Bill and I have always had a “moving marriage!” We moved 14 times during the prime of his career in the hotel/restaurant business. Going through the transition and adjustment of relocating was always a roller coaster ride for me emotionally.
I write about my experiences and what God taught me along the way in the two books, After the Boxes are Unpacked, Moving On After Moving In and But Mom, I Don’t Want to Move! (Focus on The Family Books, published by Tyndale House).
Now in full time ministry to women who are struggling with the emotions of relocating, I am also aware that many husbands are struggling too.
As women who are caught in the emotional maze of moving, we often don’t know what our husbands are really thinking and feeling as they deal with a move and a job change. Our struggles and frustrations may be lessened, by understanding their needs and expectations.
A Man’s Perspective
I thought it would be helpful to get insight from one moving man’s perspective, so I asked my husband, Bill, to share his thoughts:
Few people can appreciate the strong, direct connection that a man’s self image has to do with his job and his ability to succeed in that job. Sadly, I’ve found myself associating my value with what I do, rather than who I am in Jesus Christ. Emotional needs continue to follow us. And sometimes we listen to the world rather than the Word.
Our experience shows that the man usually starts the job before the family moves. The loneliness and isolation caused by distance in miles and emotion, added to the fears associated with a new job. New co-workers, new city, and maybe even a new company, can shake our very value and identity.
Some men have asked themselves questions like: “Did I make the right decision by taking this job?” “Am I capable of doing this job?” “Do my co-workers like me, will I fit in?” “Am I doing what’s best for my family?” “What does my new boss expect from me?”
Dealing with Feelings
For the most part, men may not know how to recognize or deal with these feelings. Since we usually “act out” rather than “sound out” our feelings, (we may get quiet under stress rather than interact) we may be more than just physically absent during a move. We are most likely emotionally absent too!
With all these fears going on inside of us we may not be ourselves. With the stress of a new job, many times we are not available to help you make family decisions. We also can’t help to keep the kids stable, arrange for movers, tie up loose ends, say farewell to friends or other tasks associated with moving. Please give us grace during this time.
Our greatest need is for you to cheer us. We are struggling with our fears, our self-doubt and all of our earthly battles. Your encouragement is needed as we enter the arena of moving. We need to know you believe in us. We need to hear you say, “Yes, you do have what it takes!” “Yes, you did make the right decision!” “I know that we will be a family again!”
A Temporary Event
The physical aspect of a move is a temporary event that should not have a permanent emotional toll on the marriage relationship. Marriages have been strengthened by couples who have learned to work through their emotions and feelings together through good communication and a commitment to one another.
May you “move” closer together in marriage as you “move” closer to Jesus Christ!
Susan Miller is Founder and President of Just Moved Ministry. Just Moved began in 1995 out of Susan’s desire to offer women around the world the hope and encouragement of Jesus Christ as they cope with their losses and emotional struggles associated with a move. Just Moved is a non-profit, global organization that provides resources and personal support to women who have moved, as well as to churches, neighborhoods, seminaries, military installations, and corporations that wish to encourage the uprooted woman and her family.
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