Written by Doug and Polly White
Doug and Polly White are the principals of a management consulting firm and they are also very happily married. However, before they started their own company, they spent most of the first eight years of their marriage working apart in different cities. While absence makes the heart grow fonder, distance can put strain on your love life and being apart can be a huge challenge for couples and families. Developing techniques to bring you closer together while being physically apart can help. Here are some tips that helped Doug and Polly keep the fires burning across the miles.
Remember that business travel is not a vacation
Anyone who has spent significant time traveling on business will tell you that eating alone in restaurants or entertaining clients is not as enjoyable as time around the family table. Having the whole bed to yourself is actually lonely. Maid service is nice, but most would exchange a messy bathroom or unmade bed for a good-night kiss from their spouse.
Find ways to do everyday things together
We watched T.V. together. Hooray for phone plans that allow unlimited minutes! We would talk to each other, make comments about the show, or simply sit quietly and watch. The phone made it seem like we were sitting together rather than miles apart. In addition, Doug would call the home number each morning to wake Polly. She called him “her personal alarm clock."
Find ways to share special occasions
One Halloween Polly was out of town and Doug was home - a rare occasion. Polly loves Halloween and was upset to be missing the fun. Doug had a solution. He slipped the phone into his pocket as he greeted each child, saying things like, "What a pretty princess you are with your pink dress and sparkly crown." His running commentary allowed Polly to feel a part of the action.
Actively work on your relationship
Talk to each other and discuss your goals and dreams. Tell each other about important and unimportant matters. The point is to share more, not less. Make the other person fully involved in your life so that when they return, it will be as if they never left.
Make your reunion a joy
Don’t save up chores and problems for your reunion! Your time together is too precious. Likewise, when you return from travel, don't spend your time on activities that take you away from your family. Work hard to find a balance between must-do activities and time together. Have date night and family time. Make your time together special so that you can’t wait to see each other again.