A long-distance marriage is not an easy experience. Those whose spouse spends much of their time abroad on business know that well enough. The spouse that remains at home has a lot on his/her mind: How will I manage everything on my own? Who will help with the kids? And the most worrying thought of them all: what if my spouse will have an affair while abroad?
The separation period is definitely not easy. But a couple CAN survive it, and come out with a strong, loving relationship. Here are a few tips that will help you keep the spark alive.
Stick to Business
Remember, what you have here is business travel. Yes, a change in the everyday routine, living in a hotel and eating out instead of the usual soup and meatballs can make you feel like you’re on vacation, and it will certainly feel so at the beginning. However, anyone who spends much of their time traveling on company business would tell you otherwise. After months of constant traveling, the flights are not that fun anymore, but tiresome, and eating all alone, even in fancy restaurants, suddenly seems dull without your family. You won’t feel it right away, but you’ll get there. But if you’re not there yet, keep the trip as businesslike as possible. Don’t hang out in pubs and clubs (assuming you have the time for it) and remember there’s someone waiting for you back home.
Even when you’re away, there are many ways to spend quality time with your spouse and do things together. And they better be simple, everyday things that you usually to do together at home. But since you’re not at home, make sure you’re both available and “book ahead”. So here’s what you do. Review your schedules, and make plans for you and your spouse. Find time to watch a movie together, or eat dinner, (wine, virtual flowers and all) as if you were out on a date. By the way, you may as well call it a date, it’s more cool and romantic that way. You can talk on the phone or Skype while watching, making comments about the movie, or just have a casual conversation. Call home every night to wish the kids good night or at the morning, to wake your spouse.
However, you don’t have to plan everything ahead. Surprise each other once in a while with a phone call. To spice up your communication, use web cams or video phones. When will you ever have an opportunity for a video date? Remember, technology is your best friend. With Skype and other technological miracles, you don’t have to miss a birthday party, or Thanksgiving. You can almost be there with the ones you love. You can even have virtual sex with your spouse. Think of the possibilities.
Share Your Plans
To keep the spark alive, your marriage should be a priority even when you’re on a business trip. Your spouse should be fully involved in your day routine and plans. It will help you feel more “together”. So talk about your plans. Share them with your spouse, even if they’re really minor. Tell them about the news at work, tell your kids about the culture and the people in the country you’re currently visiting, or talk about your future plans together.
Make the Most of Your Time Together
The spouse at home might be tempted to save up chores, frustrations and problems for the returning spouse. Don’t do it! The time you spend together is too precious, so use it well. If the returning spouse has been away all week, they shouldn’t spend their few hours at home with friends or with other activities that keep you away from the family. Find a balance between the must-do activities and time together. Go out on a date. Go out camping with the kids. Spend a quiet evening at home. Whatever makes you happy, make the most of your time together.
A long-distance marriage can be a tough experience. The spouse at home remains with all the chores, worries and loneliness while the traveling spouse has to cope with tiresome flights and various temptations abroad. But it can make your marriage stronger if both want it hard enough. When we must take an effort to communicate and spend time with the ones we love, we might not take them for granted as we might have done before. We might appreciate what we have a bit more.