Making a Marriage Work

Relationships take work. While this statement is true no matter what your career, it is especially true if you (or your significant other) are an over-the-road driver. You don't have the luxury of kissing each other good night, or the benefit of bonding over dinner and the evening news every night. You can't come home after a day's work and tell with a glance that your spouse had a really rough day. But just because there are unique obstacles to overcome doesn't mean that you can't have a flourishing relationship. Here are some steps you can take to help yours bloom and grow, on or off the road.

Make time for each other. When you do get home time it's easy to spend it all vegging out on the couch, bonding with the kids, or catching up on your honey-do's and hobbies. While all these things are definitely important, it is equally-if not more-imperative that you carve out some quality time for just the two of you as a couple. Set a date night. Go out for dinner, catch a movie, or take a walk in the park. If cash or baby-sitting is an issue, have a picnic on the living room floor while the kids watch a video in their room.

You need to make time when you're on the road as well. If possible, schedule a time each day when you can talk freely for 15 to 30 minutes. If your homebound significant other wants to vent a little, simply listen. While you may want to be helpful by offering valuable advice, chances are your sympathetic ear is what's needed most. Spouses at home should be prepared to listen to some spouting off as well. Being each others' sounding boards will help you feel closer.

Send home postcards or greeting cards "just because." Your other half will get a much-needed and appreciated lift when they open the mailbox expecting nothing but bills and find a sweet note from you. Bring home trucking publications. By reading them, your partner will gain a better understanding of your life on the road.

And if you happen to be the spouse that's at home while your hubby or wife is out on the road, there are measures you can take to strengthen your relationship as well. Make up "care packages" for your sweetie; include favorite homemade goodies, photos from home, and uplifting notes citing your appreciation, respect, and love for your driver.

When your significant other has home time, wait just a bit before unloading that list of chores, complaints, and schedules. Greet each other with open arms and a big kiss (don't be angry that he didn't call ahead; he simply wanted to surprise you and really does think you're beautiful even in sweatpants!).

By making your relationship a priority, the two of you will weather many miles and happy years together. It definitely won't always be easy but it will absolutely be worth it.

By Tricia Goss