How to Thrive When One Spouse is Traveling Solo

For many couples, it’s difficult to fathom either of you traveling on your own after you get married. Especially during the early years of marriage, it feels almost painfully essential to remain in one another’s presence at all times. And while it’s ideal for you to be able to travel together as often as possible, there will be times when one of you travels alone, and the other stays home.

Some couples are perfectly comfortable with this idea; others are not. Today, we’re going to give you some tips for helping your relationship thrive when one of you is on the road (or in the air) alone.

Before the Trip

Get it All Out in the Open: If you’re feeling uneasy about the fact that you or your spouse is going to be traveling solo in the near future, get that out in the open. Have an honest conversation with your spouse about your nervousness, and come up with a game plan to alleviate as much of that anxiety as possible. Simply discussing the things you’re feeling worried about can take a huge amount of pressure off both of you.

Tie Up Loose Ends at Home: Work together to make sure everything will be taken care of at home during the trip. If you have kids, make sure to line up adequate childcare so there will be plenty of help available for whichever of you is staying home. Stock the kitchen with disposable dishes and plasticware to reduce dish-washing, go grocery shopping beforehand, work together to get the laundry in order, and plan some meals ahead of time (make-ahead freezer meals can save a lot of time when you’re going it alone at home!).

Make a Communication Game Plan: Based on travel activities, obligations, and scheduling, make a game plan with your spouse when it comes to communicating regularly with each other. If you’re traveling to a conference or work-related event and you know you’ll have limited talk time, let your spouse know up front and make sure to be available via text message to keep the lines of communication open.

During the Trip

Pretend You’re Dating Again: Remember that old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? And remember your dating days, where you would pine for one another when you were apart? You couldn’t wait to hear one another’s voices, and you savored each phone call. Enjoy messaging and talking to one another when you’re able to.

Share Good News: When you communicate with each other, be sure to exchange positive experiences from the road and from home. Give your good energy to one another, even while you’re separated. Be happy for one another, and cheer each other on. Being supportive and pleasant when you talk goes a long way toward making each travel experience just a little bit easier. (But, as always, lend an ear, some positive affirmations, and a giant dose of empathy for your spouse if they’re having a difficult time–at home or on the road.)

Anticipate Your Reunion: There’s something so special about the anticipation that builds as you get closer to seeing one another again after a time of being apart. Share that anticipation with each other. Let your spouse know you miss them, and that you’ll be so happy when you’re back home together. Make plans for the homecoming; a romantic evening together could be just what you need to unwind from the time apart.

After the Trip

Enjoy One Another: You made it through the trip! Now is the perfect time to refocus on each other. Take some extra time to lavish attention on one another and enjoy being together again. If you have kids, plan a special family outing to celebrate all of you finally being home. Or go out on that special date night you’ve been dreaming about.

Talk About Next Time: What worked? What didn’t? How can you work together to make the next time easier for both of you? Chat about how things went, both on the road and at home, and look for ways to alleviate any issues that came up during the trip. Then, next time there’s an opportunity for travel, things will go more smoothly than ever!

Do you or your spouse travel solo? How do you keep things fresh, exciting, and positive? We’d love to see your tips in the comments!

17 Comments

  • Kathryn says:

    I’m getting ready to travel tomorrow. And, I don’t often go by myself. This email was one of those ” coincidences” 😊 I am seeing the more I get closer to the Lord. Thank you. I tried to tie up all the loose ends on the home front will leave a love note for him to find when I’m gone.
    When we were dating long distance my husband ( boyfriend at the time) would leave notes and scripture quotes in my Bible.

  • GayMarie Vaughan says:

    My husband works away from our home most of the year. This list is spot on!

  • Na'Tasha Leavell says:

    This is really helpful but my question is how can this apply when one spouse is incarcerated?

    • Laura Osterman says:

      Altough your are separated, there are letters and phone calls to encourage each other. He can build you up with encouragement. You both can express love and commitment to each other. Keeping him informed of the day to day goings on in your life will help him to stay connected with you. There are also visits, that would reunite the two of you.

    • shelly says:

      Hi while my husband was incarcerated I left a message on the answering machine that said something like after the pause– YES I accept the charges, and he could always leave a message if I was out of town or just not home yet. I always tried to be there but this was our way of still hearing from each other if I couldn’t answer. I also gave him the code to listen to the messages and I could then leave a more detailed message of where I was and how I was doing. I traveled with my job during that time. I know it’s hard but visit him as often as you can and write letters as much as you can too. All this really helps.

