If you travel for work you’re familiar with the stress it places on your loved ones.
You work hard to provide for your family, but sometimes that takes you away from them. The days and weeks traveling wear you down, and your spouse and kids miss you.
Tired, stressed, and alone you’re more susceptible to temptation. Even a good, faithful spouse is one bad decision away from disaster.
The last several months have been a challenging season for our family. With me on the road over 60 days in the last 4 months, my wife is at home with 2 kids under 3.
That’s a lot of diapers and applesauce for any couple to handle, much less one person.
Plus we totaled the car, bedtime with the kids is always a battle, and when I was home...the 4 of us were sick.
To top it off we’ve witnessed several people we know work through the heartbreak of divorce--some due to infidelity.
It’s easy to think “I’m exempt from that. I would never do that to my family.”
The truth is, no one is exempt. Everyone is one wrong decision away from ruining their lives.
As our family wraps up this crazy season and looks forward to the next (mildly slower) season, I've got to take intentional steps to protect myself, my marriage, and my family while I’m on the road.
Here are just 6 examples of what I’m doing to put myself in the best position possible (and you can too):
1) Travel with Pictures of Your Family
Keep photos of your wife and kids on your phone. Pack a picture frame to go on nightstand next to your bed at the hotel. A tangible reminder that your family is present with you wherever you go.
Keep it simple. Nothing fancy. Simply a sturdy frame with a family photo to remind you why you’re making the sacrifices and encourage you to avoid temptation.
A photo of your family is worth ten thousand words. (Click to Tweet)
2) Don't Travel Alone
This one is difficult, especially if you work in the non-profit sector. Travel is expensive. Implementing this standard isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it.
Some trips or events may get de-prioritized as a result. Places you can't afford to go. Conferences you can’t attend.
At Team Impact, to protect the integrity of family, we no longer allow a Team Member to travel overnight alone. When you travel with someone else they are there to encourage you, hold you accountable, and help protect your family.
I remember working the Mr. Olympia event in Las Vegas with my buddy, Colton (now a member of Team Impact). We were both married, committed, Christian men surrounded by every kind of temptation, and a “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” attitude.
The encouragement and fellowship was vital. We started each day with scripture and a time of devotion. We worked all day and spent the evening avoiding anything that would not honor our families.
Never travel alone. What happens in Vegas follows you home. (Click to Tweet)
3) Establish Check-In Times
With each new movement, check-in with your spouse.
As I’m walking into a school I’ll text my wife, “About to start another school assembly.” And at the end I’ll text her again, “Just finished, headed to the next school.” With each movement throughout the day, take advantage of the opportunity to just check-in. It doesn’t have to be rigid, like the tracking of an Amazon package delivery, but invite your spouse into the moment.
Involve them in your day and keep them informed about where you are and who you’re with. “We’re starting a school assembly and the crowd looks rowdy, please be praying.”
Of course, this looks different for everyone. If you’re in business a check-in might be more like, “Headed into a big meeting, please pray I have peace.” Checking in regularly not only builds trust and provides accountability, but it invites your spouse into your day.
Invite your spouse into your day, even though they're miles away. (Click to Tweet)
4) Make a FaceTime Date
Your family needs to see your face and hear your voice.
Determine the best time to chat and put it on the calendar. Once you set it, stick to it. This is easy to push off when you’re busy and on the road, but that just makes it all the more important.
If you schedule a FaceTime with your kids at 5:00pm, then at 5:00pm, no matter what else you’re doing, drop it and step away to FaceTime with your kids. If nothing else, just so they can hear you say “I love you”.
Pro Tip: If you know in advance that FaceTime won’t be an option at the standard time, record the video ahead of time and ask your spouse to play it for your kids. Even if you’re not physically present, your presence will still be felt in your home.
Make time to FaceTime. Your kids need to see your face and hear your voice. (Click to Tweet)
5) Keep Your Phone Charged
Remove any chance of the Evil One gaining a foothold, or giving your spouse the opportunity to doubt. And it’s not because your spouse doesn’t trust you, but that the Evil One is the great liar. Doubt is a favorite weapon of the Enemy.
How easy is it for your spouse to question you when they can’t get ahold of you?
Disconnectedness leaves too much room for lies to seep in. And it makes it easier for you to be tempted. Make sure you pack the appropriate cords to keep your phone charged or pick up an external battery charger.
Don’t trust temptation to a battery. Stay charged and connected. (Click to Tweet)
6) Establish an Accountability Person
We all need accountability. To have someone who you can call and say “Alright, I need you to drop what you’re doing and pray for me.”
You need to have the freedom to reach out to this person and tell them what’s going on, what you’re struggling with, and know they'll remain objective.
For some people this will be their spouse, for others it will be a trusted friend or mentor. For me there are two guys: my pastor and a friend who is going through seminary. The 3 of us meet weekly and regularly text and call to stay connected.
If temptation comes, and I’m struggling, I can reach out and ask for prayer and support in the moment. They are committed to stopping and praying for me, and to follow up with texts and phone calls in the aftermath of that moment to ensure the temptation is stamped out.
Let your spouse know who your go-to guys are, what the commitment is, and how they encourage you to be a faithful spouse of character and integrity.
This is a great way to be open and at the end of the day, you can recap with your spouse and talk about having to call your partners and why. Having that open and honest communication with your spouse is clutch.
Accountability makes the strong stronger. Without it we are weaker than we imagine. (Click to Tweet)
This list is by no means exhaustive or a guaranteed formula.
These are things from one Christian brother to his brothers and sisters in Christ who travel and have families. These are a handful of things I’m doing to help protect my family as I travel around the world.
I’m still on the journey. If you’re on the journey too, let’s share our resources because there are more people like us who need to hear it.
What are things you do to protect your marriage while you’re on the road? Leave a comment below and let us know!
This post was written by Team Impact's Lead Evangelist, Stephen Mackey. When Mackey isn't speaking in schools and churches around the world, he's hanging out with his wife and two kiddos in Dallas, TX.