This July, my husband and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. He lives and works in South Florida while I live and work in Denver, Colorado, 2,044 miles away. Every Sunday night he takes the midnight flight to Florida and then Friday afternoon he takes the evening flight back home. It isn’t easy, but by navigating the issues the distance poses, our marriage is stronger than ever. Here’s what I’ve learned from the experience:
You Can Be Strong Alone.
If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you’ve probably become so used to having a partner for everything, that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be alone. That’s not always a good thing. Over the past year, I’ve discovered that I’m a lot stronger than I thought. I love my husband and love it when he’s with me, but now I know that if I was ever stranded on my own, I could handle anything and everything. Just because I’m living like a single girl, I don’t need pity.
Time Is the Most Important Thing.
When we lived together 24/7, spending time with each other was automatic. We didn’t think of wasted time. Now, it’s all important. Our weekends are absolutely vital to our relationship. We do NOT let them go to waste. We soak in every moment together.
Hobbies and Dreams are Necessary.
We’ve never been one of those couples who did everything together or dreamed the same dreams, but now we’ve diverged even more. When you live separately, you realize that your goals, hobbies and dreams are what will keep you going. I’ve started training for an Ironman triathlon, written a book, and spent more time with my friends. While my husband is following his dream career, I’m following my own, and that’s okay.
It’s Okay to Sacrifice.
Fairness isn’t always possible. What is possible is a willingness to sacrifice for each other. Right now, I’m sacrificing my relationship with my husband so he can pursue his dream career. I don’t love it. It’s not easy, but he needs it, and I’ll do it. Another time, he might need to put his dreams on hold for me. There’s no scorecard, just a desire to help each other succeed.
Normal Is Overrated.
We’re ten-years-married with no kids and living on opposite coasts. In no way is that a typical relationship and that’s fine. In fact, it’s great. What we’re doing works for us. Other people might not get it, but we’re not married to other people. So screw everyone else. If it works; it works.
Communication Is Key.
Just because we live apart doesn’t mean we don’t talk. We talk every day, and we text often. Don’t get me wrong, he’s busy and, sometimes, we only talk for 30 minutes before he crashes in bed at midnight, but we still make the effort. We talk about anything and everything so that we don’t feel so separate.
You Can Binge Watch from Anywhere.
Guess what, you don’t have to be in the same room or even the same state to go on a date. We recently spent an evening binge-watching Suits from separate computers. We put Facetime on our phones and counted down 3-2-1 “play” and BAM! We were on a relaxed, TV date.
He’s Worth It.
Some people might think, “Wow! Why do you put up with it? Just put your foot down and tell him no.” I won’t. He’s worth it. He’s worth the strange hours, the long distance, the lonely nights, and all the other crap that comes with living apart. His dreams are worth it, too. Will we do this forever? Of course not. But, for now, he’s worth the sacrifice.
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