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Keeping Your Marriage Together When Travel Has You Apart

By Dennis Rainey

Have you heard the old saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? I think that saying misses the mark. If anything absence can make the heart wander. In reality any problems you experience when you are together are exacerbated when you are separated by travel. And our adversary uses these problems to diminish your oneness.

To disarm travel-related issues—and this is critical—it’s critical for the two of you to agree that the work necessitating the travel is important and God’s plan for both of you and for your family. If after prayer and discussion you both agree that the job is God’s will, then dealing with the stress and inconvenience will be easier.

With that said, here are some ideas that can reduce the damaging effects of business travel on your marriage:

Planning and preparation

As much as possible, don’t leave packing and preparation until the last few hours at home. If you’re rushed and feeling stressed, the chances of upsetting your spouse and provoking conflict rise steeply.

If conflict or an argument (been there, done that) occurs, do your best to resolve tensions before you leave. The next best thing is to call from the airport or to stop immediately along the highway at your first opportunity. Say those powerful words: “I’m sorry.” Don’t let a negative situation fester.

When you say goodbye, always kiss, hug, and say tender words from your heart. Leave a memory that speaks loudly of your love and commitment.


It’s not rocket science to understand that separation is the worst part of the road warrior scene. Probably the best communication tool for the road warrior remains your cellphone. Texting is okay, but then your spouse can’t hear your voice. When I’m gone I try to call home once a day; when we were raising our children I tried to do it more often if there was a lot happening with our family. And if I’m in my hotel room when I call Barbara, I turn the television off—no ESPN with the sound muted!

Don’t forget the ultimate communication method—prayer, which is a superb way to end to each phone conversation. As much as prayer binds you together when you are at home, it’s needed more when you are separated.


Every person on the road has come back after dinner to a sterile hotel room and thought, Oh, man, I wish I could be home. I feel so lonely. It can be a time of real vulnerability. The tempter will attack.

Cling to God’s truth as you confront any desire to sin. Remember this promise found in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

To keep from feeling lonely, be with people … but be careful about the company you keep. The verse “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33) is not just for teenagers battling peer pressure.

A friend gave me this idea: Take a bit of “home” with you by packing a framed picture of your spouse and setting it on the stand beside your bed in the hotel room. It will remind you of your love and commitment.

Dealing with temptation