Investing in our relationship and staying connected with our partner can sometimes be a challenge. This can be especially true for couples who are living apart. Here, Jess Hills, our marriage support manager, shares some ideas to help build connection.
After searching endlessly, you’ve finally found someone that you want to commit to and spend your life with. You’re really happy together and can see a future. But through certain circumstances, you now find yourself separated from the one that you love by miles of distance. Somehow, this isn’t quite the happily ever after that those Disney films promised you.
There are a whole host of reasons as to why we may find ourselves far apart from our partner. It may be that you’re in a long-distance relationship and it’s not possible to live closely together in this season. Work may pull one partner across the country or even further afield for extended periods of time. There may be family situations that make it impossible to be near your partner at the moment. Whatever the reason, we understand that staying connected when you’re far apart can be a struggle.
Relationships are not for the faint hearted. Let’s be honest, investing in our relationships and intentionally staying connected can be challenging at the best of times. We will all go through periods of strain and difficulty in our relationships, none of us are exempt from that. But for many couples, there is an additional barrier to overcome – distance.
Before we were married, my husband and I spent a year in a long-distance relationship. We were engaged for much of this time and I clearly remember the constant tension I felt between wanting to enjoy the home and life that I’ve created for myself where I was but also desperately wanting to be with him. The time that we had together never felt like enough. In fact, I remember often spending the first part of our time together talking about how much I’d missed him and the second part preparing myself for him to leave again. And I’ll never forget the tough days, where we had to settle for connection via a video call instead of a hug. All that being said, living apart caused us to be creative, determined and intentional in our love for each other. It wasn’t easy, but our time apart helped build a strong and resilient foundation for our marriage, which is something that we now look back on with gratitude.
If you, or someone you know, is in a season of being apart from a partner, here are some ideas that may help to build connection:
- Revive the dying art of writing love letters
- Cook the same meal (or order the same takeaway!) and eat it together, apart
- Learn each other’s languages and get creative in how you can speak them
- Make a bucket list of things to do together in person
- Read a book or watch a film separately and then discuss it together
- Keep in touch via video calls
- Send small, unexpected gifts to let each other know you’re thinking of them
- Write each other sealed notes to open at certain times e.g. 1st of the month / a rainy day / an anniversary / when you’re missing each other etc.
- Send each other songs or create a shared playlist
- Spend some time talking about your memories of the past and dreams for the future
Creating connection is vital for every relationship, but even more so when we can’t be together. What worked for us may not work for you and that’s okay. What’s important is that you are able to find works for you, in your unique situation. And not only is creating connection something that will benefit your relationship right now, it’s also something that will bolster it for the future ahead.
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