Six months ago, I flew from Atlanta to Columbus, OH and packed up our house with my husband Mike. I was so happy! For almost two years of our marriage we were long distance. I never thought that would be us, the long-distance married couple but it was. I’d be lying if I told you the distance wasn’t challenging because it was, but we made it.
It’s the Sunday after Valentine’s Day and a lot of couples are dreading to say goodbye because they want their spouse home or worse they didn’t get a chance to see them. I know people say Valentine’s Day is just a day, but it means something.
My therapist helped me understand long distance marriages aren’t uncommon. The two driving forces for them typically are:
1. sick family
We checked both boxes and I sat with Dr. Francis asking what to do next. Here’s some advice that worked for us during our time apart.
Whatever you did before the distance take the communication up times ten. This is the time to not only check-in to say I love you or I made it home safely but to see how their day is going. One day I had a big presentation at work and had been talking about it because I wanted to do well. Mike sent me an encouraging card and it made me feel special. Plus, he was listening.
I’d listen for things like I’ll be working late tomorrow to get this project done. The next day I’d send him Uber Eats. That’s one less thing he had to worry about.
I'd also reminded Mike if I was going out with some friends or had an event to attend.
You don’t want your spouse's mind to worry or wonder when you can’t respond to that text, pick up for FaceTime, or miss their call. The goal is to make life easier on the both of you. Nobody wants the dreaded we need to talk text hundreds of miles away.
Make a Plan
Now that you are talking and listening -- what is the plan to move closer? Write down your plan to get back in the same home and add dates. This will hold each person accountable. Life happens and dates will change but you can alter the written plan, not the mental one.
It’s so important to see each other. We tried to see one another at least twice a month and it helped tremendously. These scheduled visits could be a meet up in another city for a weekend getaway. Here's a picture of us in Costa Rica.
When you’re visiting each other don’t try to commit yourself to external events. Spend as much time as you can with just you two. Everyone will want to hang out, but they can wait. You two must make time because it’s limited.
Date Each Other
Now that you have your visits scheduled, make the most out it. Plan something to do. Ladies it’s not all on him — you plan them too. You can stay in or go out. One of our best dates was Mike telling me we’re going somewhere as soon as I land so come dressed up. OMG talk about being giddy and smiling from ear to ear. I arrived early at the airport wearing a dress in his favorite color. He took me to one of my favorite restaurants, Poor Calvins, and we had the best night.
It’s Not Everybody’s Business
It is very difficult to discuss this type of relationship with others. Why? Because every single time they see you they’ll ask, “When is your boo moving home?” Ugghh and there you are trying to find the words and it’s just not that easy. This is why some information is best not shared. I had some close friends who had experienced long distance marriages, so I leaned on them for sound advice.
I know it hurts to be far away but while you have some extra time invest in you. Take up that class, start the program, write the book or start the blog -- which is what I did.
Relationships and marriages can survive the distance, but you’ll have to put the extra effort into it.
If you’ve been in a long-distance marriage or relationship, how did you make yours last?