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11 Invaluable Lessons I Learnt In My Long Distance Marriage

Marriage is hard, and so is everything worth cherishing. Long distance marriages test those very bonds at some of the most extreme of conditions. To make it easy and relatable for you, here are 11 of the many invaluable lessons I’ve learnt in my experience of a long distance marriage:

Suggested read: 15 surprisingly simple long distance relationship advice to bring you closer

1. Learning to communicate

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

This sounds quite minor, but one of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced in my marriage is the right way to talk about something. You can make it or break it with just the way you approach a sensitive topic of conversation. I overthink things, it’s both a boon and a curse. I remember our work schedules barely leaving any time for us to talk over Skype (we had a routine for talking every other day for at least an hour), and while I adjusted with it fine without a moment’s hesitation, her workload and social events kept piling up. This was the point when I realized the ‘talk’ was necessary, but I neither had enough experience in the area nor was I sure if what I was doing was right, holding someone back. It took a week of intense pondering over before I uttered a word about it. The next time we spoke, I kept it quite light hearted and made a fairly rigorous arrangement without making her feel that I’m trying to steal from her life, and kept it reasonably objective and calm. Planning helps, and when you’re dealing with something like this, you should make sure you think everything through properly instead of just throwing a tantrum like an eleven year old.

2. Learning to set goals for how long you plan to stay apart

The mind needs what it wants, and in most cases a healthy mental goal with a reasonable reward at the end of the long and arduous hallway helps keep yourself together. My partner works in a completely different city and we don’t see each other for 4-5 whole months, and Skype calls hardly cut it. Every night I go to sleep, I slap myself on the cheeks and say to myself, “Well, there’s something to look forward to”. This is something called a psychological bluff, and this is why incentives actually work. They’re psychological encouragements, pushing you through the worst of times, and significantly toning down the crippling feeling of loneliness. Do be careful not to overuse it, our minds are great at adapting and it soon might stop working.

3. Learning to stay alone

woman traveling_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Ironically enough, probably the biggest lessons you’ll be teaching yourself when you’re in any domestic partnership/long distance relationship/marriage etc. is that you will constantly have to cope with being lonely. This is what happens when you focus your entire life and the behavior of your emotions on your relationship, which I shall elaborate further in #4. It’s funny how initially you begin resenting your partner, and towards the end you shake hands with the reality of it and slowly but surely you mold yourself to a stronger you. This isn’t particularly characteristic of long distance marriages, but almost any kind of romantic relationship. You are bound to feel lonely, as me and many others have. The trick is, to keep your cool and be mature about it and set up systems to negate the suffering (expanded in #4).

4. Learning to never make your marriage the center of your life

This will sound horrible to the average reader, and in some ways quite unhinging because you may not be used to it. However, this is something that is inevitable. You either ease into it on your own with relative comfort, or you suffer for weeks and are forced to adapt. I was lucky enough to get a warning call from a friend, and while it wasn’t all too easy to adjust with a brand new mentality towards my marriage, I kept telling myself it’d pay off in the long run. And, it did. No, I haven’t misplaced any priorities, nor any feelings of attachment, I’m just no longer emotionally feeding off my marriage, and neither should you. This comes from not fixating on your marriage and drastically expanding your daily to-do list. This is probably the only time in life when work feels great. It’s the best distraction; your mind is moderately occupied and you’re productive at the same time, which gives you a positive boost for later.

5. Learning to appreciate those around you

mama's boy_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

You will soon learn to love the people around you, your friends and your family. I took my parents out for lunch every other week when my partner was away, and schedule even more casual meet-ups with old friends and colleagues. Clearing out your calendar for a day and calling everyone over to binge on a TV series seems to have worked a great deal for me when it came to dealing with stress. This is the point when you work on those bonds you’ve spent months or years creating, and these have a tendency to last till the day you die.

Suggested read: 15 unique problems only couples in long distance relationships can understand

6. Learning that thick skin and patience are two pillars any long distance marriage stands on

There will be times when you will be right at the edge, about to lose your cool. While it may not seem as much of an advice, don’t. Losing my cool has certainly never solved any problems for me, and I’m more than sure that it won’t have a different result for anyone else. Just suck it up like I always have, and wait till you’re clear-headed enough to think everything over objectively. I initially felt I was the one who ‘lost’ the argument like the childish idiot I was, and it took time till things began to fall in their place. Be patient with yourself, and your partner. You can’t expect significant emotional adjustments to happen overnight, and the same goes for your partner. Believe it or not, both of you are trying your best to adjust in your own way, and it takes time.

7. Learning to grow a certain degree of much needed self-esteem

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Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

It should go without saying that you need to respect your partner in the course of a relationship, but what many people miss is that a major portion of that respect should be directed towards yourself. You need to realize that you’re not a completely selfless person, and neither is your partner, and you both try and secure your own emotional goals all the while caring for each other. This is the basis of any relationship, and it’s nothing wrong. Tilt the balance slightly towards your end, and introspect. Try and understand what you want out of this marriage, and your life in general. Set goals accordingly. You’ll find that you’re significantly less emotionally drawn out, less easily provoked, and calm more often than not.

8. Learning to build a realistic perspective towards things

The amount of perspective that you get through marriage, let alone life, is staggering. I’ve learnt more about the things around me in the last 5 years than ever before. My expectations towards something don’t shoot sky-high anymore, I’m hardly ever disappointed with anything, and I have a clear picture of how I want to make use of the day ahead me when I wake up. It’s honestly everything I’ve ever dreamed of, and for someone who has always felt alienated by his surroundings, this is a life changing experience.

9. Learning that setting your foot over someone else’s life is a no-no

woman watching tv_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

It’s funny how often we’re selfish to the point that we forget to empathize and forget that people around us are equally important. Any marriage, be it long distance or not, changes this perspective drastically. Asking your partner to ‘work less to spend more time with me’ becomes an immediate taboo, and you adjust yourself accordingly.

10. Learning to let go

You can never hold someone back, it doesn’t work. My marriage has taught me this better than any of my past relationships. There will come a time when you’re at a low point in your life, and you don’t have anyone around you to lean on. Instinctively, we burden our partners with these problems, not stopping for a moment to think their lives might not be sunshine and rainbows either. We want to cling, but our better judgment tells us to let go. When the time comes, you’ll know which is more viable.

Suggested read: I choose him today, tomorrow and everyday: the love story in all long distance relationships

11. Learning to love, in a way you’d never experienced before

First love pales in comparison to the attachments of a long distance marriage, unless the person you marry is your first love. If you make it work, muster all the effort just to keep hanging on, and be patient, you will see the reward soon enough, and a reward which isn’t as fleeting as fading emotions in those countless typical teenage relationships we’ve all gone through. This is your chance at creating something truly beautiful, just so you understand what’s at stake here.

So, there you go. Whether you choose to build upon it or squander it is up to you, I shan’t be preachy about it. Good luck, and I wish you a happy married life.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
11 Invaluable Lessons I Learnt In My Long Distance Marriage
A long distance marriage takes two brave souls striving to keep their commitment, despite all odds!
Siddhartha Bose

Siddhartha Bose

Contradictory solipsist who likes food and cuddles.