You know what they say: Distance makes the heart grow fonder. But any Military Spouse who is in a long-distance marriage knows that separation also can also make the heart grow sadder, more anxious, and increasingly impatient.
In the meantime, life at home carries on. You take weekend trips with the girls, visit the zoo with the kids, and celebrate holidays with family members. So, how do you make your servicemember a part of the memories with all the miles between you? We have 5 ways to get you started.
5 Long-Distance Marriage Tips for Making Memories
1. Write Letters
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned, handwritten letter. While email and texting are ideal for quick chats and convenience, writing letters requires a bit more thought and patience. These also make meaningful additions to scrapbooks and memory boxes, so you can preserve these heartfelt conversations forever.
Whether you include silly stories, poems, memories, or drawings from the kids, these tangible words of encouragement hold just a little more weight than your average “XOXO” text message.
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2. Take Pictures
In this day and age of Boomerangs and Instagram stories, it’s likely that your camera roll is full of pictures, videos, and maybe even a meme or two. Make a point to keep your servicemember in the loop on life back home. You don’t have to wait for an event or trip to capture the moment, either.
Sometimes, the mundane, everyday routines are what deployed spouses miss the most. Whether you’re drinking your morning coffee in your favorite spot or running the trails at the local park, don’t hesitate to send your spouse a little “thinking of you” picture.
While your camera roll may be full of selfies and foodie flatlays, you might not have as many real, tangible photographs. Although it’s easier to snap a picture and click send, consider printing out pictures and mailing them to your servicemember with your letters or care packages.
3. Video Chat
FaceTime is a beautiful thing — and it can be a lifesaver for a long-distance marriage.
Try scheduling a weekly FaceTime session when it’s convenient for both of you. That way, when life gets in the way or duty calls (literally) and you have to skip a week, you know you have another one on the books. Spend 30 minutes (or as much time as you have) to catch up on anything and everything.
If you want to keep things interesting, compile a list of topics for each week. A few examples include:
- Where do you want to go for our next vacation?
- What are you most looking forward to when you get home?
- What are some bucket list items you have for your homecoming?
- What do you miss most about your significant other?
- What new friends have you made since we’ve been apart?
- What goals do you have for the next year?
4. Keep a Memory Jar
This is a daily activity that you can do before and after your Military Spouse is deployed. When your spouse is home, write little notes and place them in a jar so you can relive the memories together once you’re apart. Write down special moments (a go-to meal at your favorite dinner spot, a funny quote from date night) and even include items such as hotel key cards and movie tickets.
Once your servicemember is deployed, continue writing notes and putting them in the jar. These can be memories, dreams, goals, quotes from the kids, visits to your favorite spots (sans your spouse), or just simple thoughts. Whether you choose to read them upon your servicemember’s homecoming or read a few on your weekly phone call or FaceTime, you have an arsenal of sentimental content to review whenever you need a pick-me-up.
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5. Plan Future Memories
While reliving the past can pull at the heartstrings, planning for the future can bring you even closer together. In long-distance marriages, it’s important to look for opportunities to grow when you’re together and when you’re apart.
Start planning trips you want to take when your servicemember returns, discuss career goals, plan home improvement ideas, note new restaurants to try, etc. This will create a long list of things to look forward to, and may even make the wait a little bit easier. Write these on your slips of paper or keep a Google doc of ideas.
Whether you schedule a weekly FaceTime call or send handwritten letters in the mail, there are many ways to keep your spouse — and your experiences together memorable — close when you’re miles apart.