Talk Tuesday #2: Long Distance

My wife and I met in college. It started as a fling but quickly grew into more. We never really argued or bickered. Every single thing seemed perfect. After seven months of dating, and an increasingly deep bond, I shipped off to join the military.

She wrote me every single day. It was amazing. She was amazing. It was all I love you’s and I miss you’s and talking about the future. In a situations like that, stressful and emotionally draining, that is all that I needed. Five long months later we got married.

I came to Italy alone. We weren’t sure how long it was going to be until we saw each other again. It ended up being a year, but we didn’t know it was only going to be a year until 9 months after I got there.

Not only was there time difference, but we both worked or were busy a lot. The nightly FaceTimes lessened and the petty arguments increased. I drank with my friends too much, she always read too much into my one word texts, I passed out and forgot to say goodnight, she woke up late and forgot to say good morning. It went on like that for a long time. Of course there were happy moments too but we, as humans, tend to focus on the negative.

There were many points in which we had to evaluate ourselves, our relationship as a whole, if the good times were worth the bad. In all truthfulness, it is just hard being alone. It is hard being alone when there are so many people around and the one person you want is not there. She got stationed near by after being apart for 14 months. The only catch was, she now lives an hour and a half away, but it is better than 3500 miles. We stay with each other on the weekends and sometimes a night or two during the week.

I reflect a lot on what happened when we were apart. I was young and our relationship was still young, even though we moved quickly. We had to fit every aspect of a relationship into five and ten minute conversations. I would let my stress and frustrations of the day effect my ability to communicate. We both would read into everything the other person said or did and we forgot the things that made us so happy. It was the most emotionally draining year of my life and of our relationship but I would not trade it for anything because it forced me to grow as a person and we grew together as a couple. I am more in love with my best friend than ever before and I get more and more excited for our future with every step we take.

Here are some things I wish I knew back then.

  1. Relationships require hard work. Blood, sweat and tears. Even if it had been a long day at work, that didn’t matter because my wife needed me so I would stay up and talk. We needed to work through the tough things and the hard times no matter how long it took or how rough it was.
  2. COMMUNICATE. Sometimes we all forget that people can’t read our minds. Now, if I’m upset I say why, if I don’t like something I try and tell my wife. It is cliché, but it makes for less stress and a lot less unwarranted grudges.
  3. Unconditional Love, and I feel like that is self explanatory.
  4.  Don’t focus on the petty things. This one I am still learning.
  5. Ask questions. How are you? How was your day? How do you feel? I have made more of an effort to be interested in the same things, and a lot of the times we end up sharing the interests together.
  6. Don’t let an argument stew. There doesn’t have to be a complete resolution, but ending quarrels while still upset doesn’t solve anything and just sours the mood.
  7. Avoid shutting each other down.
  8. Don’t fight over text. Tones don’t transfer well, misunderstandings happen, it just isn’t a good time.
  9. Try not to assume things. There is that old saying “It makes an ASS out of U and ME” but it actually does.
  10. In the hard times, remember why you got married. It is important to live in the moment, but also to remember the happiness in the past and not to forget about the future.

I love my wife more than anything and I would never trade her or this relationship for anything. Like I have said, we have only become stronger. I hope someday I could help someone in the same situation out and they could learn from our mistakes.

 

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