Long Distance Relationships: How We Do It.

Some of you might be wondering how John and I manage to keep our relationship strong as we navigate things long-distance.


Hell, sometimes I wonder, too. Judging by the photo above, one might infer that we make it work by camping, recycling, and being booze hounds.



Neither of us have ever had a long-distance relationship, let alone in our marriage, so we're new at this. However, in the last six months, we've come to know very quickly that there are some things that strengthen our marriage long-distance.

 (Our wedding night.)

We'd like to share those long-distance marriage tips with you.

...

First, we talk on the phone at a regular time, no matter what. Even if it's only for a minute or two. It's really important that we make - sometimes force - regular communication in our schedules. Sometimes we talk for nearly an hour, and other times only a few minutes, but we talk every day at about 5:30 p.m. before John goes to work, and at about 6:30 a.m. when he comes home from work. We make a point to hear each others voice. No exceptions.

We tango. You know, the app: Tango. It's a free app that you can download and then make video calls to other people who have also downloaded the app. It's awesome to see his face, and I know he appreciates me taking him on little 'tours' of the house to show him projects I've been working on, or letting him see the dogs run around in the backyard as I throw a ball. Ah, yes, friends; it's the little things in life...

I get his input on home project and garden things, even though he's away. Yeah, you know I'm pretty proud of my independence with maintaining our home while John's away, but that doesn't mean I don't need him or his input. Really, it's important that he still has a say in what happens around our home, even if he doesn't get to enjoy it for a few months. By doing so, John feels connected to what's happening here, and I feel like I am still in a partnership.

He texts me in the middle of the night. John works the 12-hour night shift, but he still sends me random texts on his breaks. I don't check them until the morning, but it's always fun to wake up to a text from him.

I do family dinner with his sisters on Sunday. This is probably the most helpful part of maintaining a strong long-distance relationship. John's sisters have a potluck-style family dinner every Sunday afternoon. It is good for my soul to connect with these {seven!} women, who remind me of John in so many ways. It makes it easier for me to get through the long stretches without seeing him, because I still feel like he's around when I'm with my sister-in-laws.

Not only that, but these women love to laugh and tell stories, and are so gracious to include me in their family, regardless of their brother's absence. It's just f-ing fun to get together with them in a low key environment every week.

If John gets a chance to come home, we try not to schedule too many 'things' into his time off. We see family and do fun stuff with our friends, and we do a home project that I might not be able to do all by myself, but that's about it. If he wants to lay on the couch, eat pizza and watch baseball all day, I let himI try let him without nagging himI try to let him without nagging him every 15 minutes.

Ok. I don't let him do that all day. He's home to spend time with me, so he does. The end.

I 'stockpile' my free time and make a point to visit him for a few weeks, rather than a few days. Sometimes I have a free weekend when I could go see him, but instead of rushing down and rushing back, I'll organize my free time into larger blocks - like a week or two - so I can spend more quality time with him at once. This probably wouldn't work if we had children, but it works really well for us right now.

When I visit him, I make sure my mind is on us. Not the lawn, the garden, the house, or what's happening back home. This is really hard, because when I am at home I am really project and garden orientated, and naturally I worry about how things are faring in my absence. I prepare for time away from home by getting super organized before I leave and making sure I have no reasons to rush back home. We put our mail on hold at the post office, hire a lawn service to mow our lawn, put our home on the police department's 'vacation watch', and enlist the help of a neighbor to water the garden if no rain is in the forecast. By front-loading these tasks I can make sure I focus on us while I am away, not worrying about things at home.

When John is in between jobs, we take a mini-vacation together. This is like a celebration for our efforts at a long-distance relationship! Plus, we love traveling. Enough said.

I make a point to connect with supportive friends. The key word is supportive. These are friends that understand that it wouldn't necessarily be appropriate for me to go out booze houndin' when John is out of town, and are up for trying new things with me that don't involve getting schnockered.

(To these friends: You've all given us a ton of support - we owe you our thanks!)

I'm not saying that I don't go out for a beer with my girlfriends, or do anything social. 'Happy Hour' is like my middle name. I just don't go out partying hard on weekends, when I know it might cause stress on our relationship. But that brings a question - what are your thoughts on partying without your spouse or significant other? Leave us a comment.

...



Since we're doing this whole long-distance thing at times, you really should 'like' us on Facebook. You can keep us company. It's a blast, and not only that, but you can get the freshy-fresh news on all things Sustainable Couple. See, doesn't that sound like a blast?

Carry on.


22 comments:

  1. We did the long-distance thing before we got married. I lived in California and my fiance lived in Mongolia. It was three years of working out visas and paperwork so we could get married and then move to Mongolia. We had ONE visit in the middle of that three years.

    And this was in the days before everyone had a computer, email, skype, etc. We sent old-fashioned letters and cards. It would take three weeks for our letters to cross the ocean.

    Wow! It seems like so long ago. It was TOUGH! I mean, TOUGH! I think both of us nearly gave up several times. Seriously, the Lord carried us through, I'm sure of it.

    We've been married 13 years now and have 8 kids. :-)

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