Distance marriage fears

One night I had an attack; one I cannot expand on. It amplified one of the greatest fears I have with distance relationship/marriage…the fear of something terrible happening in the loneliness of the night and there’s no one to cry out to for help. Those midnight emergency situations where your health or strength fails and someone close by like your spouse is your only guarantee of life saving help.

In distance marriages, one of a couple’s greatest prayers is centered on asking for doses of God’s protection and being kept entirely in good health so no emergency situations materialize. Such emergency situations that will require you being there asap but geographical distance won’t allow it are very dreadful and praying against them tops a long distance couple’s prayer list.

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What if something happens to your partner out there and you are needed immediately but can never show up in time (actually days) because you now have to be at the mercy of some embassy visa processes since you don’t have a diplomatic passport to just get up and go? Not forgetting that “flight tickets cost an arm and a leg” anyways. All those situations that a call or text is not enough to offer comfort are very dreadful.

…And far from the fears, need I say a lot of funny jealousies build up sometimes too? Lol

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Well…God is good all the time and He keeps having our backs! Forever our refuge in times of trouble, right?

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Distance can do strange things to people

Nothing can replace physical presence in relationships or marriage. Long distance is not for you if you just can’t do without physical love for a period of time. You may die from the lack of companionship, the touch of a hand, hugs and kisses, reassuring glances and smiles, romantic moments, etc.

Long distance relationships (LDRs) or long distance marriages do not thrive on physical love; they thrive on love or connection that exudes from your heart, mind and soul only. LDRs are mainly full of mere promises of love and hope…that things will be better or great when you are together again. But then when you are together, you have the problem of having to work out all the relational differences brought about by the distance and figure out how to re-bond physically again. The “sweet nothing” promises is what keeps it going, what keeps it alive…and things may begin to take a downturn when promises begin to fail, postponed or not honoured.

They say if you love someone, it doesn’t matter if you are miles apart because the heart will always do the connection. Well, the miles actually do matter! They only will not matter much if you know that it is but for a short while or a definite length of time. But the miles will matter if it’s for a seemingly endless journey of separation beyond what you can bear or sacrifice for. Your heart, feelings, emotions and affections can still be with someone far away from you…there’s no doubt about that. You will keep dreaming about them and wishing you are together again. But if that someone is not coming back anytime soon, anytime definite, or keeps postponing the reunion, your love may die along the line because there is no timeline for you to keep it alive and there’s little hope to nurture it.

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Love doesn’t thrive in a lot of uncertainties. And going long distance with no clear cut end in sight is dangerous. Studies have shown that couples tend to be happier and less distressed only when distance is understood to be temporary; otherwise, the relationship seems doomed.

It’s easier to commit to a relationship that you know is going somewhere definite than one that you can’t easily put a finger on. It’s easier to make sacrifices and commit to something whose end you know than that which seems not to have a definite end time. When he/she is supposed to wait for you a week and then a week turns into a month and then a year…you are weakening the strength of the commitment. The strength, energy and success of sacrifices and commitments, find their foundation in what is known/definite and not otherwise.

People naturally grow tired waiting too long and that’s why married couples are often advised not to stay apart for too long. The lack of physical, emotional and sexual intimacy or bonding will be a huge drain on the union when care and wisdom is not exercised in prolonging the times apart.

Nonetheless, just saying you are not a long distance relationship person and so keep throwing relationships away would be a little unwise, don’t you think? Like I wrote in an earlier post I CANT BE IN A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP, you may be able to avoid it prior to marriage but may not be able to run away from it when it shows up its ugly heads in your marriage.

The tendency of every marriage experiencing a period of separation is very high. Nobody is born a long distance relationship person; nobody wishes for it either. But sometimes it’s just a good test of love…and hey, love’s got to be tested to be true, abi?

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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Temptations…

A holy character does not stop one from being tempted. Neither does seclusion nor the utmost consecration of spirit.

Remember our Lord Jesus Christ, most Holy and full of the Holy Spirit was tempted even while in the wilderness?

Temptation does not respect many things; it will always knock on your door. And you can’t only choose to pray it away…you must resist also. That means work on your part; not the tempter’s part. Marriage does not ward off temptation either; marriages face their own dose of temptations. Your actions will determine whether or not the temptation will lurk in the darkness to continually afflict you. With every form of temptation, you’ve got to make a choice. According to the wisdom of Martin Luther:

“You can’t prevent the birds of the air from flying over your head, but you don’t need to let them build a nest in your hair”.

That means you may not be able to prevent temptations from coming your way, but you have a choice to make.

For married people, one Dr. Beverly Yahnke, a Christian psychologist admonishes that we:

“make the tough decision to honour your spouse even if it means you won’t ever know what a relationship with someone else would have been like”.

