I recently spent 7 days on a mission trip to Nicaragua. It was an awesome trip. Cathy (my wife) usually accompanies me on these types of trips but due to the recent loss of her Mom, and the extra time she had to take off work, she was not able to go this year. I went with 8 incredible people from my church, but really missed my wife.
When I arrived in Granada, the first night, I discovered that Cathy had placed 7 cards in my suit case. The instructions were to open the card that was assigned to that particular day. One card said, “Miss you, Want you, Love you….More than words can say” another said “Me? Miss you? Only all the time!” One card simply said, “You’re the best” Each of these cards also had a very special handwritten note that made me smile and think about how blessed I am to have such an awesome partner.
Prior to my trip I called my cell phone company to determine how much international rates from Nicaragua cost. I learned that I had free texting and 20 cents per minute phone calls to the US. I called and texted home every day. Even if it would have cost $20.00 per minute, I still would have called daily. (We just would not have talked as long) One of the things that amazes me when I work with couples in crisis, is how little effort they put into staying connected when they are far apart. They say, “It’s only one night” or “Absence will make the heart grow fonder”. I had one person who was coming to me to help him save his marriage say, “I thought we were more secure than that and did not feel the need to call home when I traveled.” Cathy and I are extremely secure in our marriage. We have a phenomenal marriage and one of the reasons for this is that we made the decision a long time ago to stay connected even when one of us is traveling.
I have found that this is one of the common denominators amongst successful marriages. It is not a chore to check in at home, it is not hard duty to put thinking of you cards in a suitcase. It simply requires a little effort, a little thought and a little time. This is the key to staying connected when you and your spouse are far apart. Even if things are not great between you and your spouse today, make a commitment that you are going to be intentional about reaching out to them, even when they are far away. It really does make a difference. And don’t forget the little gift that says, “Even though I was gone, I was thinking about you!”