How to Stay Married: Check In Creatively


When I go out of town for service trips or conferences, I’m always caught between missing my wife and dog and enjoying the time spent with the students and colleagues. These trips are often times when I really get to know the students well, spend some real quality time with them and get to see them in a new light. I also grow close with colleagues on these trips and have a huge feeling of accomplishment by the end of the week or so.

But my wife is not here to share my joy. My dog is not here to enjoy things at the end of a long and hard working day. They, in turn, miss me. The dog in particular gets out of sorts when I’m not around.

And I’m terrible about calling. I get wrapped up in my work and forget to check in. An old colleague chastised me for that, “You need to call that girl and tell her you miss her and just tell her about your day!”

And so I do. But we’ve also come up with other things to remind one another of each other when the miles are distant.

I once set up a daily scavenger hunt around the house. A note hidden in a cookie jar, a chocolate hidden in a cabinet, an entire tray of her favorite cookies in a hidden spot in the pantry. And lots of notes leading to clues to find “me.” Pictures, etc.

For my wife’s part, I usually find a note or two, if there’s a long trip, they’ll be one per day. Shorter trips like this one usually have one note hidden somewhere amidst the packed clothing. I found this one yesterday:

Bun, (her pet name for me)
I feel like you will be gone so long.
Haze will really miss you. I’m going to miss you. Haze will be the man of the house. I love you and you’ll be in my heart. I know you’ll be doing good work.

I love you. Love, the bunner

Reason #7,146 as to why I married her.

Off to call my bride before the students arrive in force.

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