I used to get frightened on those nights when my husband traveled.
For the first 13 years of our marriage he traveled off and on. Some months were worse than others. I remember one particular October he was gone 18 days that month alone. May was the worst month of all. I always dreaded May, the month he was on the road visiting all offices throughout the Pacific NW. There were barely enough days in the month for him to visit them all, so often times travels rolled over into June.
I was scared he would get in a car accident, a plane crash, or worse.
I would lie in bed at night and hear weird noises downstairs, outside on the property, and even down the hall.
I remember putting on a movie to try and distract myself, but all it really did was cause me to worry more.
If the plot of the movie had any form of disloyalty acted out, my mind would wander and eventually I would scare myself into a tizzy worrying that my husband would… cheat on me.
Here is some simple advice: Don’t watch a movie that will tempt you to doubt the faithfulness of your husband or of our God to faithfully watch over him.
One night, about seven or eight years into marriage, I remember hosting a friend whose husband worked with mine. Both our husbands were out of town on a company trip. That night she asked me, “Do you ever worry about Isaac when he travels? Or have a hard time trusting him?”
That’s when it dawned on me. I hadn’t worried for a while by then. But what was it that changed and enabled me not to worry as much?
I remember telling her that I had been reading a bunch of books on marriage at the time and that one thing that really convicted me was that my husband wasn’t my enemy. He was my team mate and that there was an enemy who wanted us to fight, who would do anything to try and break us apart, and that it was my responsibility to guard my heart from believing deceitful untruths about my husband.
After that talk I began paying close attention to the things that the enemy would try to tempt me in. And I would proactively prepare my heart, my home, and my marriage for those times when my husband had to travel so that I no longer struggled with fear.
I was motivated, because as I looked back on my younger self and my younger marriage, I saw distrust, anxiety, fear, and I saw an unsupportive wife who was making her husband feel guilty for doing his job. I would have a snotty attitude towards him for leaving instead of a helpful, trusting attitude. Instead of helping him by ironing his shirts and packing his clothes, I would argue with him about how much it stunk that he had to be gone, as if he could change the fact that he needed to go to the meeting. I look back and feel ashamed that I made it so hard on my husband.
He had never given me a reason to distrust him, yet my mind always went to the worst case scenario. When I couldn’t get ahold of him by phone, I was certain he was cheating on me. And the truth was, I felt like he was. I didn’t love being a stay at home mom. I had a martyrdom mom perspective. I felt sorry for myself instead of seeing it as a privilege and gift to be at home with my young ones every day.
The truth is I felt like he was cheating on me every time he sent me a picture of the view out his hotel window. I saw myself, no shower, still in yesterday’s yoga pants, taking care of sick little ones or what have you, while he was soaking up the sun in California and getting a full night of sleep.
The sad thing was that he was in a lose, lose situation with me. He couldn’t win if he did or win if he didn’t, because if he didn’t text me a picture or call me to tell me what he WAS doing, my mind would wander down other dangerous bunny trails. I would begin to think, “Why hasn’t he called? Where is he? It’s late…” You know the drill.
So how does one stop the anxiety, quit escorting her marriage down to controlville or guilthaven? How does one stop this insanity?
It begins with a strong identity in Christ.
It continues with a strong marriage trust founded in Christ and truth.
It can be enhanced with these simple practices…
Practices to Prepare Yourself and Your Marriage for When Your Man Travels
1. Prepare Yourself through honest prayer and understanding of who you are in Christ, your identity.
2. Prepare your marriage through prayer, intimacy, and setting boundaries for protection.
This may seem so obvious, but let’s face it, how many of us are honestly praying the way we should before our husband’s leave?
Let me explain. Yes, of course we need to be praying for our marriages and praying for our husbands to be wise, for the Lord to protect them and keep them pure. But what about confessing our sin to the Lord? What about honest prayer asking God to heal us and help us to trust our husbands and not be tempted to assume the worst in them? Have we each taken personal responsibility for our part and confessed it to the Lord in prayer?
A good ol’ honest prayer might look like this:Lord Jesus, I am ashamed of how I have treated my husband over the years. I fell for the devil’s trap and then I sinned. I confess I have had a competitive attitude toward my husband and I have been discontent with the life he was providing, and that You have provided for me and I am sorry. Will you forgive me for not trusting You and not being thankful for the gifts you have given me in my children and my husband? Jesus, thank you for your free gift of grace, help me to fully accept that even now as I am becoming more and more aware of my sins toward my husband and You. Help me to be more loving toward my husband, and help me to be supportive. Show me ways I can be a better team mate to my husband as he does his best to provide. I give all my fears to You, I verbally surrender my desire to have control over my husband and our marriage and ask you to help my heart and my actions to reflect true surrender of them to You. Amen.There is a power in praying together. If you are married to a praying man, praying together is powerful. In fact, because of how intimate prayer is, this one practice of praying together with your husband can sometimes be THE thing that can equip our hearts as wives to not deal with fear concerning marriage.
Prepare Your Heart for the Night.
What I mean by this is, nothing good ever seems to happen in the dark. Looking back, most of my fear and anxiety would occur at night. The days were busy, sometimes so busy, I wasn’t really taking the time necessary to get in the word and be strengthened in my identity of who I am in Christ. This is HUGE! When we are unconfident women, that is just when the anxiety or fear can set in and we can fall to believing a whole host of lies about who we are. WE lie in bed alone at night, thinking about how unhelpful and even persnickety we were to our husband before he left, or how we didn’t kiss before we said goodbye, and then all of a sudden we think he doesn’t want us anymore and he is cheating on us. This is not necessary and we can be protected from our mind wandering down this dangerous road by spending more time in prayer, by putting on the full armor of God from Eph. 6.
Be Intimate Before He Leaves.
It’s really that simple. And this is potentially one of the most important things you could ever do physically to protect yourself and your marriage. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so, because every woman I have given this advice to has confided in me that this changed everything.
It is wise to be aware that the enemy will try to tempt. He will tempt you and he will try to tempt your husband. Intimacy is like putting a hedge of protection around your marriage. Even if you don’t really feel up to it, trust me, from one sister to another, it can protect your heart from many temptations including anxiety about him cheating.
Set a Hedge of Protection
My husband and I have set boundaries concerning the opposite sex, not because we don’t trust each other, but because we don’t trust all others out there. We would never want someone to wrongly accuse one of us.
We are realists and are very aware that there are those who would set out to steal and destroy a marriage, those who don’t care if you have a wedding ring on or not. To some, a wedding ring may even be more attractive, that they are hard to get.
So we have set boundaries to protect ourselves and so that others can never make accusations. For ideas on boundaries to set for protection and to read more on jealousy in marriage, feel free to visit me at my website @ CourageousMom.com
Your Sister in the Journey,