Most days, my husband and I are no more than 70 feet apart from each other. This is the distance from his garage to my home office.
The working arrangement we have gives us the opportunity to eat our meals together, as well as stay physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually connected. Plus, it allows us to manage our daily routines together, and blend into each others’ work.
There are days that I serve in the garage as the secretary, parts deliverer, customer service representative, and the navigator for roadside customers who need immediate mobile service. I am truly working on being the ultimate helpmate to my husband.
When I think about how far we’ve come, there was a point in our marriage where we were over 1,300 miles away from each other! However, even with the distance and the slight difference in time, we managed to carve out moments to emotionally and spiritually feed our relationship to ensure that the cord that bound us did not break.
This reflective moment made me think how blessed we are, and what God has done and is doing for us. But, I can only wonder – how many couples allow physical distance to create division in their relationships?
How can couples use distance as a multiplier – not a divider?
Long Distance Relationship Tips
Here are a few tips that may help you and your spouse thrive in a long distance relationship. This list is not limited to physical distance alone, but can also be used to strengthen your marriage against mental, emotional, and spiritual distance as well.
1. Say what’s on your heart and mind to keep clear communications.
Do not expect your mate to read between the lines. Practice repeating what you heard your spouse say to eliminate confusion. This will make sure the deliverer and receiver walk away with the same message. Clear and transparent communication will eliminate presumptions and misinterpretations.
2. Stretch your imagination to come up with new and creative ways to show acts of love.
Learn your mate’s Love Language. Even if you are not physically present, your love can still be felt. For instance, if your spouse’s love language is Service, and you usually keep all the vehicles fueled, make use of service providers, e.g. mobilefuel.me to deliver gasoline right to your mate’s door.
If your spouse’s love language is Touch, give your mate an item of clothing sprayed with your favorite scent to wrap up in during times of absence.
3. Send tokens that speak your heart to their heart.
Written love letters, voice-recorded love affirmations, and videotaped love confessions are a few examples of how to articulate your heart. If you are more artsy, write a poem or song that expresses your feelings for your mate.
4. Spend time planning when you’ll be together physically and how to use the time most efficiently.
Reuniting for the weekend? Create a schedule to allow for quality time together, not just busy work or chores – which are necessary, but not necessarily a priority. Have a DATENIGHT schedule and a separate Honey DO list.
5. Stand up for the things that bring harmony to your home.
Don’t participate in activities that will hurt you or your partner. Maintaining your spiritual, emotional, and mental health positively affects your mate, though they may be miles away. Continue to share in making critical decisions together to build a joint understanding of the relationship and boundaries.
6. Strengthen your friendship by learning more through discovery techniques.
Play the Newlywed Game with each other; ask probing but fun questions to identify likes and dislikes. This activity will help you to connect as friends and lifelong partners so you aren’t strangers when you come together.
7. Choose friends who respect and nurture a strong relationship of their own.
Associate with couples who are strong in their marriage to give support to yours. Connect with people who have successfully navigated the “long distance” waters, who can give advice and encouragement during trying times.
8. Search for ways to lift each other privately and publicly.
Use your social media networks wisely to highlight the good in your relationship. Share your testimony of strength with those you trust in your network.
When duty calls, sacrifice to be there to support your mate when they need it the most.
9. Strip away things, people, or thoughts that can be potential distractions.
Cut out any excess extra-curricular activities that take away from “couple time” when you come together. Make sure your friends and loved ones respect your reunited time with each other. During lengthy seasons apart, choose prayer over porn to protect your mate’s place in your mind and spirit.
10. Step outside of expected roles and become what you each need.
Don’t get caught up in societal roles such as who does the housework versus lawn work. Allow these duties to be outsourced, if possible, as to not create a burden on anyone. If outsourcing does not fit your finances, work together to address concerns that can be handled by the individual who is home. But, don’t stress or overwhelm the traveling partner with extra duties.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Do not allow anything, not even distance, to separate what God has joined together (Mark 10:9).
Keep a grip on your feelings and emotions so you don’t build walls between you and your mate.
Keep your mind focused on those things that keep each of you on the same path together, so you won’t stray in opposite directions.
How do you manage the health of your long distance relationship?