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Managing long-distance marriage relationship

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By Dickson Tumuramye

Every marriage prospers well when a couple lives together without anything separating them at any moment.

But certain circumstances may be beyond their control, and they end up staying apart for some time.

The common reason for this may be a far way job, career advancement, and health issues, among others.

Whatever the reason, it leaves one feeling lonely and physically missing the partner. It can be challenging if a couple is not in touch.

Out of this, some may end up in infidelity, as we have heard about such circumstances happening.

But if well managed, the marriage relationship may remain flourishing.

One of my friends in a long distance marriage says it is very great challenge for both spouses.

This creates a gap that may never be easy to fill. It affects your relationship and that of the children if you have any.

She added that with each passing day, the gap grows bigger. It also affects your sexual life.

At this point, it becomes a very good breeding ground for unfaithfulness.

There is a loss of interest in the things that you used to do together as a couple, as we each will naturally find other ways to do it, which certainly will be with other people.

If it is not managed well, it could even cause one to get into depression because there is a deep longing that one has and may not be easy to share with other people.

Such challenges can be managed if a couple helps each other to cope with them.

This depends on several factors not limited to the following:

Communication
Any marriage relationship flourishes well in communication that is not only constant, but also consistent.

These days, there are many channels of communication that should keep us virtually connected.

Factors such as education, work, among others normally force people into distance relationships. (Photo/Pulse)

The common one that is cheaper is social media and video conferencing platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom, Microsoft teams, Skype, etc.

Call, text, email, send photos and videos, voice recordings, in order to fill the gap.

Therefore, nothing should stop you from keeping in touch.

Emotional needs
Feelings of loneliness can cause stress and depression because of a lot of thoughts and moods that no one else may understand.

It is important for both of you to keep sharing such thoughts together every time you chat and talk.

Remember, an idle mind is a workshop of the devil. When a person has a lot running in their mind, it affects them and such negative thoughts can lead one into depression or even giving in to other temptations, trying to keep busy or loved. Be present even from a distance.

Agree on the time
If your spouse is not far away and you have a means of visiting each other, agree on the period when one should travel.

Also, agree on how long it should take for one to return home, especially for your sake and children.

This can be every weekend, monthly or annually, depending on the distance and cost. If it is within your means and you feel you can manage it, work on a travel schedule and plan accordingly.

Healthy boundaries
In the absence of your spouse, you may become vulnerable to friends or any person may want to take advantage of you and show unexceptional love and care.

If you are not careful enough, you may find yourself in a situation that you might not control.

It is better you keep a distance from trials and temptations that can cause you to fall in love with your friend of the opposite gender.

Good support systems
You cannot remain isolated and think you will manage. You need a strong support system of relatives, friends, family, and fellowship/Church to keep you going.

If you have children, spend quality time with them and help them not to be affected negatively by the absence of their parent.

When my wife was away for further studies, I had three very young babies with the eldest at four years old, my friends helped to take care of the children and checked on us regularly. This kept me going until she was back.

Keep busy
My friend’s spouse has been outside Uganda for close to three years.

She says she had to take baking classes, went back to school, and ensured that she keeps herself busier.

As such, she has seen days pass by and does not fully feel lonely.

You can also think of what can keep you and your children busy and active to avoid some “emptiness”.

Prayer and trust in God
The Psalmist says: “I will look at unto the hill from where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord” (Psalms 121:1-2), “He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).

This means that if you put your trust in God and seek help in your weaknesses, He is very present because He promised not to forsake or leave us alone.

He will be your counselor and comforter when you feel overwhelmed.

The writer is a child advocate, parenting coach, and founder-Men of Purpose.
tumudickson@gmail.com

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