Keeping an Oilfield Marriage Strong

How to Keep an Oilfield Marrige Strong
The cold hard truth is that tales of infidelity in oilfield marriages are everywhere — sadly, even on the ROW Facebook page. And while there are no official statistics on oilfield couple divorce rates, pretty much everyone agrees that they’re higher than among the general population. Ladies, don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let this happen to your families.
Here are five of my best tips for keeping your oilfield marriage strong despite long hitches, separation, and for some, frequent moves.
  1. Steam it up. (Mom, if you’re reading this, just move on to #2. Please? K, thanks.) Write a hot love letter, and hide it in his work bag. Tuck sexy coupons in among his clothes, before he leaves for work — to be redeemed on days off. Use your imagination! A small word of caution: Naughty pictures should probably be avoided, since these things can accidentally be seen by the wrong eyes. The last thing you want is to create a situation where your hubby feels the need to defend you, and could get in trouble.
  2. Make like a bee, and busy yourself! Yes, we’re strong. Oilfield strong. We’re in a class all our own. We also get lonely. Really lonely. If you aren’t busy, make yourself busy! Learn about something that interests you. Take on a cause, or challenge yourself to do something new. No excuses! It’s easy to blame the hubby, his schedule, his hitch, his days off … Quit. Find a hobby. Learn a new language. Run five miles a day. Volunteer. Continue your education. Or maybe, like me, your days are spent with a toddler, and you find you’ve gone days without holding a conversation with an actual adult. (No, the dog doesn’t count. Even if he’s eligible for AARP membership in dog years.) In that case, make mama friends! Go to the park, a paint-your-own pottery studio, your local library’s story hour, Build-A-Bear. Just put yourself out there. I think you’ll be surprised at how many other SAHMs are craving meaningful friendship too.
  3. Get away. Most churches offer marriage retreats for couples of all ages. These retreats are usually held in awesome places, destinations you might vacation to. Plus, “scholarship” help is almost always available, even if you aren’t a member of the church. Still not interested? Dump the kids on the babysitter or, if you’re lucky, a friend or family member, and spend a night out of the house. Stay at a B&B a couple hours away, or at a nice hotel in your own city. Be with each other, and only each other.
  4. Guard your heart. Cheating isn’t always physical. Your oilfield man needs to be your confidant. And if you need to go to someone else first, make it a gal pal. If you have male friendships (and it’s hard not to in the oilfield community), the boundaries need to be clear. If you work, be especially careful in the workplace. In your interactions with men, ask yourself, “Would my husband approve of this?” Assuming your hubby is a reasonable guy, if the answer is no, don’t do it.
  5. Stay close. Physical separation doesn’t have to mean that you grow apart. Send love through the mail, if you’re able, with care packages chock full of letters, pictures colored by the kids, photos, and homemade goodies or his favorite snacks. This time of year, little things like hand warmers and SmartWool socks would be a great addition! And remember this: out of sight does not mean out of mind. Phone lines go down (this used to happen all the time when my hubby worked in Alaska), cells can’t find a signal, or maybe he’s just working in an area where he can’t contact you for some time. Don’t let your mind wander, and don’t get paranoid (once upon a time, I was really bad at this). One thing that still helps me is mentally listing all the ways his work means my husband loves me: He spends two weeks at a time away from me and our baby girl. He’s working in sub-zero temperatures. He doesn’t get to sleep in our very comfortable bed tonight. He missed Maile doing [insert adorable thing here] today, so I can stay home with her. Etc. Chances are, he needed that phone call just as much as you did — if not more.
After all that, though, the best advice I have to offer is simply this: love each other.
katieKatie is a roughneck wife and mama living and loving life in colorful Colorado with her driller, daughter Maile, and their two dogs and cat. She is the author of the blog Standpipe and Sprinkles, where she records bits of her family’s everyday, family and friends, some style, faith … but mostly, the things she doesn’t want to forget.
About Katie

Katie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who just turned two! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, a very persnickety old cat, and two aquatic frogs. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, See You There.


  1. Melissa, This is GREAT!!! I’ve taught a ladies Bible study addressing these issue and I’m thrilled to see others passing on this type of guidance to wives. We live in a world that undermines marriage at every turn. We’re not going to be able to stop that, but we can do our best to be a Titus 2 woman, “encouraging wives to love their husbands”. There is no greater gift we can give to other women than to help them make their marriages strong!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and so encouraged by your comment, Joy!

      I’m actually in a mother’s group at our church called Titus 2 Moms; it’s so funny (or providential!) that you chose that scripture to reference in your comment. Thank you for commenting; it made my morning!

  2. Elissa Steidley says:

    Coming from someone who’s been there, I learned a couple things. Watch your mouth. Be supportive. COMMUNICATION is a big key. For the longest time i was a whiner and a complainer, spoiled and selfish. Drove my husband away. I realized and changed and in return he changed. Took 21 yrs but we are still together and working hard everyday on our marriage.

  3. Megan Schuelke says:

    I am soooooo thankful I found this blog!! We moved to Frederick, CO right after Christmas and I’ve made friends but nobody who works in the field. I’m starting to resent them and their “normal” life. Contact me anytime!!

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