fancy. (But if you can have both, praise God!). I’d like to think that we have mastered the art of traveling light – both in our physical and emotional baggages!
In my husband’s simple prayer that he has written down in 2007, he asked God to let him be able to see all the continents before he turns 40. Just a whimsical thought, one can say, but true enough, in His perfect timing, God has been granting my husband’s desire, one continent at a time. Left to be discovered are the opposite continents of the world – Antarctica and Africa! I am with my husband in this wonderful adventure. I had only been in 1 continent , traveling in the region, but I don’t dismiss what my husband tells me – that he prays he can also take me to where he has traveled and maybe someday, we can go together in those 2 left.
So let me go back to the title of this post – how do i tackle a traveling husband? I have friends who have OFW spouses but this one’s for a short-term , momentary separation. In our case, 2 weeks to a month.
Here are some notes:
1. Cover him in prayer. Everyday. If you are a wife reading this, and haven’t started to seriously pray for your husband , there is a guide to a daily prayer for him in this previous post . More so with the physical distance that separates us, I pray that he will always be guarded in his thoughts, words and actions. He will be deeply rooted in prayer and will enjoy his quiet moments with God so that all his plans and tasks for the day will be successful, his burden lightened and each will turn into a delight. Pray he will firmly say No to temptations – thoughts or actions that will not edify our marriage and honor God. There will always be a way out.
2. Make use of technology. If he’s traveling to a foreign country, mobile phone roaming service may be activated . Just make sure you will know all the details from your provider such as their partner-telecoms in the foreign country and the other charges for incoming and outgoing calls and incoming SMS. Most offer FREE outgoing SMS. But to us, Gmail and Skype are our ever-reliable partners. FB has just entered in the scene but since we aren’t Apple users, we don’t enjoy Facetime. Make the social network your ally . 🙂
3. Plan. My husband does all the planning for his trip – what to bring, what to wear and other tiny details that I am glad I don’t have to think about. My only role would be to ensure all his medicines, emergency drugs will be in full supply so he doesn’t end up in ER , God forbid, due to a foreign drug that he has taken. Our bodies are attuned to certain types of Paracetamol, Mefenamic, Antihistamine and even Vit C brands. What else do I do? I study. I google and pitch in whatever I can to make the travel (at least, look) easier – the people , the weather, just about anything! My husband loves it when I give him ideas , because I care. My daily household plan is in place too, knowing he will be gone for a certain time.
4. Don’t get comfortable with the separation. This may come negative, but we have discussed this beforehand. There was a time in our lives that the traveling comes easy. The momentary separation becomes the norm, and we almost feel comfortable and okay with the set-up. We know what we value in the family. Don’t get me wrong, I have full respect to those who have OFW husbands, I have several wife-friends whom I truly admire for they were able to hold fort and manage home on their own. I respect their choice, but if there’s a chance to speak to them, we tell them to have at least, an “exit ” strategy for the husband so they be reunited soon. To us, it is a decision because we are careful in fortifying the wall of protection for our marriage and our family. That is why, we keep in touch , if possible, daily, making use of technology so we keep the connection. Our kids don’t love it when dad is always traveling. Yes, we rejoice when opportunities like this comes, we get to appreciate the scenery and the wonderful people that he has met and work with in other parts of the world, but we still all miss the physical connection. Don’t give the enemy a chance to steal, kill and destroy what God has built in your marriage. Since most of his travels are work-related, whenever there is a chance to go with him, I go. And I am praying for that!
And so tomorrow , he will turn 38. In New Zealand. Didn’t I tell you God has given him a wonderful birthday surprise?
“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? …” Isaiah 43:18a