November 11th is Veteran’s Day, and we are all thinking about our soldiers who are serving their country so far away. A long distance relationship can be exciting and novel when it involves two people willing to make it work. The novelty and excitement wears off when the long distance relationship involves loving a soldier. Worry and stress fill its place. Instead of planning future romantic weekends, fancy hotels, and fine dining, you mind is filled with ideas of your spouse in danger.
When two people are committed and in love, anything is possible. The key seems to be within a person’s ability to live in the present and make the most of all forms of communication. Below are a few ideas that may make that distance seem a little less distant:
Communicate in some way every day. That can be an email, a letter, a prayer, or putting together a care package. As long as you are thinking of your soldier, you are communicating. When someone is so far away, little things become big things. A small care package with their favorite cologne or perfume means so much. Pictures of you and your family make the distance seem reachable. A funny cartoon or photo lets your soldier know they are still very much on your mind.
Talk to your soldier about how you feel about the distance. Let them know that you worry and anticipate their return. Depth in a relationship grows when two people share their concerns openly. Do you feel lonely for their touch? Do you worry about them not feeling the same way about you when they come home? Discussing these feelings broadens your ability to trust each other with your vulnerability.
Keep a schedule. Having down time to think is difficult when you and your beloved are far apart. Staying busy makes the time go faster, and it also helps you focus on life instead of worrying about your soldier. If your soldier knows you are enjoying life and staying busy, it will help them focus on their own situation. It will comfort them to know you are taking care of yourself and the family.
Make plans for your reunion. Make sure you have time together with the whole family as well as alone time with each other. It’s important that you schedule and protect private time to reconnect and hold each other. Being apart is stressful, and a reunion is healing for both of you. Don’t monopolize the time with family parties and friends; allow time for silence and space.
Trust is not a suggestion when you love a soldier – it is a necessity. When you get anxious or miss your soldier the most, it is easy to wonder if they are feeling the same about you. They are too far away to be reassuring when you feel isolated or alone. Leaning to trust their love is the single most important aspect of loving a soldier who is far away.
When you love a soldier, you understand that every moment is a possible memory. You savor the present because life doesn’t offer you an alternative. Most of us need to remind ourselves that this could be our last day, but we live it. You live having to trust and to have faith in each other. As all things in life, having a long distance relationship with a soldier is an opportunity to be the closest to anyone you will ever be. On this Veteran’s Day, I want to thank all the veterans and military personal serving our country, including their families. You are not alone, you are not forgotten.