Marriage is a challenging journey all on its own. When you add long-distance into the mix, you may find yourself up against some real “make it or break it” scenarios. Is your spouse in the military? Does your spouse travel frequently for work? How about pursuing a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ dream this summer? Whatever the reason, there are some important steps that you must take in order to protect your marriage during your time apart.
Set Up Boundaries
The most important thing you and your spouse can do for yourselves is to set very clear boundaries of what the expectations are. Think of it as the first step to making sure you remain a team. You can even write your boundaries down together so that you each of you can make sure you’re on the same page.
Additionally, take the initiative to revisit the conversation and update those boundaries that are not working for you. If you are triggered by something, then you need to speak up about it. This is especially important if you start to feel uncomfortable about someone of the opposite sex. Try saying something along the lines of: “I’ve been seeing/hearing a lot about this person and I’m starting to feel uncomfortable. Can we have an open conversation about this and look for ways where we both feel secure? I really miss you and am having a hard time with this.” Scary things happen in the doubt and darkness of our minds. For your own inner peace and for the protection of your marriage, get all of your fears into the light and communicate.
Connect Emotionally Every Day
With the lack of physical presence working against you, it’s important to invest in emotional connection as frequently as possible. There are several ways that you can do this, including writing letters whenever you’re able, texting throughout the day to let your spouse know you’re thinking about them, “good night” or “good morning” phone calls/video chatting, etc. Make the conversations meaningful by limiting distractions, making sure you’re asking good questions, and really listening to your spouse’s responses. You don’t want miss anything important. Not being able to see each other every day can grow frustrating and lonely very quickly. Emotionally connecting whenever possible will offer both you and your spouse security, connection, and reassurance.
Build Up the Physical “Spark”
In addition to emotional connection, it’s also important to invest time for video chatting, sending playful pictures, and “sexting” in order to keep the ‘sexual spark’ burning until you’re back together in person. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but your spouse needs to know you’re still thinking about them in that special way when they aren’t around.
Keep It Fun
Although you miss each other like crazy, don’t let all your conversations revolve around how much you miss each other, how difficult it is to be apart, and how lonely or sad you both feel. These thoughts are still important and should be validated when they come up, but it shouldn’t be the focus of every conversation. Keep the friendship and fun alive in your relationship by surprising each other with care packages, watching movies or eating dinner ‘together’ over video chat, or getting the same bottle of wine to enjoy while you catch up over the phone.
Remember to Have a Life!
You will be a much healthier person and will handle your long-distance marriage better if you have a community of support. Make sure to stay within the boundaries that were set, but don’t be afraid of having a life while your spouse is away. Surround yourself with people and hobbies that will help you become a better version of yourself and a better spouse.
Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have any questions about our services or if you would like to schedule an appointment.