Ever since I met my husband, we’ve been a "long-distance couple." Dating for us meant weekends on the road, constant (and sometimes teary) good-byes and phone bills through the roof. Now that we’re married, we finally have the same address, but my husband’s job requires frequent trips out of town.

We know marriage requires dedication, effort and quality time together. And so far, we’ve learned to do a few things to help keep our relationship healthy. If distance often separates you and your spouse, these tips could be helpful to you:

Pray for wisdom

Discuss the implications of a job that requires frequent travel. Then, as you pray and invite God to direct your decisions, He will provide the strength and wisdom you’ll need to make your marriage flourish.

Be alert

Recognize that you are putting yourselves in a position to possibly grow apart or experience increased stress when dealing with responsibilities like parenting, paying bills and taking care of your home. Make a commitment to maintain intimacy and balance in your lives.

Keep the communication lines open

Take advantage of cell phones, email, instant messaging, texting and video calling. Set up a time each day to talk without interruptions. You may even find that your communication improves as you make it a point to regularly share your day, your thoughts and your feelings with your spouse.

Remember the romance

Romance doesn’t have to be limited to when you’re both at home. Order flowers to be delivered to your spouse, tuck love notes into his suitcase, mail her a card or, during a long separation, surprise him with a visit!

Make the most of your time together

During the times when you’re both at home, try to keep outside commitments to a minimum. Plan special dates and outings, take up a new hobby together and complete those household chores side-by-side.

Have realistic expectations

After a long separation, it’s easy to have high expectations for your reunion. For example, one spouse may be excited to get out of the house while the other is looking forward to spending time at home. Your best quality time will not happen when one spouse is exhausted or distracted. Reserve your romantic night out for a time when you’re both rested.

Julie Vaughan was the editorial director at Focus on the Family Canada at the time of publication.

© 2007 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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