Mark: Last Tuesday, June 25, was our 36th wedding anniversary. If you’ve been hanging around her for very long, you KNOW that’s a BIG DEAL! (If you haven’t been hanging around here very long, you can read our story here.)
Jill: We had plans for celebrating on Tuesday, but my Dad ended up in the hospital in Indianapolis over the weekend. Mark and I had traveled over for a memorial service for his Uncle Bud on Friday and we were planning to see my parents on Saturday and then drive back home to Illinois. When Dad ended up in the hospital Friday night, Mark and I decided to stay through Sunday and then determined it would be best for me to stay with my parents for a few more days.
Mark: That meant we spent most of the week apart.
Jill: We immediately adjusted our plans. We spent a few hours together on Sunday celebrating our anniversary a couple days early and then Mark headed back to Illinois. We spent the next four days intentionally staying connected.
Mark: When we’re physically apart, there doesn’t have to be emotional distance. With that in mind, here are seven ways to stay emotionally connected when you and your spouse are in two different places.
Text a ton
Let your spouse know you’re thinking of him/her throughout the day. If it doesn’t come naturally for you to remember to text, set an alarm on your phone every two or three hours. We use the Bitmoji app and gifs for a little extra fun in our communication. On our anniversary, we had an ongoing texting conversation about the things we appreciate about each other. Mark decided he liked that communication better than any anniversary card he could have received.
Ask: How can I pray for you?
A great way to connect is to hear what’s weighing heavy on your spouse’s heart. When we ask how we can pray for each other, it gives us insight into what is stressing our spouse out, what’s they’re thinking, and what they need.
If you can video call, it allows you to see each other. That’s a deeper connection than just a voice call. If you don’t have Apple phones to Facetime, you can use something like the Zoom app to do free video calls too.
Let your spouse know what you’re doing.
Mark started working out last week over his lunch hour. Each day he would send me a text to let me know he was heading to his “lunch appointment.” I’d respond with a gif or a Bitmoji to cheer him on!
Talk on the phone
Try to connect daily, if schedules allow, to hear each other’s voice, pray together, and share what’s going on in each of your worlds.
Plan a re-entry date.
When you’ve been apart, you need to be intentional on how you re-connect when you return home. Often times guys want to reconnect sexually when gals need to reconnect emotionally before they make love. (Honestly, it could be the opposite in your home…this is just more often what happens in most marriages.) One couple we know always planned a date before the traveling spouse got home. She would pick up her husband at the airport and they would head out to lunch or dinner to reconnect as a couple before he reconnected as a dad. This gave them time to talk and for her to debrief him on who was grounded or parenting dynamics that had happened while he was gone. They connected emotionally in the afternoon so they could connect physically that evening!
Read the same chapters in the Bible while you’re apart.
This is easier to do with something like the book of Philippians which is just four chapters. If you’re apart for a week, read one chapter a day and then talk about what jumped out to you personally as you read.
What about you? What would you add to this list? How are you intentional about staying connected while you’re apart?
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