(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)
Now I’ll be the first to say that having your own personal time/space or whatever you call it, when in a relationship is essential. Whether it be a Moms Night Out or a Guys Poker Night, these only tend to be brief stints of individuality (and sadly few and far between). Is anything wrong with wanting/having this space? Absolutely not. It’s actually healthy to have ongoing scheduled times when you’re not joined at the hip with your partner. However, there will be times in most marriages (or any relationship, for that matter) when you’ll spend an extended period of time apart from the person you love. It could be due to a business trip that will last a few days, or perhaps you’re traveling solo for a family event like a wedding, birthday or funeral, or it could even be something as simple as volunteering to chaperone your kid’s camping trip or church retreat. Whatever the case may be, the result is being away from your significant other for days at a time.
Now I’m sure most people have heard the old adage “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Well, I want to turn that saying on its head! Distance, in and of itself, will NOT necessarily make the heart grow fonder. When people make this statement, they really should add a disclaimer that says “Only if certain conditions are met.” Because the truth is that being away from someone doesn’t make them miss you if you ignore them, it only serves to make them angry. 😉 Okay, okay… what am I getting at? It’s simple. You have a better chance of the heart growing fonder if you’re proactive about planning for the time you’re away. Here are just a few suggestions…
1. You can leave brief love notes around the house or anywhere your S.O. will find them periodically while you’re gone. They don’t have to be long. Just something like leaving a note on her pillow that says, “You’ll be in my dreams tonight.” Or another note on the dashboard of her car that says, “At this very moment, I’m imagining myself sitting next to you, holding your hand.” You can call it corny if you like, but this simple deed will speak volumes about your love for her because of the obvious forethought that went into the planning and writing.
2. You could have one (or more) of your S.O.’s favorite items delivered to the house by a family member or mutual friend while you’re away. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, if she likes chocolate and books, have her mother stop by the first day with Hershey’s Kisses (or Godiva if you roll like that) and say, “He wanted me to make sure you had something sweet.” Then on the second day, have her best friend drop off a book she’s been dying to read with a bookmark made from a picture of you two. And so on and so forth…
3. Plan phone dates ahead of time, letting her know when you’re going to call or Skype each night you’re apart. It’ll be something to look forward to and it lets her know that regardless of where you are, she’s still the most important person in your life. Never forget that simple consideration goes a L O N G way in maintaining the spark in a relationship. 😉
While these are just a few suggestions, there are many ways to show your ongoing love and devotion to someone when you can’t be face to face. This can be especially important for those with spouses in the military who can be deployed for months at a time. In the grand scheme of things, this type of preparation is a relatively small effort to put forth to ensure that your S.O. never feels undervalued or forgotten when you’re apart… and when you really love someone, isn’t it worth it? 🙂