7 Tips for Staying Positive & Productive When Your Husband’s Out of Town

Bjorn and I have been married over a year and a half, and boy, has marriage been a beautiful, challenging, wonderful blessing in our lives. I believe that marriage is one big sanctifying process (where we are continually shaped and refined and stretched and challenged) as God works to use this relationship to show us more about Himself. It is awesome. But it also has its more difficult facets.

Since my husband is in the U.S. Army Reserves, we spend some time apart each month, as well as some longer weekends and trainings each year. At this point, we have spent over 97 days and nights of our marriage apart. It kind of makes me sad to type that – because that is a LOT of days! While I know it is nowhere near the amount of time that couples spend apart as a result of deployment, it is a significant enough amount of time to have taught me A TON about doing life with my sweet man out of town. I wanted to share some tips today – things I do when Bjorn is gone – that hopefully will be useful to you ladies when your own husband has to be away for period of time.

Staying Positive & Productive When Your Husband's Out of Town (7 Strategies) - Just Bee

1 // Set goals. Make a list of what you want to do each day – even goals for each week. This will help drive your time apart into a more productive (and less endless-feeling) chunk of time.

2 // Make a list of fun things to chat about. These can be silly little stories to share with him either during a phone call, or after he arrives back home. I love doing this because then I don’t forget the little things that made me smile those days.

3 // Surprise him with a fun (USEFUL) project. This does not mean we should be going on shopping sprees to decorate the living room while our husbands are gone (because we most likely are more excited about home decor than they are!). Instead, surprise him with something that will make his day. Maybe he’s mentioned he’d love a better organizer for his shoes. Bjorn loved coming home to a bunch of frozen Crockpot recipes I had prepped when he was gone for 6 weeks last fall. (I called it Operation Crockpot and he was thrilled and pleased with how useful that project would be to us.)

4 // See the time as character-strengthening. This is a hard one to soak in. But, when you lean on God while your husband is gone, you can probably learn something new from the situation: perhaps you need to improve in terms of productivity, or getting over little fears, or simply avoiding alone-time to reflect. For a long time, I had a fear of spending the night alone (I’m a light sleeper and am constantly listening for noises! Anyone else like that?), but weekends apart from Bjorn have taught me to be safe and cautious but ultimately to trust God for safety as I sleep.

5 // Use that time to pray over your marriage. Use that space to step back and see the bigger picture of your unhealthy habits – make a renewing of your commitment to love him well in your marriage. I usually reflect and notice some not-so-great habits or patterns in my behavior when I have that time to think about it, and then I can reassess and recommit to loving Bjorn better.

6 // Do a “cherishing him” project. This project is for you, mostly. Write a letter to him, or a journal entry or blog post… 🙂 Or even do a craft where you print out pictures of the 2 of you. There are many little ways to really enjoy him while he’s gone – you don’t have to push him out of your mind as you try to “survive.” Live with joy!

7 // THANK HIM. Uplift him and encourage him for what he’s doing. Most likely, his being out of town is mandatory, and it is huge to remember that he is also sacrificing his energy and time, and probably doesn’t want to be apart either! Do NOT whine about him being gone! There is a difference, I’ve discovered, between saying “I miss you,” and griping to him about him having to be gone. Remember, you are supposed to be his greatest champion. Support him even in these not-as-fun times.

How do you stay positive and productive when your husband is gone? For those of you who are even more accustomed to time apart than we are, please(!) share your advice in the comments! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts – let’s encourage each other in upholding our marriages to God’s glory!


  1. This was perfect timing for me since my husband is out of town right now. Thanks for the great post, Hannah!

  2. I love this, Hannah! you two have such a sweet relationship and I really appreciate you! My husband and I haven’t been apart as much, but he was gone for 6 days last month. I actually ended up over-booking my calendar, expecting myself to feel lonely. Turned out that I had so many friends over that I almost didn’t get all my work done!

    But, what I struggle with more is that his program has gotten really really busy. He wears a lot of hats– one of them being a therapist– so he can be a bit tired and stressed when he’s home. Speaking uplifting words, and thinking about his needs as he somehow manages to still think about mine, has helped us cherish the moments of down time we have together.

