Relationships are difficult. Unfortunately, this is just a sad fact of life we have to face if we want to enjoy the person we love. Despite the challenges, being in love and being married should mean being there for each other, even when your hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Committing yourself to a long distance marriage can add a whole extra layer of difficulties on top of the challenges marriages face every day. This is not to say that long distance marriages cannot work. On the contrary, with a little effort long distance marriages can prosper and flourish and provide both man and wife with the loving dedication of matrimony. Below we’ll look at a few of the trials of long distance marriage and how to remedy them for a relationship that really thrives despite those miles apart.
You Won’t Communicate like a ‘Normal’ Marriage but it’s Even More Essential
Normal is all relative, but in a long distance marriage you won’t be seeing or talking to your partner like you would if both of you came home at the end of the day. Just like in any relationship though, talking to your spouse is the number one most important aspect of keeping your long distance marriage happy and functioning. This not only means texting, emailing, Skyping, and talking on the phone on a regular basis, but also having real conversations about meaningful things to you and your partner. Whether you discuss goals for your marriage, what’s going on at home, or your fears and worries, talking to your spouse establishes trust and allows both of you to work through issues together.
In a long distance marriage communication also means having set times to talk with your significant other. Establishing a time of day to call and speak with your partner is a great idea to add some intimate time to your routine and give both of you something to anticipate throughout your day. Sending texts periodically to let each other know you’re thinking of them and you love them is an excellent way to stay connected with your spouse and feel like they are close by.
Responsibilities Can Sometimes Get Muddled
Unfortunately, sometimes those nitty gritty aspects of a marriage have to be flushed out and talked about. Things like paying bills and rent and taking care of the chores around the house are simple tasks that come along with being in a committed relationship but can very easily be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of a long distance marriage. This can leave the one who picks up all of these responsibilities feeling frayed and overworked. This is where those communication skills will come in handy once again.
Talking to your partner seriously about your living expenses and other essential tasks and arrangements and establishing who is responsible for what in your marriage is an important part of making sure the grunt work gets done equally so as not to cultivate feelings of overburden. Knowing who is handling what will allow both of you the confidence of knowing you are working together in your married life despite being apart as well as providing you the time to focus on cultivating your marriage.
Dates May be a Little Different
If it’s possible to see each other in person, try to plan a few days a month to enjoy being together. During these times, take time to relax and bask in each other’s company. Make plans that can easily be put off or canceled if you find you’d rather spend more alone time with your spouse before you’re apart again. That being said, if you’re partner is in the military or in some other circumstance where you can’t see them in person, modern technology offers many solutions for date night.
Since you can’t relax on the couch with your partner or go to the theater for a Friday night date, you’ll have to find other ways to spend time together. Watching a movie or series together online can be an excellent way to feel like you’re cuddled up beside each other with your favorite shows. Skype dinners, or snap chat dinners for public restaurants, are also a great way of providing a dating alternative.
Trust, Confidence, and Faith Will Be Tested
Another unfortunate side effect of long distance marriages, no matter how strong your relationship, at some point or another, you will question your partner’s loyalty. It may be in a small dismissive way that you can quiet within seconds of rationality or it may become a bigger and consuming issue that can have a real and lasting impact on your marriage. Again this issue goes back to communication. It is absolutely important that you discuss any and all fears with your spouse while they, or you, are away. This most certainly includes fears of infidelity.
Communication on these fears with your partner not only builds trust between you but also allows for moments of comfort and dialogue on your emotions and how your long distance relationship may be affecting your marriage. Be honest with your spouse at all times and allow them to be honest with you. Talking through your fears with your significant other can have a enduring influence on your marriage.
It is important to remember that despite the trials of long distance marriage, there are definite ways to make your relationship, not only last, but prosper and grow. Though you may receive advice from many that long distance marriages do not work and will not last, it is important to analyze every situation based on your own experiences, desires, and emotions, and discuss with your partner the difficulties you will face in your relationship. With trust, faith, effort, and support a long distance marriage is sustainable and fulfilling.
Ironically most of the tips featured in this article could double as tips for a wholly happy marriage of any kind. Through communication, responsibility, quality time, and trust, you can lay the foundation for a marriage that will last no matter if you’re a thousand miles apart or curled up on the couch together.