  • Cheryl B says:

    …and one more thing, when you’re away and your spouse is struggling in some way, don’t say “Buck up honey!” hahaha… 😉

    • Mike B says:

      So true! I made the mistake of offering my wife correction on how to correct our kids. Bad mistake! She was only sharing with me her struggles so men, let your wife share her struggles without correcting. Assure her and let her know everything will be alright even if you don’t totally agree on a point. In addition, talk and realize that there is adjustment time when the traveling spouse comes back into the house. The spouse at home has been running the house, so don’t just assume normal duties as if you were never gone. New systems may have been put in place so have grace for each other.

  • Lyndegirl says:

    Leaving tomorrow to visit our kids out of state. Hubs is staying home to work. This couldn’t have been timed better for me. Hoping to relieve some anxiety before I board. Thanks.

  • Kim says:

    My husband of 30 years is a truck driver. At times he was gone for MORE than I had wanted him to be. It was difficult when my girls were little. But it drew me so much closer to the Lord. I knew the Lord was taking care of him on the road and also us at home.

  • Another option? says:

    I understand that sometimes it is necessary to travel alone, and my husband and I used to travel alone quite frequently, he went on work-related trips, and I went to help my aging parents. We ended up in two separate worlds. One of the best decisions we’ve made is to be determined to travel together whenever possible. Now we are engaged in each others’ lives and our marriage is so much closer. (Plus it takes away temptations that he has had to view porn while I was gone.) It has been financially difficult sometimes, but we feel that God will provide, somehow. And our family and friends think we’re rather strange to always want to travel together. And yet, they seem to admire our decision.

  • Mark Frink says:

    We have found that Skyping each other at the end of the day is a great way to catch up. Seeing each other is much better than just talking. This can be done from any hotel room using your smartphone, tablet or computer and the cost is $0.00. When we can, we also try to Skype at the start of our day and read a chapter from the bible and pray together. This helps us tremendously.

  • Lea Ann says:

    I have tremendous anxiety about my husband traveling. Besides the usual that it seems most people have, he did some things on his last trip that he lied to me about. Further, although he is with his son, nephews, and brother-in-law I absolutely DO NOT trust the other men on the trip. I’ve seen their behaviors in the past and know, without a doubt, that he could do anything he wanted to do and not one of the would say a word to him to try to get him not to do something wrong. In some instances, they would encourage him. In addition, I struggle greatly with the fact that I moved across the country to marry him; giving up family time with my parents, grandchildren, and siblings but his reason why he always goes on this trip is “We’ve been doing it a long time”. Well, what about the things I did for a long time with my family and I no longer am able to do. It’s interesting that this email came today; he’s leaving tomorrow for the annual golf trip with the guys in his family. His oldest son does not go, recognizing that he is in a new marriage and needs to stay home with his wife and children. I am filled with anxiety, fear, and dread. I hate this about our marriage. It’s so bad that I went for a routine doctor’s appointment yesterday and my heart rate was up to 147 so the doctor had one of her nurses walk with me over to urgent care because she didn’t want me walking alone – and it’s documented on paper from the doctor’s office – yet he hasn’t even suggested the possibility of staying behind. The situation with my heart is not something I caused – I didn’t even know it was high until they took my heart rate 3 different times in the doctor’s office. I’m so sad about this that I don’t know what to do. I’m a Christian and pray daily. I’ve asked Jesus to lift this anxiety from me but it’s still there. I just want to go into a deep sleep until this is over.

    • VJ says:

      What you’re going through is understandable. There’s so much anxiety, because of fear, and lack of trust. Your situation is not easy. Hang on there. Try to focus on things you have control of, rather than on things you have no control of. When your husband is back home with you, try to get involved with things your husband love doing. Try to learn golf.

  • Great blog my friend 🙂

  • Melinda says:

    In the past few months, I have had to travel often for my job. Before each trip, I put together a challenge/scavenger hunt for my husband to do while I’m away. I leave notes, clues, snacks (important!), and things for him to do (movie, puzzle, game) while I’m away. It makes both of us feel like my presence is still at home, even though I have to be away.

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