Being a wife of an OFW for me means living half of your married life away from your husband. It takes a lot of courage and patience, also here are some of the tips which I think might help us.
After being a wife to an OFW for ten years, I have experienced ups and downs along the way and came to realize some points that we need to have as a wife of an overseas worker.
BE A STRONG BRIDGE
One of the biggest challenges that we need to face as a wife is to help our husband and children maintain a close relationship despite distance. Being far from their father is usually hard for our children to handle. The fact that they won’t be able to celebrate some of their important events with their father is really heartbreaking. It is our responsibility to help them understand their situation and find some ways wherein they can feel loved and somehow feel the presence of their father.
Whenever I get the opportunity to buy some stuff for my kids, I always tell them that their father asked me to buy it for them, or if there are some occasions like birthdays, I make sure that my kids will receive not just material things but also special greetings from their father. Thank God for the technology, it made it easier for a family like us to get connected to each other. Make use of social media to help our husbands and kids be connected.
BE A CERTIFIED “FAMILY” ACCOUNTANT
Our husbands are working overseas to provide a better life for us. Their hard-earned money should be managed properly and we are accountable for it.
My husband and I were guilty of mismanaging our finances. We were so complacent that we will always have an income since we were a two-income household. We didn’t know how to plan for our expenses, savings and investments not until we have experienced budget deficit. We even came to a point that we have to borrow from banks and families. That was the turning point that made me realize we have to change things.
To avoid such things from happening again, we should learn how to set a budget, save and invest. Let us start with determining our monthly remittances then make a list of our expenses. Upon listing the expenses we should eliminate those unnecessary spending. We need to prioritize what our family needs. It is easy to say, I know, I also thought I already know how to save and manage our finances, but no, I was wrong.
In managing our finances, we always think of our family’s future; our children’s education, our health and emergency matters. We have to educate ourselves about savings and investments. If you think you are not knowledgeable enough when it comes to savings and investments, sometimes seeking for a professional help would be an option.
A friend of mine, Karen N. Saramines, was one of my inspirations. She made me realized that it is really important to not just rely on salary. She has influenced me about savings and investments. She is one of the most reliable financial advisors whom I know. If you want to learn more about savings and investments, you may consult with her. She will not just help you manage your finances, she will also give you the best investment choices.
BE A SUPERMOM
During our husbands’ absence, it is now our sole responsibility to look after the well-being of our children. Being a mom is really a tough job and it’s a bit tougher if your husband is an OFW because most of the time you are alone in raising your children while managing your home, finances, etc.
You have to multi-task by playing the role of both the mother and the father to your children. You are also expected to do the man’s job like being able to somehow do some house repairs, countless household errands such as paying all the bills, do some groceries, etc. I know it’s really tiring but when you are already a mom and you think about your kids, you just turn out to be a supermom!
BE A SUPERWIFE
Being a wife of an OFW requires much patience, trust and love, it’s quite challenging because there are a lot of sacrifices in order to maintain a smooth long distance relationship. With all the issues and negative stories that we sometimes hear from other people, our trust is sometimes the one being tested. We, as wife, should learn to trust more and of course always pray that we may be given the strength to withstand the physical distance from our husbands. We should also understand their situation of being far from home. Whenever there are disagreements, we should try to calm ourselves and understand his perspective and carefully explain to them our side. Yes, it may seem unfair, but based on my experience, it’s better to be more understanding rather than letting your emotions take over. Learn to acknowledge your husband’s point of view before expressing your own. As what they always say “Pick your battles carefully and don’t sweat the small stuff”. We can only do this if we also learn to be more loving to our husband.
BE A GOD-CENTERED SPOUSE
No matter how we try to be a supermom and a superwife, we are still human who are also vulnerable to mistakes. But with God as a center of our relationship and of our lives, nothing is impossible. We should not just cling to the Lord during our down moments, we should always seek his guidance in everything that we do. We should give time in praying and going to church, it should not only be our bodies that are nourished but our souls as well.
When God is the center of your marriage, your relationship as husband and wife and as a family will be truly blessed. I am not saying that you will no longer encounter problems or if you still have problems then you are not blessed, of course not! Problems are inevitable, but with God being your guide you can face the problem and solve it gracefully. Like what Fr. Jerry Orbos is saying “Focus on the Lord and not on the load, in that way you can travel light.”