    1. Yes, friend!!! Thinking about his needs and speaking encouraging words are huge. I’m glad you have discovered those extra special ways to show you care. It sounds like you and your husband are very busy! How cool that he knows he can come home to you and your encouragement, though!

      And I totally sympathize with the over-booking thing! I’ve definitely done that before – and ended up feeling slightly frazzled! Oops. It’s taken a bit of time for me to really be okay doing a slower schedule with him gone, but in the end, it’s been nice, too. Thank you for your thoughtful comment here, friend!

  3. My husband recently got out of the military (reserves), but he is also a LEO. We’ve spent more then half our nights as a married couple apart due to drill weekends and shift work. In fact, our first year of marriage we only had one weekend together a month! We end up communicating a lot via hand written notes hidden in his work bag or left for me on the counter when he has to leave for work before I get home. Coming home to a sweet note is so much more personal than a text message (which we also use to chat thought the day if we can) and we always save them. Someday when we both have 9-5 jobs that allow us more time I thibk we’ll really appreciate these little hand written notes ?

    1. Yes, definitely, Sydney!! It is so sweet to hear that you and your husband exchange a lot of handwritten notes! They can be so special – I’d love for my husband and I to get into that more! I think you’ll really cherish those someday! Wow, you are an inspiration to me! One weekend together a month would be quite difficult. I’m so glad you guys found ways to reconnect and communicate, though! Thank you for reading along and commenting! 🙂

  4. #2…love! My hubs was just gone for two months (the worstttttt), and I kept a little notebook of silly things to tell him about when he got home.

    1. Oh my, Chelsea!! Yes, you had talked about him being gone on your blog…that is a really long time!! I’m so glad you kept fun notes to chat with him about, though! We’re on the same wavelength – I have notes on my phone of “Things to Tell Bear (his nickname”) 🙂 I’m glad you guys are together again! 🙂

  5. Oh boy I needed to read this. My husband is a surgical resident (with the Army) and pretty much sleeps at the hospital every third night. (Meaning on some weekdays he goes in at 5AM and isn’t home until the following day after dinnertime, It’s a long 36 hours). I love #2. It is the positive side of time apart. You appreciate the days together more and you are more intentional about how you communicate. Thanks for sharing some encouragement and good ideas to think about.

    1. Wow! Thank you for sharing about yourself and your husband, Shannon! That is quite the busy schedule – those 36 would definitely feel long! Yes, we really do appreciate days together more because of that time apart. It makes me feel so much more intentional about talking with him and hugging him… I’m glad you appreciated this post! Thank you for reading along!

  6. My hubby and I were long distance for two years before we got married and it is so, so hard. I remember always feeling like a part of my heart couldn’t be at rest until he was there! I love your suggestions to use the time to still be intentional, whether that’s in loving and praying for hubby or doing practical things to surprise him. That kind of intentionality is so key for keeping things healthy, especially when you’re apart and it’s easy for conversation to feel dry or to just miss the person terribly!

    1. Yes! Lauren, long distance is difficult! I totally see what you mean about parts of our hearts not able to quite rest yet! Intentionality is really so important – thank you for your thoughtful comment, friend!

  7. These tips will definitely come in handy when Josh is out for work.

    I definitely do the thing were I write down things I want to remember to tell him, when he’s having a long day of training and we aren’t able to talk. I’m sure I’ll be doing even more of that once we are actually married!

    1. I’m glad these tips were helpful to you, Anna! Yes, I totally have notes on my phone where I list funny stories or things about my day to tell him! It’s so fun. 🙂 It’s neat that you are even starting these habits now before you are married!

  8. I love this!! I just found your blog when I signed up for the webinar and I can definitely tell I’ll be around a lot 🙂 My husband is a firefighter, so while he isn’t gone for long stretches of time, he’s away usually 2 full days a week. I’ve naturally started setting goals and working on personal development while he’s gone but I really love the rest of your suggestions. I also use the time to get deep cleaning done around the house so when the hubs is home I can focus on him instead of worrying about the layer of dust accumulating. Ha!

    1. Aleah, thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Those 2 full days must be kind of long…I know that I would definitely miss my husband during that time! But I’m glad you’ve got goals in place – and some cleaning, too! Ha! It’s remarkable how clean our place gets when my husband is gone for a day or more! 🙂

      And thank you so much for signing up for the webinar – can’t wait to “see” you there! 🙂

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