What Distance Has Taught Me

8.14.2014

Two years isn't long. A lot of people would still consider Adam and I newlyweds. Or just barely out of the newlywed phase. But as we are preparing to celebrate our anniversary I have been reflecting a lot. I have been using the last month specifically to reflect. And at the end of the day, here is what distance has taught me. A long distance relationship and a long distance marriage. About love. About trust and communication. And most of all about what a relationship really is.


I can tie it back, all my thoughts and all my reflection, to what I would consider the hardest month of my marriage, actually my life, so far. And it has a million lessons in it. The week started with my breaking my blog. Seems like a really silly thing to be upset about. But I was. Seriously, all my posts all my everything had disappeared while I was trying to switch my URL to my new brand. It was like at night. like 11pm... which means it was 2am where Adam was. And he had already been asleep for a few hours. I text him probably ten times. And then I called him time and time again until he picked up. And when he finally did I couldn't even speak. I was crying hysterically. After about 20 minutes of me sobbing and Adam saying, "There must be a backup somewhere... things dont just disappear." I started to tapper off. I got so tired I just needed to go to bed. We prayed over the phone for comfort, and I was out like a light.

Next day. Blog still broken. I frantically got in contact with my hosting company. They fixed it. So, why stop there? Onto the next issue.

Work. I had work. And I had been struggling with my job to begin with. I had a few rough patches here and there. I wasn't sure if I was made for the job I was doing. I went in to meet with my boss. And she told me I wasn't acting like I was made for the job. It was a low blow for me. To be totally honest, I have never had to work that hard. That sounds silly when I say it out loud. But things have been pretty easy for me. So to hear that a job that I was killing myself to do, and it was so rough for me wasn't panning out. Low. Blow. Oh, and to end that conversation? My boss told me I wouldn't be able to take time off to go see my husband for our anniversary because someone else had already requested it off. Which meant I wouldn't see Adam for another almost two months. I walked to my office feeling sick. And embarrassed. And just beat down. I text Adam, "Can you talk?" And he said, "Yeah." So I picked up and I dialed. And once again. I cried. And cried. I started with telling Adam how I couldn't do my job. And I ended with telling him I wouldn't be coming to visit him for our anniversary.

Now this work issue carried for a few days. I cried that night. I talked to my parents. I cried. I talked to anyone. I cried. The fact that I felt defeated at work was hard enough, but knowing that I wouldn't see my husband for a long time really beat me down. Like ripped me apart. And even though I was at my lowest low, Adam took the time to talk to me every minute he could. To build me up. And even though I didn't listen, he kept trying. We prayed. We talked. And I hoped I would get the strength from somewhere.

On a regular basis I still get anxious at work, like am I going to do something that upsets someone? Are they going to be watching me so closely so I mess up? But that is beside the point. I am at a point now where I can really work hard. And I am learning to deal with a job that has kicked me down the stairs ten times. Then there was the flooded house. Then there was the medicine that made me so ill. Then there was Adam's arm which appears to be injured slightly again. Then there was I am sure other things that I can't even remember.

It might just sound like I am rambling at this point. But I am getting to the point right now. So why am I telling you about the hardest times I have experienced so far? Because it all lends a part to the story of the time apart for Adam and I. Because if you remember, Adam and I are living in different states right now. And so all these trials are happening while we are 1800 miles apart. And this distance is teaching me valuable lessons.

Marriage is a lot more than the time together. So often I have women tell me, "I could never be apart from my husband that long." Or something like, "We've only ever been apart 10 days in our whole 5 years being married!" And while the time together is something wonderful, the time apart it teaching me to appreciate Adam.

The distance has taught me the importance of communication. And not just the, how was your day, lets eat dinner and cuddle while we watch TV communication. But the real communication. The discussions about hard things like what are we going to do if this career path we picked doesn't work out or what is the root cause of you being so grump and irritated right now? We can't just kiss and makeup and hope that tomorrow both of us will be over it. Because we don't have those options. We have to actually sit down and discuss and communicate our thoughts and feelings.

We have to open up about our hard days. We can't just say, "My day has been hard because of x, y, and z and just being with you is going to make it better." Because when x, y, and z happen... we only have the option to talk about it. And really explain that those things happened because of something we are doing, or not doing, and we have to be honest with ourselves too. And then together we figure out solutions for things.

The distance has taught me to be up front, even if it might not be Adam's favorite thing to hear. I am the queen of telling people things are fine when they are not. Of down playing my anger and my disappoint. And when we are apart I try to do it even more. Because I don't want Adam to feel guilty for leaving me home alone in the summer. I want him to enjoy his time and I want him to think everything is wonderful here. But I have learned, despite what other people suggest, to wear it all on my sleeve. To tell Adam when I am unhappy. And when things are rough. And when I just wish so badly I could be with him, because it makes us appreciate the great times even more. And it helps us learn how to manage the hard times even.

But most of all, the distance has taught me to appreciate the time I do get with my husband. The face time. The one on one time. The small moments. The little laughs. The silly memories. The dates. The hold hands. The kisses. The meals cooked. The times he does the dishes because he knows I hate doing them. I appreciate those things more than I ever would because I don't always get to look over, see his face a few feet from mine, and reach for his hand.

Distance has taught me that in order to be the best couple, we have to be our best selves. We have to open up and be completely raw and real with our feelings and our insecurities. Because the only way I am going to be better is if Adam and I can talk through what I need to do to be better. And what steps I need from him, while he is 1800 miles away to support me in that. Marriage is about trust, planning, and support beyond words of comfort.
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