Commited long-term relationships, time spent together

- Relationship questions this week request help with vital aspects of long-term relationships. In a world where everyone is connected virtually, how do couples make the jump to commit to one person for a long-term relationship? A young couple wants to know how to maximize their time together in a long distance relationship.

Dear Mary Jo,
In a generation of immediate gratification, why is committed love such a scary thing?
Thanks,
Crystal

Dear Crystal, 
With fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce and the abundance of self-gratification, inability to delay gratification and the popularity of social media, we have increased virtual acquaintances, which leaves young people feeling lonelier and less intimate with anyone. The fear that there may be someone better out there for them, and their pursuit of having some sort of guarantee that the relationship will work has limited them from wanting to commit and actually work their current relationship out. Sex has become more recreational than committed as well, which leaves couples unable to trust each other’s faithfulness. A relationship requires hard work from both partners and an understanding that they are both a work in progress. This can be difficult if you’ve never made sacrifices or considered someone else’s wellbeing but your own.  We need more healthy married couples to mentor for young people the incredible benefits of making a commitment to one person and creating a healthy, vibrant relationship together.

Dear Mary Jo,
My wife goes to school out of town, so how can we maximize the times we do have together since we don’t get to see each other every night?
Thank you,
Elson

Dear Elson,
This is a concern for many couples that work, go to school or have long distance relationships. You don’t have the luxury of seeing each other every day, but there are numerous ways to communicate and feel close to one another with the advancement of social media.
1.  I would recommend you keep your times when you’re together as sacred as possible. That means be careful whom you share your time with (engaging with close friends on your weekends together is a great way to socialize and help you feel supported as a couple, but limit the time).
2. Having planned dates, activities and things you look forward to doing when you’re together helps couples feel close while they’re apart. Trying something new or having a novel experience together will help you feel more connected and leave you with great memories to talk about in between seeing each other again.
3. Begin keeping lists of things you’d like to discuss when you’re together such as financial planning or career changes, because many couples postpone these topics due to limited time together, and the business part of being a married couple is important. Couples who handle the business part of their relationship using Skype or Face Time are more effective and efficient.  
4. Leaving your spouse with love notes tucked away in places they’ll find after you’re gone is romantic and sweet. It leaves your partner feeling loved and connected, looking forward to the next time they see you.
5. The advantage of living apart is the longing and yearning to be with your partner. Many couples take this aspect of marriage for granted, thus making their partner feel unloved and unappreciated. Showing your spouse how much you miss and appreciate them every day is a vital part of a healthy marriage.

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