Like most people, I didn’t get married expecting to live apart from my husband. When he joined the Army Reserves, I knew the potential to be away from me was greatly increased, but thinking about it and actually doing it are two very different things.
When he was away for training, 3 months, 2 summers in a row was a blink of an eye for a young mom who used that time to finish her degree and renovate an old farmhouse. But, a couple of years later, 2 year long deployments back to back changed our lives forever.
By God’s grace, our marriage stayed strong through it all, but I learned a lot about myself and true love during those years.
Communication is Essential
Absence can make the heart grow fonder, but it’s important to do what you can to bridge the distance. If you have the ability to speak to each other while you are apart, don’t waste that time on petty things or picking fights. Of course, if the refrigerator breaks, talk to him about what you need to do, but don’t make your communication all business.
Flirt with Your Spouse!
Let him know he’s missed. Let him know that you can’t wait until you are together again. If you can’t communicate while you are apart, do your best to send him off with something that resembles communication. Love notes – perhaps one to open every day or each week, or a little token of your love he can keep in his pocket.
Decisions Need His Input (whenever possible)
As I mentioned above, sometimes things happen while your spouse is away, and as much as possible, you need to get his input on what you should do. But, don’t forget to involve him in smaller decisions too. Keeping him in the loop of the every day happenings of your life will help him feel more a part of things.
However, be aware that he may not want to think a whole lot about being separate from the family, and being involved in every little decision may only serve to frustrate him. If all else fails, ask him if he wants you to include him in these decisions or if he’d rather you take care of things and spend your communication time on more relationship-based talk.
Distance Makes Difficult Conversations Easier
In our marriage, there had been the proverbial “elephant in the room” for several years. With my husband’s deployments, we were able to work through those issues. The distance meant we weren’t reacting so impulsively to each other’s words and feelings. We wrote letters, and eventually burned those letters to symbolize moving past the issues we had been dealing with.
Not every marriage can handle dealing tough marital issues from a distance, but for many couples the distance makes it easier to get to the heart of the matter and begin restoring the marriage.
Homecoming is a Celebration!
Whatever the reason for the separation, the homecoming should be sweet! Plan the event according to your specific couple dynamic. Perhaps it will be a time for a party with friends and family. Maybe a quiet and romantic evening is in order. If separation is a reoccurring event, then perhaps a welcome home would include a favorite meal, a family movie night, and a time of reconnecting as a couple.
However, you choose to welcome your husband home, do it in celebration-style. Show him how thrilled you are to have him as a part of your life.
And lastly, and the most important thing I learned from those long-distance years…
Your Husband is Not Your Savior
I had put my husband on a pedestal. I depended on him for everything, and then one day, he was gone. I had no way to speak to him, except for 15 minutes snippets every couple of weeks. When I was feeling sad or lonely or overwhelmed, my husband wasn’t home to make it all better for me. I had put my trust in Ty instead of Jesus. I learned through that time away from my husband that he was not “my present help in time of need” because he couldn’t be everywhere and everything I needed, and he definitely could not right all my wrongs. I learned that I had put my husband above my Lord, and in doing so, I set him up for failure because he’s just a man who needs grace and mercy as badly as I do.
Those years we spent apart have made us who we are today as a couple. We cherish our time together. The short separations we go through now are nothing compared to those days. The Lord has been good to us, and I am thankful for the distance between us that gave clarity to our marriage.
Amy of RaisingArrows.net is the homeschooling mother of 7 living children and one precious little girl named Emily being held in the Lord’s arms. Her days are filled with giggly girls, rambunctious boys and sticky baby kisses. At night, she writes about it all. Amy is the author of several ebooks, including The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule and Psalms for the Grieving Heart. It is her deepest desire that out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth should speak…and her fingers type.Please note, this post contains affiliate links. See disclosure for full information