A Time to Push: Navigating Long-Distance Marriage

NavigatingLongDistance | Abby Weiland.jpg

Today is the today. The day I get to see my love after our first stretch of long-distance marriage. You see, we made the decision at the beginning of this summer to live apart for a year. Due to a series of occurrences we will just call life, Justin and I were faced with a choice. Stay in the same geographic location while one person in the marriage gives up on his/her dream for the near future or live apart while both people in the marriage get to chase their dreams.

We chose the latter.

I've always been a dreamer, and I think that's what drew me to Justin at the beginning of our relationship. He's got these big dreams, too. Dreams that many people think are ridiculous and unattainable. Dreams that, in reality, few people actually do achieve. But in my book, that's precisely what makes them so alluring. If failure isn't an option, is it even worth pursuing?

Here's the thing: this year is going to be tough. It's going to take effort and intention and endless amounts of clear communication. It's going to require us to push beyond what we thought was possible in a marriage.

It's going to be one of those times we press on, not because it's simple, but because we know we are capable.

I'm a runner, and even though I try to avoid taking breaks from my routine, life inevitably steps in and I'll find myself two weeks away from my last run. I had one of those moments recently, and honestly, the first day back just plain sucked. I was tired. My legs were tired. I didn't want to keep going. And in that moment, I had two options - understand my body was a tad out of shape, but push through anyway OR accept this was the end of my physical rope for the day and pull back, giving my body a break. Friends, the former is almost always true for me. Most times, I need to push through. Usually, my lazy, out-of-shape self is trying to take control and convince me it's ok to give up, when in reality, I need to muster up all of my training and determination and just keep going.

This is kind of what it's like for Justin and I right now. We had a choice to make - push through this really hard thing even though our fears and doubts and all the naysayers around us attempted to talk us out of pursuing our dreams, or pull back and give ourselves an emotional out. We had numerous conversations about what was going to work best for our family, but if I really think about it, there was always only one answer.

Pursue our dreams, of course.

The ONLY reason we discussed it at length is because the outside world has this knack for clouding our vision. The world was worried. The world was judging our choices. The world thought it ridiculous to, as it perceived, choose our careers over our spouse.

But not us.

Choosing our dreams right now means choosing each other forever. For us, pressing into our goals for this short time apart means we will have the amazing opportunity to live out our dreams together in the near future.

Sometimes it's challenging to decipher when you should press in and when it's best to pull back. Here's my advice: listen to yourself and what you truly want, honor your partner or spouse's input, and forget the rest. Everyone will have an opinion. Most will keep it to themselves, or disguise their judgement in statements like "Well, everyone does it differently." You guys, this is equivalent to my great-grandmother's "to each their own" comment that secretly, or not so secretly, meant you are clearly doing this the wrong way. But they don't matter. Not in the big decisions in your life, anyway. Choose what is right for you and press into that.

Your story is for you to write - not to read about in someone else's opinion column.

In this season, living apart makes sense. It's a time to press on, dream big, encourage the heck out of each other, and savor those FaceTime dates. It's a time to practice gratitude for the opportunities in front of each of us, and be thankful each step along the way.

What in your life can you press into today? What do you need to buckle down and push through? And which areas might you need to let off the gas a little? Give yourself space to breathe? Sisters, there is a time for both. The wisdom comes in deciphering the difference.

Abby Weiland