Although he's self-employed, my husband's work requires him to travel a good bit. As the spouse that stays home, I know what it’s like to be alone and juggle all the balls needed to keep a family clicking along for extended periods of time. (I have tons of respect for single moms and military families for whom this is the norm.)
When my husband first started his business about six years ago I knew it might involve a lot of travel. And I was NOT happy. One of his first big projects involved him being away for nine weeks. I dreaded it. If throwing a full-blown temper tantrum would have changed his mind about going, I would have thrown one. A big one.
For the first year or so, I had a hard time with his travel schedule. Plus, one might say I had a wee little problem with selfishness. During and after his travels often anger, resentment and feelings of being put-upon reared their ugly heads. Then, before Dan left on a seven-week trip, I pleaded with God to help me through his absence. Lord, guard my heart. Give me understanding and patience. Help me to persevere as both mother and father. Let me support my husband in the way he deserves to be supported. And use this experience to strengthen our marriage...and our family.
Do you know what? God answered that prayer. Almost to the letter. (I know because I wrote the prayer down.) Since then, while I don’t always enjoy my husband traveling, I thank God He's replaced my anger with pride and allowed me to step up as a team player.
That is . . . until today.
Dan’s away for a few weeks, out west on business. So while I toil away, wilting in the hot, humid weather here, he’s in "God's country"—
“Sorry I didn’t call tonight – didn’t get to my room until about 11:30 your time. Will call during my LOOONNGG drive tomorrow.”
"Just getting started...WOW!"
Then they made me jealous.
He’s supposed to be driving like a fool, not doing a tour of national parks. National parks I want to see!
"It's like a freaking roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon!”
“Delicate Arch. You guys HAVE to see this!!"
Then he got cocky and just started to rub it in! This is a business trip. Not a vacation!
“Ho hum...another amazing view...plus this crappy car they make me drive.”
By the sixteenth update, I had lost my joy.
And then this morning (where he's working at a Land Rover Center) I received this one:
“It gets better...you'll never guess who showed up this morning to have a flat tire fixed. This lovely Range Rover-owning couple from
Chris Evert and Greg Norman?! Are you kidding me? That’s it. That’s the final straw! I typed my reply: “OK, now I REALLY hate you!”
Of course I’m kidding. Sort of.
I want to be out there having fun, too. But, I'm so thankful Dan loves doing what he does. . . and that he has a job at all. Plus I see how hard he works most of the time, I'm glad to see him kicking back, having fun and being amazed by creation. (Plus, I know his being there will accelerate our family traveling out to see these sights.)
As I sit here, in my visually ordinary, suburban life, I thank God He’s changed my heart so I really can rejoice with my husband without any hidden agenda or simmering emotions. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s God’s gift to us as we walk through this life. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (4:13)
Thanks to Dan (and an iPhone) in my mind’s eye I marvel at the splendor of creation and in my heart I cherish the beauty of marriage.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)