Today marks three years of marriage for me and Zack. Three years already. That’s crazy to me. This time last year, Zack was overseas on a tiny island. He had been away for about a month and a half at that point and I was sitting here feeling completely miserable and lonely. I’m glad this year’s anniversary is different. Our year of long distance is over! I can’t even begin to explain how relieved I have felt these past couple months. It’s been so amazing to have Zack home with me again. It’s been an adjustment, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
This past year was by the far the most challenging year of our marriage so far. Granted, we’ve only been married for three years, but half of our entire relationship has been spent living separately. And it’s always been a challenge. But in some ways, I’m thankful for this year that we’ve spent apart. It sucked. There’s no question about that. But at the same time, it had so many benefits for our marriage.
WE LEARNED TO COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY.
I cannot stress it enough how important communication is in a relationship. And I admit, we sucked at communicating while he was away. We argued way too often over the dumbest things. We never actually fought over anything important. 90% of the time, we’d just misinterpret what the other person was trying to say or the argument would be started simply because we were missing each other. After a while of feeling disconnected, it really made us reevaluate the way we were talking to one another. Clearly something wasn’t working and changes had to be made. I find it to be much easier to bring up important topics, express how I’m feeling, and explain my wants and needs with him. We’re still working on the listening aspect of communication, but it’s a work in progress.
OUR SEX LIFE IMPROVED.
I know I said I would never write about our sex life on this blog, but there will be zero details here. In short, I really thought being apart for so long would cause a disconnect. I thought it would be weird to be able to kiss each other again and be physical with one another. So much of our relationship has been spent apart so I felt that emotionally we were in one place and physically we were in another, causing a weird disconnect. I was terrified of this. But being apart for a year actually had the opposite effect. Zack isn’t a lovey dovey, touchy feely kind of person. He’s never been that way. But he was much more willing to give me hugs and kisses after not living with me for a year. I was pleasantly surprised by this and am now feeling much closer to him in that aspect.
I BECAME MORE INDEPENDENT.
Not having Zack around to help with anything really forced me to rely on myself more than I do. I had to create my own routines and my own life outside of our marriage. I had to make my own friends and was given the opportunity to completely focus on myself. In that year, I completed my bachelor’s degree and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. I found a job that I absolutely loved and made some amazing career connections for my future. I focused on my mental and physical health so that I could be bigger and better than ever by the time Zack came home. And I spent a lot of time getting my blog to where it is today. I am so thankful for that time I had to myself and the person I’ve become because of it.
Zack was my best friend before he left and he’s still my best friend to this day. But our friendship is on a whole new level nowadays. Being that we were apart for so long, the only thing we really had was our conversations and because of these conversations, we were able to talk about so many different topics. We discussed our future and what we wanted for our life when he returned home. We even talked about topics that had never been brought up before and ended up learning so much more about each other. I felt like we had been together much longer than we actually had been which allowed us to build a stronger friendship with one another. I can truly be myself around him and he accepts me for me. No questions asked. Now, Zack is the only person I have here in California and it makes me even more thankful for the friendship that we have. I couldn’t imagine doing life with anyone else.
WE BECAME STRONGER.
I strongly believe that Zack and I can handle anything at this point. This year really scared me in so many ways. When he left last summer, I really wasn’t sure if we had been together long enough to have built a strong foundation to handle something like that. Although we were married, we really hadn’t been together that long. We were still learning more about one another and getting used to being married and all of a sudden he was being sent to the other side of the world. That scared the crap out of me. This year apart challenged us in so many ways and although it was really hard at times, we made it. Despite all the pointless fights, tears, and lonely nights, we found a way to make this year work. And I am so proud of that. I feel confident in our marriage and know that we can handle anything life throws at us.
Have you been through a long distance relationship? How did your relationship improve because of it?