You may not have chosen to be in a long-distance marriage when you exchanged vows with your spouse, for others living apart but together is indeed a reality. It can be because of a family emergency, an inevitable move of your spouse’s company, or any valid reason. Whatever it is, you have got to try and make an effort to make your relationships thrive and survive.
Below are some tips that we have gathered from various marriage therapists on how to navigate a long-distance marriage and make it last.
“Weddings are not the end, but a stop on your train. A significant, theatrical, moment during which you receive recognition for who and what you are.” — Mark O’Connell LCSW-R
- Take Advantage Of Technology. There are times when you need to step back from social media and smartphones, especially when you’ve had too much of it for a day, but for long-distance couples, you can use it to your advantage. Skype and Face Time are free mobile apps that you can always use during your free time. Schedule your talks when you’re done with work, or when you’re at home cooking dinner so the kids can join in the conversation. When you miss each other while working, maybe you can slip your phone and send a sweet message with love emoticons that will assure your partner of your love for him. Stay connected, so you’ll never feel as though you’re miles away.
- Post Photos Of You And Your Spouse. If you’re living in a remote area for work reasons, clip some great photos of you and your spouse in the edge of your mirror, or put them in an album and display them by your bedside table. Don’t let the cliché ‘out of sight, out of mind’ beat you. Though it takes more than photos to strengthen your marriage, it does help in reminding you that someone’s waiting for you and trusting that you are keeping the love alive.
- Play The Role Of Couples Living Together. Talk about pretending that you lived together so that when you are in your corresponding places, it won’t seem like you’re very far from each other. The distance will create different lives for you, and if you allow it to destroy your marriage, it probably can. This task is simple, and if you are ready to do anything for the marriage, this you can do.
“The idea of partners having things they want or prefer in order to flourish as individuals and as a couple is a better way to promote a good marriage.” — Catherine Aponte Psy.D.
- Do Not Assume. Don’t make any assumptions just from your spouse’s tone of voice, emails, or text messages. A lot of these are easily mistaken, depending on the way you read them. For instance, you’re trying to call, but he’s not answering. He might be in a meeting, and suddenly you receive this automatic message that says, “I can’t talk right now.” Don’t overreact and think that he’s rejecting you or he’s not interested. Wait for him to call you or ask him when you do your usual video calls. You mustn’t get your insecurities in the way of your relationship. Agree that both of you will mend misunderstandings not through texts but through video conversations where things are clearer.
- Make A Commitment To End The Distance. Work and family are important, and partners must try their best to understand that as much as they can. But in the end, there must be an expiration date to the long-distance contract. Although you think you can do it, it isn’t right to be away from each other forever. Do what you can. Save up while you’re away for your future. Finally, live together as a family because you ought to.
“While I see these nuptial changes as positive evolution, I feel that we still have a one-size-fits-all model for partnering in a culture that increasingly celebrates our differences. These newer proposals are simply time-limited and toned-down versions of the same thing with the same expectations.” — Susan Pease Gadoua L.C.S.W.