Guest Author - Lori Phillips
A long distance marriage is one where the spouses live in separate residences, usually miles and miles apart. Typically, the top reasons for long distance marriage arrangements are job/career, college, and military deployment. Not every marriage is strong enough to withstand the strains of separation, but they can work.
Are they destined to fail?
Long distance marriages arenít all destined for divorce and affairs. A committed couple can weather the long separations, especially when they are working toward a common goal like family economic survival. Although military couples express that deployment adds strain on their marriages, when each mate is occupied by his or her own duties, the hours can be filled with purposeful, distracting activity.
In some types of marriages, the separation can help the spouses stay together. One man I know only sees his wife one weekend every other month, on holidays, and for a few extended vacations a year. Their jobs keep them in separate states, and although their living arrangements may make cheating easy, they are faithful and content for the time being. ďWe donít argue or get on each otherís nerves like we used to,Ē he joked. He admits he does miss his wife, though, and they eventually will move back in with each other when their job situations change.
In another marriage I know of, the spouses see each other only a few times a year for weeklong co-habitations. Both agree that their personalities, habits, and goals would clash too much if they saw each other on a daily basis. While this seems like an extreme way to make their marriage work, they have no desire to couple with others outside their marriage nor do they want to replace the other with another relationship. ďSome people say that we donít have a marriage,Ē said the wife. ďBut we love each other and do not have affairs.Ē The extended intimacy-free periods do cause some physical longing, and they have considered an open marriage to allow for each partner to seek physical fulfillment with others; but so far, they have not taken that step. Knowing that intimate relations can be bonding, they are concerned about the threat an open marriage might pose to their relationship.
If youíre thinking about a long-distance marriage, consider the following first:
*Are you both independent-minded?
*Do you get bored and lonely or can you fill your time productively?
*How will you deal with the missing physical intimacy?
*How often will you reunite?
*For how long will you be separated?
*Do you both have other reliable emotional support systems?
*Can you trust each other to be faithful?
Long distance precautions
*Keep focused on your joint goal.
*Keep busy and occupied with productive activities. Those empty moments are when the mind wanders into loneliness, dissatisfaction, and temptation.
* Consider technology as necessary expenditure because it helps keep a live connection between the two of you. Cellular phones, Web cams, and Skype allow you to talk, hear each othersí voices, and see each other in real time. You wonít seem like strangers when you reunite.
*Donít find emotional surrogates in opposite sex friendships. A subconscious yearning for your mate can seek fulfillment from another person. Emotional and physical affairs begin innocently.
*Be flexible when reuniting. Your usual routine will have to readjust to your partnerís presence all over again.
While husbands and wives need to adjust emotionally to living apart, they also find that moving back in together requires even more adjustments. Husbands and wives can become accustomed to doing things their own way, without having to consider their mateís preferences. Living together means getting used to each otherís habits and melding two lifestyles all over again.
If this happens to you, being patient and flexible helps. The good part about long-distance marriages is that you donít take each otherís presence for granted, and the anticipation can bring the giddiness of falling in love all over again.