Making the most of time apart

Some even feel that the time apart strengthens rather than weakens their marriages.

Jane Hansen believes she’s closer to her husband since he started running OTR. “We don’t take our time together for granted,” she says. “We’re less likely to argue about petty things than if he were home every night.”

Time apart can add spice and an air of romance. How many long-married executives call their wives to whisper, “I miss you”? What about the excitement you feel the moment his rig rumbles up the street?

These moments, however, will be only as good as the emphasis you put on it every day. The Hansens stay connected and offer mutual encouragement through daily phone conversations. “He tells me constantly that I’m doing a good job, and I let him know how proud I am of him,” Jane says.

Trucking couples have to be strong enough as individuals to live separately and committed enough to each other to keep their lives within the boundaries of marriage.

Staying busy makes it easier to survive the time apart, as long as you avoid building an entirely separate life. Hansen works as an office administrator in a state government agency while raising their three children. “I have my outside interests, and he does too,” she says. “But we almost always choose to do things together and with our kids while he’s home.”

Team players are likely to be the biggest winners in trucking marriages, but this shouldn’t mean burying your own needs to serve the common good. “We made the decision together when he went OTR,” says Hansen. “It’s always been a give-and-take situation.”

Marriage thrives on the strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes of two individuals. However, when trucking couples start going their own way and not including the other person in their day-to-day life, you can bet trouble isn’t far away. If the length of time he’s on the road is making you miserable, don’t suffer in silence. Talk with him about making a change.

Don’t shortchange your relationship by trying to save money on phone calls. Every penny spent communicating is investing in your marriage. When the day comes for him to get off the road for good, you’ll both enjoy the rewards of good communication.

Let your fingers do the chatting

There are two ways you can chat with your driver online without waiting for an e-mail.
Instant messaging
See who’s online and send a typed message instantly to anyone on your selected “buddy list” with popular services like AOL Instant Messenger, AT&T IM Here Service and MSN Messenger Service. Voice messaging comes with many IM services, making cyber conversation a reality.

Private chat rooms
These are temporary private forums where only invited guests may enter. If you plan to meet with your driver in a private chat room, be sure that both of you register ahead of time and test the chat environment. This is especially important for WebTV users who may have compatibility problems with some chat environments. A chat room is a great way for several people to celebrate a birthday or holiday with your driver on the road.