I am in a long-distance marriage. Of all the things I’ve shared since day one on this blog about my experiences with marriage, you couldn’t have paid me to believe this would be one of them. I’d have thought you to be mad. Perhaps I am the one who is mad. My husband and I have found ourselves in somewhat of an unplanned long-distance marriage since last year (2021). Since then, I’ve experienced a range of emotions on a long spectrum, but none of that changed the fact that this became a necessary evil in our plan to take over the world (well, more like a few plots of land but whatever).
Many long-distance relationships start out that way. I’m not sure how many of them start out as physically present first and then transitioned, but studies show that long-distance marriages are on the rise. I suppose more long-distance marriages in this age make sense since globalization was always likely to affect family life as well as economics. Strangely, I’d did consider that side of the coin until I was on it. The one thing I knew from the get-go, though, was that I wouldn’t like it. I did not want to do it, to be frank, but you know, adulting and all that. (Boy they don’t tell you these things when you’re a kid, huh?) So, I put on my big girl panties and made my way. Despite not liking it and the frustration of missing my husband, and our tightly-knit, physical union, we’ve found ways to remain connected.
1. Connect Daily
We make sure we are in contact every, single day, with no excuses. We stay connected by texting throughout the day, even when the days are busy. No matter how busy or tired, we try to do at least one video call per day, though there are mostly several per day. It’s not uncommon that during a call one or both of us is busy, but just to feel connected, we stay on the line, talk, look at each other or sometimes, just in silence. Of course, more often than not a tiny third person is in on the call, and she is all the more reason for several calls a day.
I also think it’s important to see your spouse daily. As a result, voice calls are kind of rare for us now. It just makes sense that since you cannot spend time with the person physically, you want to see them as much as possible and that it will help your connection It will also help your communication. Since half of communication is considered to be non-verbal, it’s incredibly important to be able to read your spouse’s body language and facial expressions, all things that can be lost when just talking on the phone.
2. Visit Each Other
Visiting each other should be a crucial part of making any long-distance relationship work. Before I was in a long-distance marriage, a friend’s husband told me that one of the ways they made their own long-distance marriage work was to put their marriage first. It means that sometimes, a financial sacrifice may be necessary to refuel intimacy, the marriage and the connection between spouses. It is one of those little gems you get in life that you never forget. Now, being in the situation myself, I understand it completely.
3. Maintain Intimacy
Maintaining intimacy is crucial to emotional stability within a relationship, especially when the physical component cannot be met. We can maintain intimacy by flirting and even the ‘digital get-down‘ if you and your partner are comfortable. Another way to maintain intimacy is to intentionally practice four of the five love languages. The five are;
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Gifts (Giving/Receiving)
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
While physical touch is not available all the time in a long-distance marriage when you do see each other, particularly when one spouse’s primary love language is physical touch. You want to reinforce that as much as possible when you are together to carry through the time when you are apart.
4. Set an End Date
I’ve said this before, it doesn’t make sense to long-distance into oblivion. Set dates for when your long-distance marriage or relationship will end. If you are unable to set a date, because, life happens, you should at least have an idea as to what the parameters are for the distance in your relationship, and when and how you expect the situation to change. Knowing you can look forward to an end will make it easier to power through. It can also be frustrating if that end date starts to move while you are working on it, but if you communicate about the issue regularly, it should help you navigate a bit easier.
I’m fully aware you may not have a date in mind. If that is the case, both parties should be fully aware of that.
Marriage takes work under normal (together) circumstances, however, that work becomes a bit harder when you are doing it over a distance. Having been at it for a few months now, I can say with certainty that maintaining a healthy marriage over a distance is possible.
Whare your thought on how to make a long distance marriage work? Share in the comments
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