Preparing for Your Time Apart
You might not feel like planning, but a little inconvenience now can save a lot of heartache later.
Your spouse's departure date is fast approaching -- faster than you wish it would. In the midst of your vacillating emotions, preparation might be the last thing on your mind.
If one of you is more logically-bent, now is the time for him or her to lead pre-departure planning. Your temporary separation will go much smoother if your ducks are in a row.
- Locate important documents in case of emergency. Make sure your insurance policies are up to date. If your spouse will not be using his vehicle for a period of time, see if your auto insurance company will temporarily reduce your rates. Make sure both of your names are on loans, credit cards and any other accounts you might need to handle for your spouse. If need be, acquire power of attorney.
- Learn how to perform household and emergency tasks you commonly don't: changing a tire on your car, fixing a leaky faucet or relighting the pilot on the water heater. Make a list of friends or professionals to call in case there is something you can't fix yourself.
- Budget together. Communication may be less frequent and more difficult during this time, so plan ahead as to how you'll use your resources. Will your spouse be bringing in more money? Will his day-to-day expenses be covered by a per diem? If you find your budget with extra money, be sure to commit every extra dollar to a budget category. If possible, make one of those categories "savings," and tackle any existing debt. Be sure to include a small "splurge" budget for yourself as a preventative measure for unplanned, emotional spending.
- Spend quality time together without smothering each other. You don't need to spend every waking moment together (this may irritate one partner), but do feel the extra freedom to say "no" to a few chores, overtime at work or helping a friend in favor of sleeping in together on a Saturday morning, enjoying a movie together or spending an afternoon fishing.
- Treasure the little things. Often, it's the small kindnesses that make the biggest impression on us. Look for ways to serve your spouse quietly and without fanfare. Pitch in and do the dishes when it's not your turn, or take your spouse's car for an oil change and when he was least expecting it. These random acts of kindness make heartwarming memories.
- Create goals you can conquer as a couple. The two of you may be in separate worlds (so to speak) during the next few months, and goals constitute a common experience–a precious commodity during these times. What goal will you two choose? Consider cutting sweets out of your diet, reading through the New Testament, praying more often or anything else you two think up.
- Listen to your spouse without interjecting. Even if you can't understand his excitement about entering into a dangerous situation, or her fear of being alone, do your best to be nonjudgmental and affirming.
Copyright © 2008, Focus on the Family.