Many occupations require spouses to be separated for extended periods of time. I find myself in one of them. I entered trucking when I discovered I was a soon-to-be father. Working in manufacturing and living paycheck to paycheck, I knew I needed to make changes. So, I signed a 10-month contract with a mega fleet and left my crying, pregnant girlfriend (now wife), at the Greyhound station in hopes of providing a better life for us. This career was not just a sacrifice I was making, but one we made together.
Maintaining a relationship as a trucker can be challenging. Looking back over our developmental arch, I can truly say we have a relationship "forged in flames" meaning, we’ve seen some stuff. Despite all the stress and pressure, we grew closer and strengthened our bond to the point where we wouldn't change a thing in our past because it led us to where we are now.
To say trucking has had an impact on my relationship would be an understatement. My wife and I were able to overcome many obstacles, simply because we sought the advice of people that were older and wiser. It was a form of preventive maintenance for our relationship. I was able to find audiobooks and podcasts that were edutainment, (Educational and entertaining). From there, we learned what healthy relationships looked like, and what some common mistakes were.
I've experienced firsthand and witnessed the consequences of OTR Trucking on relationships. Several men I’ve trained had problems adjusting to the new lifestyle. I’ve witnessed divorce, and have heard numerous horror stories about relationships gone sour. A question I frequently ask old-school truckers is, "Was it worth it?". The most common response I get is "No". I can't help but ask myself if I would feel the same after 30+ years.
Now, for some unsolicited advice. If I could go back in time to my younger self there are three points that I'd share: communication, effort, and passion. Talking about our feelings keeps our fingers on the pulse of the relationship. This helps us feel like both parties are putting in the effort to make the relationship a success. Finally, learn how to create passion, especially for long-term relationships.
After 8 years with my spouse, we still boast chemistry that I rarely see in our peers. I attribute a lot of our success to the fact that, with my job, I have the time to put the effort into studying relationships. The most significant value I take from trucking is not the money I make, but the ideas I expose myself to. In this way, trucking has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.