Dealing With Physical Distance in Marriage

By Erin Prater
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husband and wife saying goodbye in airport
Michael Jung/iStock/Thinkstock
When we marry, few of us picture spending extended amounts of time away from our mate. Then reality sets in.

Whoever coined the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” was likely single, speaking of his pet or, if he was married, taking an afternoon jaunt to the golf range. He probably wasn’t leaving his wife and kids for a three-month contract project five states away or deploying overseas for six to 18 months.

When we marry, few of us picture spending extended amounts of time away from our mate. Then reality sets in. Be it contract or missions work, relocation, a business trip, higher education, deployment, coming to the aide of an ailing family member or similar situation, uninvited circumstances force us into a world of “temporary singleness.”

During this separation, you and your spouse will need each other more than ever as you “work out” your wedding vows, just as Paul called believers to work out their salvation in Philippians 2:12.

While absence can make the heart grow fonder, long-term separation comes with a host of hurdles: less frequent communication, no physical contact and the potential for danger, to name a few. Though your upcoming time apart will be difficult, it won’t last forever. And good can come of it. Consider Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Whether you’re facing one long separation, or a series of frequent separations, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There is more to look forward to than the end of this trial. Expect God to use this time apart to strengthen your marriage; anticipate amazing results.

Copyright © 2008, Focus on the Family.

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