I wrote this piece four years ago and until now, I still receive messages of gratitude from people who have read it. So now, I share this very personal article of mine in the hope that this could help anyone who may be going thru a long distance relationship.
Before my Husband and I lived together in Sydney, we had to go thru the process of a long distance relationship twice. The first one was after we got engaged when I received my permanent residency visa and the second one was after our wedding in the Philippines. The first one was painful because it was our first time to be apart. But that pain came with a bit of excitement because while I was on my way to Sydney, he was on his way to Dubai for a sudden work opportunity. After 14 months, we reunited in the Philippines and got married. After two weeks of honeymooning, we both went back to our respective countries and this time, the parting was more painful. It took us another 14 months to see each other again and start the life of a newlywed couple. It felt like forever but we each faced this challenge with a patient heart, an open mind and faith that never wavered. Here’s how we survived a long distance marriage:
We were never too dependent on each other. I think this reason stems from the fact that our nature as a couple is that we are two happy and independent human beings. We have this thinking that we can survive and be happy without each other if needs be. And this factor was a big help in not sweating the long distance issue so much.
We gave each other the freedom to enjoy each other here and now. With the thousand miles between us, we took out any pressure from each other, gave each other space and didn’t follow any strict routines. We never used the phrase “Long distance na nga tayo, di mo pa ako bigyan ng time”. We never had a serious issue with time. I made sure that even if we are apart, we lived in the present by enjoying what is given to us at any given moment.
We always respected each other’s time. There was never a moment that my husband called me in the middle of dinner with family or friends or I would call him in the middle of work or when he’s out with friends. The only reason we would call each other when we’re at work or out with friends was if it was an emergency. And calls like this usually took less than five minutes. Other than respect for each other’s time, we strongly feel that it is rude to do this infront of our family and friends.
We were always ready to take a backseat for each other. Whenever the husband was doing a big project at work (i.e. exhibitions) I had to take a back seat and will never disturb him–no phone calls on the days he was preparing for the event…even email was a no-no. And if I’m too busy, he did the same for me.
We didn’t have strict rules on when we should communicate. A lot of family and friends were amazed with the fact that we never email, call nor chat everyday. Believe it or not, we lasted a few days without hearing from each other. We rarely chat because when I’m home, he’s still at work (we had about 6-7 hours time difference). Our normal phone dates were only during Friday and Saturday nights.
We were focused. We got tired, we cried together, we got lonely, but whenever sadness loomed, we embraced the pain and told each other “This too shall pass, let’s find our centre and focus.” We never let our emotions get the better of us. We believe it is important to be logical about things for better perspective.
We used a lot of sense of humour and positive thinking. Wallowing and focusing on the negatives does not solve anything. That’s why we made an effort to make each other laugh even if we were sad sometimes. We also acknowledged that it was a sad thing this being away but in a few minutes, we moved on and thought of the good things that will come out of our sacrifices.
We held on to our faith even more. In every challenge as a couple it was easier to let go and let things be because of our faith. God is good, He is always faithful and He never fails.
We’ve never sweat the small stuff. Loved ones who have seen us thru this stage noticed that we never made our long distance relationship a big deal. Instead of focusing on being apart, we made the most of the time we spent apart. We gained friends, made good with our respective careers, explored new countries and learned a lot of things that helped us became better individuals.
We’re always a TEAM. In every decision, big or small, we take into consideration each other’s values and we support each other a hundred percent. We are each other’s confidante and best friend. We are very independent individuals but as a couple we are whole, we are partners.
Being away from each other came to an end and we will always be grateful of the lessons we learned from that experience. It was fulfilling, it was an achievement, it was of great learning and growth. We will always be proud of ourselves that we were able to surpass a long distance marriage.
Ibyang Sanchez is a food and lifestyle blogger. She writes about her wifely lessons and adventures on “A Wife’s Charmed Life” http://awifescharmedlife.blogspot.com/