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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
How to stay connected when you are separated by travel
I just returned from a two-week trip to Europe for business. Before you proclaim your jealousy, let me say this trip involved 6 flights totaling 12,000 miles, 1200 miles by car, and another 400 miles by train. (I could throw a boat into the mix as well, if I included my Paris sightseeing river cruise!) I stayed in 10 different hotels and participated in a total of 18 meetings over the two weeks. Still jealous?
It feels really good to be home!
During this trip, my wife, Jenni and I remarked how well we were able to stay connected, despite the distance and time-zone separation. It prompted me to write about how we stay connected when one of us has to travel. I would love to get your ideas and tips as well.
Why It Matters
You may think that being separated for a few weeks is no big deal. I suppose if you compare it to over 30 years of marriage, a few weeks is not a long time. But for us, it was too long!
Jenni and I have discovered that we both weather the separation much better when we manage to stay connected through it.
Here are a few reasons I think it matters:
- It helps the spouse left at home cope with loneliness
- It helps the traveling spouse stay anchored in the love of the spouse back home
- It helps develop alternate communication skills and methods
- It helps maintain intimacy and the emotional connection between you
- It makes the homecoming sweeter, with less time spent getting back in sync
There's really no magic to staying connected during times of physical separation. For the most part it just takes a little effort and attentiveness.
Here are a few things we do to maintain intimacy when one of us has to travel.
- Send a quick text whenever you change venues: "Just got to the hotel in Düsseldorf." "Landed in Copenhagen."
- Make sure your spouse has at least a short email to wake up to. This is especially helpful across time zones, and helps with those hours where on of you is "out of contact" due to the time change.
- Ask how you can pray for each other, and do it.
- Use a private messaging app (We use Couple, but I hear that Avocado is also good). It allows you to send more intimate notes and pictures in a secure and private manner.
- Clue each other in on your plans each day and report significant happenings.
- Use Skype, Google Chat, FaceTime or other video chat program for a little face--to-face time when time and your Internet connection will allow it.
So now you know why I haven't posted in a few weeks. In case you are curious, you can click here to see a map of my European adventure.
Do you or your spouse have to travel frequently or for extended periods? We would love to hear how you keep in touch across the miles (or kilometers as the case may be!). Leave a comment!
photo credit: rrraven / 123rf.com
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