A long distance relationship
When my husband and I were courting we lived in two different cities. We came together each weekend with joy and passion and left each other with heavy hearts each Sunday. It's a lot like that now.
He only he leaves earlier and comes home later. I think we'd be doing worse if we hadn't spent over a year as a long distance relationship. We already learned how to do without each other during the week and how to connect while we are apart.
It's still hard. There are things I wish he could do around the house that he never has time for. We always spend the majority of the first day he is home catching up on the things I can't do myself. When he gets home late this is especially taxing because it makes it feel like he had no time off at all.
It takes time to make sure we are on the same page with all of the big important stuff that makes a household run. I make sure to walk him to his truck every time he leaves and I send some homemade food with him so he does not eat fast food all week.
It helps to have a good support system. I'm lucky, I have family and friends that help me manage in his absence. Driving me around when the car breaks down, fixing the dryer when it breaks, watching the kids for doctors appointments and that sort of thing. Most of all my family and friends keep me occupied so that I don't spend my whole day missing him.
Cell phones are our life line. We speak everyday, if possible we speak multiple times a day and we make it a priority. I would encourage anyone starting out to invest in a good cellphone plan that has as few dead zones across the portion of the country he drives as possible. If you only communicate when he is at home you can easily become strangers. During his training he was gone for nearly 4 months and the cell phone he had was limited and the call quality was poor. We suffered with that. We both began to feel hopeless and alone. Now he has a good plan with a quality phone and headset and our calls can go on for an hour or more.
Along the same lines, don't be upset if he can't call at the right time or for long. If he's not driving chances are he needs to be sleeping so he isn't tired the next time he is driving. I've learned to drop what I'm doing and devote my attention to him when he calls me on his 30 min break and to be attentive at the end of his shift when he can devote more time to an in depth conversation. I also invested in a hands-free device so that if he calls while I'm cooking dinner I can still talk.
We make an effort to be a part of each other's everyday lives, even though we cannot be together everyday.