He packs his crew bag, kisses you, his beautiful wife, goodbye and heads out for another long stint of excitement and adventure…by which, of course, I mean long hours, greasy fast food, ungrateful strangers, and lonely hotel rooms. Meanwhile, back at the ol’ home front, you go about your real life – one that doesn’t include him.
You spend your days watching your children grow, listening to their sweet laughter, sharing precious moments with friends and family, celebrating holidays – all surrounded by people and places you love (his perspective). Meanwhile, he trudges through preflight checklists, crowded airports, [terrifying] bus rides packed with sweaty bodies, and delicious dinners of Taco Hell or stale pretzels because an MX delay caused his flight to get in so late everything was closed. He’s constantly surrounded by people and yet ever alone. He sees how well you are doing, how in control of life you are, how amazing you do without him (after all, we all tell the absolute truth on Facebook)…and he wonders if you even need him – even love him – at all.
Let’s be clear! He wants you to F.L.Y. He loves knowing that he is able to provide you with the amazing life that you deserve. In fact, it drives him, keeps him going on the hard days, and fulfills him as a man. The long hours and missed holidays are gratified by the smile that lights up your face when you see him walk through the door, the experiences your children are able to have because of his hard work, the lovely roof he is able to provide for his family. It’s how he, as a man, loves you.
Living anything less than a F.L.Y. life is a dagger to his husband soul. He wants…no, needs you to live life fiercely. He needs to know that his hard work is not for naught. Your joy is the pot of gold at the end of his rainbow! Yet, sometimes the loneliness of this lifestyle is hard. Sometimes, as he is falling to sleep yet again to the monotonous drone of HGTV and listening to the people in the next room have very [very] loud sex, he desires to know deep down in his man’s heart that you respect him, need him, remember him. He still needs to feel loved
even especially when he’s on the road.
A very important part of maintaining a healthy aviation marriage is finding ways to help your traveling spouse feel loved when he’s on the road – or in the air, as the case may be! But how do you do it? How do you let him know how much he means to you when he’s hundred of miles away. Aviation marriage takes intentionality, planning, and selflessness – on both sides! You can’t always be with him, but you can find ways to remind him that you are always with him!
Here is a handy checklist for helping your traveling spouse know just how fiercely loved he is – from takeoff to landing!
Remove before flight. Give your spouse a little something-something to remember while he’s gone. Let’s face it, your husband is…well, a man. That means healthy sexual relations with his wife is a vital component of how deeply loved he feels. Giving him a sexy send-off will provide that extra dose of jet fuel to boost him through the lonely nights to come. And hey, if you add a little spice to the sauce…I’m sure he won’t complain.
Preflight check. This requires some intentionality and thinking ahead; that’s why it means so much! Little cards, notes, and treats hidden in his pockets and tucked throughout his bags remind him at unexpected moments that you are constantly thinking of him. They will give him that little extra kick he needs to finish out his day and are a tangible reminder of your love for him.
In-flight communications. It’s soooo easy to see things from our own perspective, isn’t it? I mean, I am always right, just ask me! We can perseverate on how difficult it is for us to deal with missed holidays and separation, how inconvenient it is on us that his schedule changed at the drop of a coin, how frustrating it is for us when things break and he’s not home. However, these things are all just as hard, if not harder, for him! Remember that, while you are still surrounded by people you love, familiar places, and comfortable routines, he is constantly surrounded by strangers, ever-changing plans, and unfamiliar places. Help him stay connected with life at home by updating him frequently with pictures and texts throughout the day (But don’t be that crazy, insecure, stalker wife that demands he call every single time his wheels down or else you totally freak. They hate that.). Remember to tell him good morning and good night every single day. Tell him how much you miss him, how proud you are of him, and how deeply you love him…often! It will keep him involved even though he can’t be there, help him feel like part of your life, let him know you are thinking of him, and also help him to re-acclimate into the rhythm of your world when he returns.
In-flight service. Get in a habit of asking for a copy of his schedule every month. This will help you know where he’s actually at if ever you need to. It will also tell you where he is laying his head for the night. You can use this information to send him room service with a note, have a gift delivered, send him takeout, or other fun little ideas. You would be surprised to find how many people are willing to help you along the way when you tell them what you are doing! I’ve had pizza delivery guys write love notes to my spouse on the box. Utilize services such as UberEats and Amazon Same Day to surprise your Fly Guy every now and again.
A visit to the cockpit. If you ever have the opportunity, surprise your Fly Guy on the road during a long layover! Whether you show up unannounced, travel with him for an entire trip, or plan an overnight adventure with him in a cool layover city, this is an incredible way to stay bonded, show him you care, experience new things, and see what life on the road is really like (it’s not as glamorous as it seems, people!). And I promise…he’ll be really glad it’s his hotel neighbors falling asleep to HGTV and listening to HIM have very loud…well, fun…for once!
Arrival at the gate. The way you welcome him back through the door means more to him than you know. Take a moment to stop what you are doing, put a big smile on your beautiful face, and give him a sincere bear hug! Help him bring in his things, hand him a glass of cold iced tea, and allow him to settle in and unwind for a few minutes before you bombard him with everything that went wrong over the last four days. Greet him with a kiss; the rest can wait. The first few minutes at home will set the pace for the rest of his time off. Make it count!
Ladies, I am by no means telling you that this is a one-way street. He needs to work just as diligently to make sure that you feel loved and cherished in this marriage. However, life on the road is hard, even at it’s easiest. These are our husbands, the men we gave our lives to and vowed to love with all of our hearts. We do not live traditional 9-5 marriages where he is home every night. We have to be intentional about loving one another. We have to be cognizant of our easily skewed perspective. We have to find creative ways to love one another even when we are apart for long periods of time.
Aviation marriage is a beautiful gift. We have been blessed with talented, dedicated, passionate spouses who work hard to find balance between career and homelife in an upside-down profession. Let’s help our marriages truly soar by making sure our traveling spouses always know how fiercely loved they are by us – their Pilot Wives.
I love you, aviation family! Love one another fiercely.
~Angelia (a fellow Pilot Wife)
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