Living away from your spouse is no picnic. It’s a difficult situation that, unfortunately, military spouses experience all-too-often. From deployments, to schools, to TDY, and PCSing, and many additional scenarios, it’s a reality that military families regularly experience. 

There are obvious hardships that come to mind when being stationed far away from your loved one. But there are also those that we don’t realize will take place until we are living them. For instance, how to communicate during a long-distance marriage.

You’re living different lives — you have different things that are important to each of you. Things that still need to be discussed — paying the bills, the kids’ school, hopes and dreams, etc. — as well as finding time to focus on each other. 

It’s. Hard. That’s an understatement. You’re miles away and in different time zones, and finding common ground can feel all but impossible. However, with a few special steps to put the focus back on your relationship, you can start working together. 

Talk When You Can

First and foremost, talk to each other when you have the opportunity. It might mean sending texts or emails. If you can FaceTime or Skype, do that. It might not be lengthy, but taking the time to share a few moments of your day can mean wonders to your partner. Give them your attention and discuss what’s on your mind. The communication might not be glamorous — sometimes it’s just a rundown of “Hey this is what’s happening, talk soon.” But it gets the information across and allows you to talk to one another.

Use Communication Apps

Different apps can help you stay in communication, even when you are working on different schedules. Marco Polo allows you to record and send video messages. What’s App or Facebook Messenger are great alternatives to texting (especially when out of country rates apply). With these apps, you can take advantage of the time you do have, even when it’s not when your spouse can chat.

Make Communication Meaningful

Another tip is to give your all to talking when you get the chance. It’s easy to stay on the phone while doing chores or driving, but when distracted, there’s a lot missing from your communicating. Instead, intentionally focus on one another and give your full attention. It doesn’t have to be for long bouts of time, just enough to hear each other out. 

Love Your Spouse in a Way that Works for Them

Does your spouse enjoy gifts? Quality time? Kind words? You might have heard of “love language.” This is the form of affection that speaks most to each person. Love your partner in the way that’s most meaningful to them. This will help your efforts impact with more meaning each time you provide to your spouse. 

In the same light, don’t be afraid to let them know what efforts mean the most to you. 

There are many ways to communicate effectively through a long-distance marriage. Don’t get caught up in time apart. Focus on high-quality, information-filled bouts of information during your time apart and you can work on building your relationship, even from far away.