Marriage Advice for OTR Truck Drivers
The separation OTR drivers experience can put a strain on even the strongest family relationships. Knowing good ways to cope with the separation will help strengthen your family relationships. The following five tips can help strengthen and maintain family relationships, even when that family is separated by thousands of miles of road.
Include your family
Let your spouse and children be a part of your work life. Let your kids help you map out your route, pack your food or ride along while you fuel up for your next trip. Leave a copy of your map at home then call the kids and let them track your progress with push pins. Leave small notes for your spouse to find when you are gone, or plan a special night out when the two of you have been apart for a long time. Small gestures will go a long way toward reminding your family how much you love them and how often they are in your thoughts, even when you are on the road.
Make up for lost time
You may not have the luxury of seeing your children every day after work or having regular weekends with your spouse, but when you are home, you can make sure the time you have together is quality time. Put unimportant chores aside and plan some fun: a picnic, a trip to the ball park or simply a movie-night at home with DVDs and microwave popcorn. You may not have as much time with your family as those who work from nine to five, but the time you do have with them can be special.
Make trust your family cornerstone
Trust is important in any relationship, but in a family that must endure regular periods of separation, it is even more vital. Be conscientious while you are on the road; call when you say you will and let your family know when your plans change unexpectedly. Children, especially, will be reassured by consistency, and your spouse will also feel more secure. Giving children responsibilities while you are away is a way to show them that you have faith in them even when you are not home.
Support your spouse's interests
In a truck-driving family, the driver is not the only person with lonely hours to fill. The person left at home might feel at a loss with what to do with the long, empty days. Encourage your spouse to continue to pursue hobbies, a career or educational opportunities. Not everyone enjoys being alone for extended periods of time; friends, family and coworkers can fill the void for your loved one when you are gone.
Stay in touch
It might take extra effort, but maintaining contact with your loved ones is the best way to maintain loving family relationships. Call them frequently, send emails or arrange a video conference using your laptop over the Internet. Consider getting a cell phones that allows callers to see each other when they talk. What a perfect way to have some real face time with your kids. Even old fashioned snail mail is a great way to stay in contact. Send postcards from the places you travel through. Mail small souvenirs or photos of yourself and your truck. When you get home, the kids will love being able to tell you all about the places you've just seen.
Driving a truck is a hard, lonely job, but by following these tips, you can keep the job from taking a toll on your family bonds.