I Will Survive! Taking Long Distance Marriage One Day at a Time

I Will Survive! Taking Long-Distance Marriage One Day at a Time #marriage #longdistance #relationships @oilfieldwives

Shortly after our engagement, my fiance told me he found a great job. I was excited! How could I not be? I was still in college, and he, not long out of the Army, had been trying to find a job he enjoyed. When he told me he’d be working 5 hours away, I wasn’t so excited anymore. I’d soon be moving across the country for him, from North Carolina to California. And I certainly had no desire to live in the middle of nowhere, Nevada. But this was what he wanted: a small geothermal company, honest hard work, and a chance to make good money. It sounded awesome. So, Tim took the position. Nearly 8 years later, we make our home in Colorado, and he works for one of the largest drilling companies in the world … in North Dakota.

We did this in the past. In our dating years, we lived in different states and spent a lot of time and money on road trips and plane tickets. We know our relationship can weather the distance, but it isn’t easy.

Our family and friends think we’re nuts. “What about Maile?” (Maile is our 19 month-old daughter.) Yes, it’s becoming harder on her. Tim is an involved dad. He takes her to the park, reads stories, is her go-to for rough-housing and squealing games of chase. On hitch, he connects with her through technology: videos of him talking to her that she watches again and again, the good old cell phone, FaceTime, when possible. He’s home every two weeks, for two weeks. Dada time is special time.

And our marriage? Even my closest friends have expressed doubt. Everyone seems to know that distance makes marriages fall apart. Resentment. Wandering eyes. And I’ll be honest, letting those things happen would be easy; I believe it is the ease of the blame game that leads to problems. Or, you can choose to use the distance to keep up an exciting, dynamic relationship.

By being separated for weeks at a time, we are constantly renewing our commitment to each other. We work incredibly hard at understanding one another. We try our best not to make assumptions about thoughts and feelings. The distance forces us to communicate (what a novel idea!) to keep our marriage strong. When Tim is on days off, we have two mid-week, baby-free date nights. We have a delicious dinner, watch a movie at the theater, tool around Barnes & Noble, or even Walmart. We have one-on-one time.

No, it hasn’t all been daisies and rainbows. We’ve had our share of misunderstandings and scary happenings. Like the time he sliced open his finger at work, and I didn’t hear from him for more than four hours after his usual call time. Yeah, that was a no-no. Or the time Maile vomited blood in the middle of the night, and I didn’t call him from the emergency room because I didn’t want to interrupt his sleep. Another no-no.

Being in a long-distance marriage requires maturity. Sometimes, I don’t want to be mature. Tim asks about my day, and I yell at him that I hate being a single mom. (Can you say drama queen?) Sometimes I pout, I ask if he even wants to talk to me at all, when he is really just feeling sad, questioning the work that takes him away from his family. These are the times I buck up. Grow up. We start our conversation over, or I remind him how much we love him, that we are fine. I tell him that he is a model of what it means to work hard, to be committed — both to his job, and to his family.

A long-distance marriage is hard work. Having kids makes it that much harder. But even when the sacrifice seems daunting, it’s worth it. Every kiss goodbye, every phone call, every cry, every welcome-home embrace. Our family is worth it.

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katieKatie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who will be 2 in the spring! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, and a very persnickety old cat. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, Standpipe and Sprinkles.

7 thoughts on “I Will Survive! Taking Long Distance Marriage One Day at a Time

  1. Went threw all of this a couple of years ago Wisconsin to Southern California and made it, now granted we were a bit older than you and had been married for 35 years, but everything is relative to time, place and circumstances. I will tell you this much if it were not for my strong faith( Catholic) I doubt very seriously whether or not we would have made it! I had to sacrifice alot for my Wife and did so and am darn glad that I did. Oh by the way our children 3 of them 2 girls and a boy were affgected by the move as well

    • Hi Mike,

      My name is Noelia Trujillo, and I work for WomansDay.com. I am working on an article about 10 marriage lessons from long distance couples. I see that you have lived apart from you spouse before, and I was wondering if you or your wife would be willing to speak with me about your relationship during that time. I would love to feature you both in the article!

      If you are interested, please email me at ntrujillo@hearst.com.

      Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

      ~Noelia

  2. I can totally relate to you and your story. My husband of 7 years now works off shore for 5 weeks at a time, then he’s home for 5 weeks. We do not have any kids, but we do have a hobby farm that I take care of while he’s gone. He is typically off the NW shore of Austrailia or in the Indian Ocean. He works on a vessel that is contracted by oil companies to search siesmically for oil under the ocean. The harder part for us is that I cannot call him. We communicate via e-mail mostly, then on weekends he will call me after his shift (he works 12-hour days and is 13 hours aheah of “home” time) with the satellite phone. Last year I had back surgery with a lot of complications. After the third stay in the third hospital I finally told him to get home as fast as he could. It took him 24 hours just to get to land and another day and a half to fly home. It’s not the best situation but he is doing what he likes and I get my hobby farm.
    Best Regards,
    Judy Hansen
    Sabin, MN

    • Hi Judy,

      Hi Mike,

      My name is Noelia Trujillo, and I work for WomansDay.com. I am working on an article about 10 marriage lessons from long distance couples. I see that you have lived apart from you spouse before, and I was wondering if you or your husband would be willing to speak with me about your relationship during that time. I would love to feature you both in the article!

      If you are interested, please email me at ntrujillo@hearst.com.

      Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

      ~Noelia

  3. Thanks Katie.. it was inspiring to read your experience. My fiancee and I live on two different continents. I live and work in Norway (Scandinavia, Europe), and she is in North Carolina! We are on the phone, facetime, and skpe everyday, twice a day and we try to meet quarterly.

    My experience so far is that we are communicating quiet well using technology and we are enjoying it. And, we always know exactly the next time when we will be meeting.. that way we can countdown the days left and having something to look forward to.

    After we get married in September, I will still have to commute for at least another year or even two. My worry is that we are entering an uncharted territory where it will be difficult to know how to deal with the usual marriage issues on top of the distance issues. So this post kind of helps to know that that road is been traveled by many.

    Katie, strange enough, I happen to be traveling to Denver for work this May. I don’t much about the city.. but if you want to meet up for coffee or food somewhere, I will be glad to hear more of your inspiring long distance marriage survival :-)

  4. Good communication is a must to develop the healthy relationships in your married life. You should share all your problems and feelings with your partner as well listen to your partner and understand. Make some time for each other to share your emotions. Go for outing with your partner and make some romantic plans for short vacation.’:^.

    Please do look over our web page
    <http://caramoanpackage.com/index.php/

  5. Hi Katie,

    I am so glad I stubbled upon your post! My name is Noelia Trujillo, and I work for WomansDay.com. I am working on an article about 10 marriage lessons from long distance couples. I see that you have lived apart from you spouse before, and I was wondering if you or your husband (or both) would be willing to speak with me about your relationship during that time. I would be more than happy to feature your advice in the article!

    If you are interested, please email me at ntrujillo@hearst.com.

    Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    ~Noelia

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