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Friday, March 20, 2015

Practical ways to survive LOTS of travel time.

  There have been various times in our marriage when both my husband and I have agreed the traveling time for work has gotten to be too much. Actually, we are living in one of those times right now. Thankfully, we've learned some things in our marriage and one of those things is recognizing when something isn't right or isn't 'working well' and immediately (or as soon as possible) taking action to fix/change the situation. My husband has one more big trip next week and then changes will take place. Yay!!!

  In the midst of these busy travel times I need to be a supportive wife even though I don't particularly like the situation. I also need to be prepared to handle the household myself and I strive to do it with Grace and to the best of my ability without making my husband feel guilty for being away. I have to remind myself he doesn't like to travel a lot. It does get old. So, I do my best to not complain, but at the same time I so think it IS important to let him know he'll be missed and that it's hard when he isn't here. Just do that with loving words not a nagging, whining, complaining spirit.

  I've thought about this long and hard and I've come up with these practical tips for surviving the times when your spouse has to travel a lot.

#1 Simply life as much as you can during that time frame. What does simplifying look like to you? For me, it means not scheduling 'non urgent' appointments (i.e., dentist, pediatrician, etc.). It also means having a easier meal plan for that time frame (i.e., breakfast for dinner).

#2 Have dad remind the kids what he expects of them while he's away. For example, HELP MOM while I'm away! LOL!

  Seriously, though, I find that getting that direction from dad before he leaves does make an impact on the kids and I can also use that as a tool when behavior isn't so good. "Remember, what daddy said before he left? Would you like me to call him and tell him how you're acting right now?" Most of the time that's all it takes to make one of our kids stop and think and change their behavior.

#3 Let your spouse know you when it's 'just too much'. Put your needs into words. He can't read your mind. Recently, when it seemed traveling was ramping up a lot I spoke up and told DH. I took him a bit to process it and figure out how to make the changes, but eventually he came to me and said "You're right it HAS been ridiculous. I'm going to make some changes." I immediately felt heard and loved by him and I knew he really did understand because he admitted it and acted on it.

#4 Have a pep talk with yourself. Feed yourself positive thoughts. Thinking 'you're never going to make it through this trip' will NOT help you make it through this trip.

#5 Treat yourself. If you have a sitter or a child old enough to 'hold down the fort' for a little bit...take yourself out for a bit or go grab coffee with a friend. I usually do this when my husband is on a week long trip. Most of his trips are 2-3 days, but once every couple of months he goes on a trip for a whole week. Knowing his travel schedule in advance helps me know when to schedule coffee dates or just time to do a few errands, alone.

  These are the things I have found to be the most useful when my husband is 'in the air' a lot. Does your husbands travel ebb and flow like my husband does? Does your spouse travel a lot? What have you done that helps you SURVIVE? What have you found makes it a little easier?

  Share your thoughts in the comment box. I'd love to hear your ideas!

Friday, March 13, 2015

3 reasons to find a MENTOR COUPLE

  For years now my husband and I have had various couples we've spent time with on a regular basis.  Several of these couples have become what we like to call 'our mentors' and we always walk away from time spent with them saying 'THAT was fun!' Our time spent chatting, laughing, and going deeper as friends leaves us both feeling refreshed and fulfilled in many ways.
  Just last night we went out on a double date with a couple we've known for about 6 years. We use to get together with them more frequently, but in the last couple of years we've seen less of each other. Last night was perfect! I believe it's a true sign of a good friendship when you don't see each other as often as you'd like, but when you do finally get together you pick up right where you left off and it feels so natural and easy to communicate.
  DH and I walked away from our double date last night agreeing we LOVE getting together with other couples. There's something special about getting together with a married couple whose a 'step ahead' of where we are in our marriage/parenting journey. It's a give and take relationship and I think last night we both gave each other reasons to hope in the future of our marriage and a new sense of thankfulness for what we've been through that has shaped us into who we are as couples today.
  I came up with 3 reasons why every couple should take time to be mentored. Thank you, DH, for encouraging me to 'take it deeper.'

  #1. Encouragement and support. Every couple needs time alone, but also time with other like minded couples. 
  Couples can help encourage each other and support each other simply by talking about life's challenges in marriage, parenting, jobs, etc. By discussing topics that are of value to each couple we can all gain wisdom from our own experiences in life as well as hope in what's to come. Plus, a renewed energy in marriage comes from being inspired by each other. Other marriages can challenge us to keep pressing on and keep striving to become better spouses if we find those couples who we see eye to eye with and develop close friendships with them. As married couples we can help encourage and support each other by allowing ourselves to be open and honest with a few other couples.

  #2. Wisdom and Hope. All married couples have more to learn. 
  No marriage is perfect or ever will be. We've all had our bumps in the road and we're all learning as we go. If we have 2-3 couples we are especially close to and are willing to go deep with we can potentially learn from each other. Because each couple learns different lessons as life goes one; each couple brings different experiences and knowledge 'to the table'. So, as we spend time with other couples and get to know them on a deeper level we can learn from their mistakes and successes and in turn THEY can learn from us. It's important for these relationships to be give and take. Too much is lost if it's one sided in any way.

  #3. Unity in the community. Marriage is meant to be shared.
  We were created to be in relationships with other people. Through our healthy relationships we are drawn to deeper union with Christ and stronger bonds in our church community. The value in sharing your love as a couple with those around you is a lot bigger and more far reaching than you realize because you may not 'see' the fruits, but by being a positive example and in expressing genuine love and care for each other WE are ALL a light to the world. The reality that marriage is beautiful AND it's challenging...THAT reality needs to be shared in order to help form a community around all marriages and a witness to our faith community.

  Couples mentoring couples can have a positive effect on marriages.

  Do you know a couple you'd choose? Can you be 'that couple' for someone else?