In November, 1990 a group of PWs from various organizations met together for a monthly fellowship meeting. We talked about the problems we faced when our husbands were traveling. Some interesting problems were voiced in our small group.
The most common problem had to do with the shifting of roles when our husbands were going in and out. How the husband and wife responded to the separations greatly effected the adjustments they made. One lady’s husband had been gone on a three month trip. She gave him a week or more to ease back into his role as head of the home because she was sensitive to his need to unwind before picking up the reins again. For another family the husband needed to quickly resume his role. He felt he no longer had a place in his own home when she carried on as she had been while they were apart. One wife whose husband was gone frequently for short periods found that the children were confused by the role shifts. It was necessary for her to continue making the decisions and disciplining the children for the first twenty-four hours or so after his return. This gave the children a sense of security in an otherwise disrupted schedule.
Sleeping was another common problem. Fear made it hard for one wife to sleep at night. She thought she had her fears successfully hidden from her children, but soon realized that her fears did affect them. The Lord gave her scriptures to calm her heart and build her faith in God’s care for her and her family while her husband traveled. Another wife, not wanting to sleep by herself, had pajama parties with her kids while her husband was away. They all enjoyed the special closeness and it solved her sleeping problem when he traveled. One lady worked late into the night so she was tired enough to sleep soundly. Sometimes exhaustion is a blessing; we’re just too tired to worry!
A couple of the ladies made special plans for the times their husbands were away. By planning to do things they ordinarily didn’t have time for, they looked forward to the times of separation instead of dreading them. Another lady got release from her bitterness about her husband’s travel when she saw that she was giving her “best” (her husband) to the Lord’s work. She became an active part of her husband’s work by “giving” him instead of feeling he was being “taken” from her.
Why is it that the kids seem to break their arms or the snakes come in while our husbands are gone? One lady felt she and her family had been under the enemy’s attack. As they stood against him together, they saw a reduction in these kinds of trials. One young wife said she had seen God’s grace poured out on her in those times and that she had grown so much in her dependence on God. She prays to be the kind of example of Christian womanhood that her daughters need.
We all agreed that it was easier to deal with necessary separations than ones we felt were unnecessary. It was important to us that we, as wives, had some part in praying, discussing, and preparing for the trips our husbands made. When we felt a part of the decision it was easier to live with the consequences of the separations. Each family had arrived at different lengths of time they felt they could handle being apart. But the common thread was our need to really be “together” when we were together and supportive when we must be apart.
As you can see we had some very different responses to these common experiences, but we all were encouraged by sharing our hearts and experiences with each other. We learned other ways to handle the difficulties we faced and were challenged to see God’s grace in these special times.
How do you deal with your husband’s necessary absences? If you have some answers or experiences that you would like to share, we would like to hear from you. Please email:Diane.