What If a Job Comes Between a Couples Love Life?

Cindy and I understand this challenge. In the first year of our marriage, Cindy worked 12 hour shifts at night, while I attended school during the day. I remember asking her to listen to one of my first sermons in our apartment. I stacked cardboard boxes on top of one another in the living room to form a make-shift pulpit. It was 7:00 in the morning, Cindy just arrived home from work. She agreed to be my practice congregation as she slouched in a chair in front of me. Two minutes into my first sermon, she was sound asleep. That was not a good omen for the future! We knew jobs needed to change. They eventually did.

Sometimes you can’t change jobs. There are some jobs that will come between a married couples love life. There is nothing you can do to stop it. My friends in the military experience this. They are deployed for a year. Skype or FaceTime are the closest they are with their wife for a year. That is the nature of the job.

Some couples with traveling jobs claim it doesn’t come between their love life. I have worked with couples where the husband was a long-haul trucker. He was gone for at least a week at a time. He told me that being away for long periods didn’t bother his marriage. Another man I worked with supervised a road construction crew. He was gone for at least a week during the summer. Sometimes he wasn’t home for two or more weeks. He told me it didn’t affect his marriage. He believed the time away from his wife didn’t dampen their relationship. While those cases exist, I believe they are the exception. Most couples quickly become frustrated when a job keeps them apart or they work opposite schedules.

Work to get your schedules in parallel. Some couples don’t take a need for intimacy seriously. While they are frustrated, for some reason, they don’t consider changing jobs or schedules. 1 Corinthians 7 tells Christian couples their times of intimacy should be regular and fulfilling.

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:2–5 (ESV)

Make this a matter of prayer. Ask God to help you change your schedule so you can better serve your spouse. There may need to be a leap of faith involved. There may need to be a decision to live on one income. Ask God for wisdom in this area. Take your need for intimacy seriously. Preserve and guard your marriage.

Sometimes people ask me, “What was the hardest part of your doctorate?” They wonder if it was the 173 page thesis or the constant reading and writing. It wasn’t the academic work. It was the two weeks away from Cindy for concentrated classes that was the most difficult. Working hard during the day coupled with an empty hotel room at night was tough. Cindy also found it hard to be apart for those two weeks. One Christmas, I came up with a rather unique present, airline tickets to fly her out for the weekend!

My classmates were jealous! It was worth every penny.