A long-distance marriage. Man, that sounds pretty daunting, huh? The reality is, many of us find ourselves in long-distance relationships one way or another. It isn’t something we do on purpose. You don’t marry the love of your life and think, “Cool. Now we can live apart from each other and be sad. Sounds awesome.”
What happens is...life. Whether or not we want to be in a long-distance relationship does not always dictate how our lives unfold. The question is: can a long-distance marriage work? And what does it take to make it work?
Well, for one, it takes commitment. That’s the baseline. You’re married. That’s already a serious commitment. If you can’t handle some distance, that’s not a great sign. If you love someone with your whole heart and want to make the relationship work no matter the miles, it can happen—you have it in you! Here is how to handle a long-distance marriage and make it suck a little less.
Stay in Contact
We live in a day of modern technology. There really is no excuse for going three days without speaking to your partner. Stay in contact with your partner. If possible, text or message them throughout the day. Yes, the whole day. You want to feel connected and close. Messaging gives you this comfort and intimacy that you’d be able to make up for in the evenings after work.
You don’t have to text every second, but keep one, long conversation going. Perhaps you’re in different time zones. Simply message back when you wake up if you’re ahead of your spouse. It takes exactly two seconds to respond to a text. You’re married. Welcome to commitment.
You Have to Devote the (Face)Time
Since you’re going to be spending most of your time apart, you have to commit to seeing each other over video every single day. Allocating time devoted to your partner is extremely important. Not just a quick chat, but an hour at least.
In the same way we make time for an S.O. who lives in the same place, we have to make time for someone long distance. This is a component many of us forget. You need face-to-face interaction. And it needs to happen every single day.
We’re not expecting a constant stream of meaningful conversation for three hours every day, necessarily. When you’re getting ready to meet up with friends, working on a work project, watching a show before bed or grocery shopping, call your S.O. Just hang out on FaceTime or Skype together. You want to constantly establish to both each other and yourselves that you’re committed to the relationship.
Get Down With Video Sex
You knew this tip was coming, didn’t you? Video sex. It has to happen. Sure, if you’ve never Skype-sexed before it can be a little awkward. You weren’t born great in bed, you’re not going to magically know how to get it on via video either. It takes practice and a willingness to learn. Some of that learning may come with laughing at yourself. Sex is weird. It’s okay to laugh.
Keep it simple to start. Don’t feel pressured to watch each other or talk dirty (though, we do have a guide). You can develop these more advanced skills later down the road.
What you need to establish and capture is the sexiness and spark you have during actual sex. Video sex doesn’t make up for the real thing, but it can be very hot if you make it a regular part of your routine. Sexuality, even in a long-distance relationship, must be accounted for.
Set a Realistic Timeframe
Can a long-distance marriage work? Yes, but not forever. Life happens. Someone needs to move because of work, you’re not citizens of the same country, one of you has a sick parent, etc.
There are a thousand reasons why your relationship might be long distance. You can deal with it. But set a timeframe. Make a commitment not only to your relationship but to figuring out who is going to move and when. Having open-ended timeframes on your long-distance relationship simply doesn’t work. It leaves room for discomfort, rifts, and fights.
Don’t do it. It’s a trap. Set a time limit that works for both of you. Maybe it’s for one year. Perhaps you can live with two? Six months might be all you can handle. The important thing is that you make a decision and stick to your guns. Do what has to be done. Your relationship has to come before everything else. That’s what being married is about.