Keeping a Long Distance Marriage Healthy

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Being in a long-distance marriage creates complications and can make a marriage even more challenging. Here are a few tips for keeping your marriage strong even though you are not living under the same roof.

Communication Is Critical

The key, as it is in all relationships, is communication. Keep the lines of communication open on a daily basis. Send photographs, Skype one another, send text messages, share short videos online or through cloud computing. Technology is a very useful tool (this is even supported by scientific research), as long as you find the methods that work best for you.

Although you are apart from one another, make time for one another. Here are some ideas:

  • Send a love letter or an email
  • Write in a shared journal
  • Daydream about your spouse
  • Chat online or through text messages
  • Stream a movie or TV show and watch "together" by Skyping or FaceTiming
  • Enrich your online communication with electronic cards, music, poems, movies, and stories
  • Play online games together
  • Send care packages
  • Keep photos of each other displayed in your separate spaces
  • Give one another a scented pillowcase or shirt to help feel present with each other

Plan a trip, a few days away together, or some fun activity (other than sex) to do when the two of you are back together. It helps to always have time to look forward to when you will next be together in the same place, whether that is every weekend or only a few times a year.

In successful long-distance marriages, couples remain both interdependent and interconnected despite their distances. That means they keep each other involved in daily life and tasks.

Prioritize Trust

Share your expectations about being apart from one another. Also, share your expectations about being together again. It is vital that you are both committed to one another and truly believe in your marriage.

Be open about your separate social activities. Secrets breed mistrust—and when your partner knows what you are doing, they'll feel more connected to you, even from far away.

Your long-distance marriage will fail if there is a lack of trust between you. Be honest about your concerns and fears about your separation. Some couples find that long-distance marriage is easier than other long-distance relationships because they worry less about the possibility of breaking up. Instead, they focus on what they do share and how much they care about each other.

Don't assume that infidelity will occur because of your physical separation. Most long-distance marriages do not have to deal with this heartache because of the love and commitment the spouses feel for one another. When you face challenges, discuss them with each other, not with outsiders like friends or relatives. (The exception: A couples' therapist could help guide you through a difficult period.)

When You Are Reunited

Don't rush into getting things done around the house right away or spending lots of time with friends who have missed the traveling spouse too. Both partners will need some time to adjust to being back together. Children and pets will also need time to adapt to the new reality of having everyone under one roof.

1 Source
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  1. Lindemann DJ. Going the distance: Individualism and interdependence in the commuter marriage. J Marriage Family. 2017;79(5):1419-1434. doi:10.1111/jomf.12408.

By Sheri Stritof
Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She's the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book.