Perhaps the grass on the other side that looks so green, tempting and relishing to you is just artificial grass. Better still, if you would focus on your own grass and put in the work, and create favourable conditions for growth, sooner or later your own grass would be greener…and rather more tempting to others (but there too you will have a problem o. Haha).

Many times we make the mistake of thinking that what we can bear, our partner can also. We are all different and the very thing you take for granted because for you it can never lead you into temptation is what will lead your partner into it. Someone said he’s been away from his wife for 3 years and all the while didn’t cheat on her and doesn’t understand why the wife did. Well, maybe you could handle that length of distance; maybe she couldn’t (not justifying her action). But the posture of taking it for granted that absence easily predisposes her to temptation than you should not be encouraged. Maybe you don’t crave attention so don’t see the need to offer it…but maybe for your partner, that’s what feeds his/her love and without it can predispose him/her to temptations. Maybe you can do without sex for days; maybe your partner can’t and will fall without it. Maybe outings don’t mean anything to you; maybe it’s the prime need of your partner. Maybe public display of affection (PDA) means nothing to you; maybe that’s what makes your spouse feel super and as little or frivolous as you may think that need is, don’t do it and you put him/her at risk of nursing feelings for someone who does. Maybe you think building heart-to-heart friendship with your spouse is a waste of time and that women are just too annoyingly emotional; maybe they will soon fall for someone who tries to bond with them at that emotional heart-t0-heart level. Don’t take things for granted.

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May God grant grace that we do not create unfavourable conditions in our marriages/relationships that easily predisposes our partners to give in to all manner of temptations. May we find grace to create suitable environments in our marriages that our partners will not be drawn to nursing thoughts of looking elsewhere to have their needs met…but can look to us and have their every need met.

So get to work and watch those prime needs now…don’t leave them unmet! It could be a need for attention, friendship, companionship, a lot more affection, cutting down the times apart, a lot more talking, a lot more kind words, a lot more playfulness or fun time together, a lot more sex, a lot more respect, a lot more empathy, a lot more creativity or spice, a lot more surprises,….a lot more of everything! If you have to, readjust your plans or life goals to create the much needed balance all marriages need.

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God help us!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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A LOT OF ADJUSTMENTS…

It is often said that women marry expecting the man will change while men marry expecting that their hot, sexy and beautiful women will not change.

Often times, problems arise in relationships and marriages because people just presume their partners will never change; however possible that is! They often submit to the perception that they will always have the same needs 2 years, 3 years and even forever into the relationship/marriage as at the beginning of the relationship. They don’t want to buy the idea that their needs could even change almost abruptly just a month into the union. But truth is life changes our expectations and us.

If marriage is expected to grow or couples expect to grow together in marriage, then change is inevitable and we must embrace it. Some people are afraid of change but truth is a lot will change so better brace up! Change indeed is difficult but that’s just the hard truth.

It’s funny how sometimes our lovers will jump down our throats with retorts like “this is the way I am, better accept me for who I am and don’t expect me to change” only for them to totally change years later (after you’ve struggled to adjust to them) and still forget and continue to give same retorts. Come on dear, you’ve changed from who you were 2 years ago and I’m still accepting you for who you were 2 years ago as you asked me to, or should I now forget about the “old” you and accept you for the “new” you? But didn’t you know you were going to change into this “new” you when you were telling me to accept the apparently unchangeable “old” you? Haha!

Maybe I guess we shouldn’t just accept people for who they are and let it end there; we should accept them for who they are and make a lot of room to accommodate the many changes to come because they sure will come.

“The sex is going to change; your partner may be very gorgeous now but those looks are going to change. Interests, ambitions, things that you like to do together are all going to change. So if it’s the person underneath that you’re really attracted to, then the relationship’s got a really good shot”.

Even your priorities in life will change and a lot of adjustments will have to be made. It’s a reality that most young couples overlook. But we must know that as the years roll by, it will bring with it a lot of changes to our lives and marriages and we will need to change our lives to adapt appropriately to the changes. And it will be easier to manage the changes when you put your mind in ‘ready mode’ for them than to keep living the ‘lie of permanence’ and be rocked by many unmanageable surprises and stress.

The first change my marriage had to deal with (and still dealing with) is the long-distance marriage phase we entered into just about a month into our marriage. Hard as it is, we are managing just fine by God’s grace and we look forward to conquering the many other changes and adjustments ahead of us.

In any case, I think those who fear change or can’t manage change must not marry then because marriage is so full of change. A lot will change you and your marriage for good or for bad; and it’s a very tall list! But there’s joy in knowing that it’s all manageable as long as you are committed to working it out for your good. Just trust them into the hands of God as they come and see them work out for your good because without God in the equation, I bet the many changes will overwhelm you.

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Cheers!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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