When my husband and I started dating, we attended different colleges in different states. We had been friends in high school and reconnected over a Christmas break. Just a few weeks later, I went to Argentina for a semester. We got engaged that summer and spent a few months together before I went back to school. We were engaged long-distance for two years. Those days seem so long ago, nearly 16 years now!
While having a long-distance relationship and engagement wasn’t easy, we learned to be creative in staying connected. This has served us well in recent years, as my husband’s job sometimes requires him to travel and I also take trips from time to time.
It’s important for us all to keep our marriages a priority, especially when we aren’t together. Here are some suggestions on how to stay connected with your spouse when you’re apart:
Check in Regularly: Even though schedules are often busy when one of you is away on a trip, make time daily to check in with each other. These days there are so many options: a text, phone call, Facetime, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. (Back when we were dating, we used AOL Instant Messenger, haha!) Find what works best for you both.
Plan Some Surprises: Leave each other surprise gifts or notes to be found during the trip. My husband loves Twinkies, so sometimes I’ll buy him a box and leave them in the pantry for him to find while I’m gone.
Make Physical Intimacy a Priority Before and After You’re Apart: A couple we admire gave us this advice years ago and for good reason. When we’re not with our spouse, we can more easily be tempted. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NLT):
“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
The bond and positive feelings created through physical intimacy can help connect us through the time apart and help us ward off temptation. When we have sex before and after an extended absence, it protects our marriage.
Plan a Reunion: Think about a unique way to celebrate your spouse’s return. Be romantic and plan something special. Perhaps a date night out or a quiet candlelight dinner at home. Or pick your spouse up at the airport with flowers or his favorite coffee drink. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive but spend some extra effort on welcoming your spouse back home.
I love this quote from Martin Luther: “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” Such great advice that applies to both spouses, regardless of who is coming and going. Let’s keep it and these ideas in mind the next time our spouse travels away from home without us.