If you’ve read my book, then you will read some things mentioned in my bio at the beginning of the book. The part that tells you about the separation my wife and I had. If you haven’t read my book, you can get it here. Sorry for spoiling this part for ya! The rest of the book gets better than just this part though! I partially, kinda, absolutely, maybe promise.
Before I tell you about the four-year long-distance marriage my wife and I went through, I’d like to tell you a little about me. It’s vitally important to share that so that the gravity of the long-distance marriage can truly be felt.
My mother died of HIV when I was twelve years old. A few months later, my stepfather was murdered in Haiti. Several months after that, my last living blood relative, my granduncle, dies of Diabetes.
Why do I tell you that?
I tell you that to paint a picture for you. A picture that shows how a 13-year-old boy (I was 13 by the time my granduncle died) would go in one of two directions regarding relationships. Either that boy would have problems forming meaningful relationships, or he would become obsessed with creating relationships.
I became OBSESSED! And that is an understatement!
I needed to understand how to form relationships, and how to keep them. I needed to have as many relationships as I could to fill the void I felt from having no blood relations.
I want you to deeply understand something. Even at the time of writing this (age 35), I have no blood relatives. In other words, if I were to die right now, God forbid, that would be the end of the Mathieu bloodline. At least as far as I know. I took that very seriously. And I continue to take that VERY seriously.
At age13 and on, relationships I formed would symbolize a family that I would never have.
I studied relationships for many reasons, but the main reason was so I could find a wife. Yup! Even at the age of 13, I wanted one woman to spend the rest of my life with. After all, I planned to have 6 babies, (don’t judge me) and I wasn’t about to have any of that baby momma drama by having babies from different women.
I go through a decade of my heart, my sincerity, my devotion, and my commitment amongst other things being abused by girls, then abused by women.
I go through the worse girlfriend experience ever! Then, I “emotionally crack.” I said to myself I was done with love; I’ll settle for trying to be a “playa.” That isn’t in my character, that isn’t what I deeply wanted. But, you know what? It tired me being the one that was played, time to be the one playing. Then, BOOM I meet my wife. And instantly go back to my lovey-dovey core of wanting one woman.
We date less than a year and get married on our tenth month together. (don’t sue me if I am off a bit) The moment I been waiting for was then enjoyed for the next 7 months, then my wife and I were separated! Can you believe it?
My wife’s visa expired, and they sent her back to St. Lucia, while I remained in Florida. For the next four years of our marriage, we only so each other physically 3 times. Those 3 times were very expensive trips I had to take to St. Lucia. Through that separation, most of our communication was done through Facebook, Skype, Oovoo, Whatsapp, and a few times I would tie a note to a pigeon’s leg and fly it to her. Communication was our marriage.
That separation was one of the toughest things we had to do in our marriage. When, I give you the following suggestions for how you communicate with your spouse during separation, truly believe it comes from a place of personal experience. Not just a place of wanting to write an article.
It would bring me no greater joy than to know that these tips greatly helped you like it helped my wife and me in our marriage, during our separation.
Setting up good and open communication
The first thing that needs to be understood is that since you two have a separation, there will be a “distance” between you two. And that distance is more than a physical distance. That distance will be felt in everything you can imagine relating to your marriage.
So how do you minimize that distance? One way you do that is by making sure there is nothing, I mean NOTHING, that you two don’t talk about. Conversation IS your marriage. The more things YOU DON’T talk about, the more distance you feel there is between you two. It isn’t the number of words used per se. It is in the availability of topics and the willingness to discuss them.
Find new topics that you haven’t talked about yet. Revisit topics you’ve talked about before and find new questions to ask. My wife and I used to find questions for couples online, and we would ask them to each other.
Share what you feel, good or bad. Painful or not. It may not be pleasant at the moment, however conversation during separation IS YOUR marriage. Any conversations NOT had during separation, creates a separation between you two.
A vital piece of these conversations has to be the truth.
1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and.”
Truth can unite, and truth can divide. Truth can heal, and truth can cause pain. You two must make a decision that needs to be made daily, that truth is the goal in all of your conversations. It isn’t a goal you two will ever achieve perfectly. I promise you that you two will lie to each other often. Lie either by omission, or commission, but, dedicate yourself to the truth.
At the end of the day, the truth should be appreciated. During separation, it is the comfort in the truth that will silence your insecurities. It is the comfort in the truth that will silence your doubts. It is the comfort of the truth that will set your heart at ease. Learn to love speaking the truth and learn to love hearing the truth. If you two cannot improve on anything else, let improving on how truthful you two become with each other not be one you consistently fail in.
Don’t get me, wrong everyone, GOD is the glue. At the core of all my blogs, at the core of my books, my speaking presentations, my videos, and my counseling sessions Jesus is the glue. However, many times I seek to give practical, direct suggestions couples can immediately focus on. I do my best to ground all the advice I give to His Holy Words.
I felt the need to say that, so I did. I don’t want my articles taken out of context.
Let’s say you are trying to lose weight. And your goal is to lose 50 pounds. You start your diet; you start exercising, and in the first month you lose 15 pounds. The next month comes along, do you just stop exercising? Do you start eating whatever you want?
Hopefully not. The point I am trying to make is that consistency is needed in communication during separation the same way it would be needed with your goal to lose weight.
What are some ways to be consistent?
Block out a certain time every day that is time for you two. Nothing interferes with that. It may some thinking to figure out, but it is possible. Sometimes some things may happen, but nothing should consistently get in between the time you two decide.
Have a routine that you do within that time. On the video call, before my wife and I went to sleep, we would pray before we got off the call. That was a routine.
Make certain parts of your day “check-in” moments. When you first get up in the morning, a quick good morning will do. Perhaps say something from the previous night’s conversation. Lunchtime, when you two are on break maybe, tell each other what you’re eating.
The routine doesn’t matter, just pick one, and keep it going. Try starting with one routine, and when that becomes a habit, add another one. Routines will help you feel like your spouse isn’t as far as they are.
There is really nothing I can say that will make the distance easier to deal with. Separation is tough! Prayer. Fasting. Sacrifice. Support. Perseverance. Patience. Forgiveness. All that and THEN some is needed to endure this trial. It can be done though. Don’t look at this list as a list of all the things you can do, look at this list as a list to get you started in the right direction. Think of some things you can add to this list to personalize the experience. Heck, grab different tips from several articles in combine al those tips to form one manual. The possibilities are endless. The situation is challenging, learn from as many sources as you can.