Over the past month, I have been away from my husband more than I have been with him. Being in Oklahoma helping my sister, I was only a four hour drive away but I felt like I was a million miles away. Even though we talked on the phone several times a day I found myself missing him more and more.
As a married couple, we have our routine. We get up and work out together, pray together and talk on my drive to work and then on my drive home. We plan what we are going to eat for dinner and then we go into our separate offices to get work done and then we try to get in the bed at the same time. On the weekends we are often inseparable and we enjoy our time together regardless of what we are doing. Our lives are entwined and it is very hard when we are apart from one another.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. What exactly does that mean? Basically, it means that when we are away from the people we love, we love them even more. According to a study published by the Journal of Communication, couples in long distance relationships have more meaningful interactions than those who see each other on a daily basis, leading to higher levels of intimacy.
Even though the study was done with college students, according to surveys there are about 3 million American adult couples in long distance relationships. How do they do it? Well it turns out that long distance couples engage in more frequent communication and discuss deeper issues, such as love, trust and future plans. While my husband and I were away from one another, I found myself categorizing things that I wanted to make sure I told him about and our conversations were more deliberate.
Long distance couples also tend to idealize one another more. In conversations with persons who have long distance relationships, they tend to talk about the great and wonderful things about their loved one. I met a guy this summer whose girlfriend not only lives out of state, but she lives in another country. Their time difference is 12 hours. With the use of social media, they are creative in their communication taking advantage of Facebook messaging and calling, skype and video chat. He told me lots of wonderful things about her including how smart and funny she was. They talked a lot about their plans to visit one another and the things they could explore together. This guy actually preferred the long distance relationship.
While away from my husband I definitely idealized him more. I could just imagine him all dressed up in his suit and tie going to work or church. As I could hear him walking across the kitchen floor, I imagined he was wearing the shoes that I loved to see him wear. Whenever I got to see him through Face Time I was all giggles and excited. Face time made life a little bit easier because I at least could see his face.
While I was away I also missed my church family and my co-workers. Now, I am back at home and trying to resume my normal life. I don’t know what normal is now, but I do know one thing, I couldn’t wait to get home to my husband. Not being away from each other for this long of a time period, made me realize how difficult it is to live without him by my side and my heart has definitely grown fonder. Husband, I’m glad to be home!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach