I Miss My Husband Long Distance: Long Distance Marriage Problems

If you do not deal intelligently with physical distance within a marriage, your life could be one of excessive loneliness and depression. Distance in a relationship requires a constant state of dialogue in order to maintain intimacy. This dialogue should be scheduled to occur at a specific time of the day, preferably in the evening.

The need to keep in contact with your spouse is very important. Otherwise misconceptions brought on by lack of communication will create thoughts of suspicion. For example, many couples admit that a certain degree of non-contact with a faraway spouse creates a growing sense of uneasiness regarding the relationship.

However, this doesn't happen to every couple. Many couples are used to being away from their partners for weeks and months if not years. These couples display high levels of trust in their relationships. For example, military personnel, government officials, sales people, big truck drivers are just a few individuals whose careers might require extensive time away from their families.

But for many us, the thought of being away from our spouses send chills down our spines. Questions dominate our minds: what will we do on our free time? How will we feel going to bed at night by ourselves? How will we deal with other issues, including finances? All these considerations must be entertained before we can deal wisely with the absence a faraway spouse.

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The first thing we must realize is that physical distance in marriages can work when we are prepared for the pitfalls that may come our way. The challenges include:

Disparaging Your Individuality

You must be your own unique person. As an individual, you were not put here on earth to depend on another person for happiness and fulfillment. Within you are intelligence, talents and lots of loving-kindness to spread around. You were meant to be a difference maker in the lives of others by sharing the essence of who you are. But you can never be free to be who you are if your very existence depends on another person being there. Just because you miss a husband or wife doesn't mean that you disparage your own individuality. When you are so wrapped up in another human being so that you can't see yourself, you will become a nobody. Life is too short this.

Inactivity

Excessive idleness is a major problem when our spouses are away. In activity can seduce us into a sense of boredom. The stronger this emotion becomes, the easier it might be for temptations to set in. I have known couples who have abused alcohol and other drugs because of the boredom of being at home alone with nothing interesting to do.

But to think that there is nothing to do is a mistake. There are many programs around town that need the help of individuals with time on their hands. Social clubs like the YMCA or the YWCA need volunteers to work with many of the youth groups that participate in the programs. Other programs involving helping the elderly and fixing houses are options for helping the community. These programs will give you an opportunity to find new meaning in life as well as learn something new while your spouse is away.

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Unwise Advice from Friends

Beware of friends who attempt to encourage you to do things you will regret later in life. Many times when friends, especially single friends, realize that you are away from your spouse and will be living alone for a significant amount of times, they might suggest things that are unwise, including going out dancing, drinking and meeting up with the opposite sex. These ideas may seem tempting, but if your relationship means more to you than a one night stand, then you must wisely refuse their suggestions. You may even be called crazy for practicing abstinence for so long. However, the devastation of ruining a good marriage is far greater, with widespread and long lasting consequences.

In these times, your friends will most likely desert you.

The key to maintaining a great marriage while far apart is the constant looking forward to sharing interesting and fun stories with our lovers on a daily basis. When we do interesting things in order to bring good news to our spouses each day, we build a more perfect union. Our love and appreciation for one another grows. Our relationship takes on a sense of freedom and joy. We know who we are and the value we share with another human being.

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Marriage is a complicated endeavor. Take from the populus, two people, and convince them to be around each other forever. Even the most social person in existence could tire of a single person's company. Many different factors go into the development of a marriage, whether successful or unsuccessful. Many different marriages exist because many different personalities exist. What works for one marriage will not necessarily work for the next. Thus, trying to pin-down a all-encompassing answer to what makes a marriage successful is very difficult.

Through research and case studies, scientists and sociologists have been able to identify certain key characteristics of an individual which will make them more suited for marriage, and which will assist in improving the overall quality of the relationship. I shall touch on these subjects and identify the positive and negative behaviors for optimally spending an eternity with someone you love.

To preempt this, allow me to state that this is not the formula for a fairy tale. There is no perfect marriage. Every couple will have disagreements, and if they become content, the love will fade. Our biology directs us to pursue the propagation of our species by spreading our genetic material across many suitors. However, we are not animals and our society does not function that way. Thus we pursue a higher calling; a stronger purpose: love.

Every relationship is like an organism. They require nurturing, growth, and development. They require sustinance. From all the conversations I've had with long-married couples and marriage counselors, and in independent research into this subject matter, I have identified the key aspects of a successful relationship: communication, compromise, honesty, rationality, commitment, and adaptation. These are the building blocks; the characteristics which accommodate a successful marriage.

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There are two opposing views which hold precedence in the perceived realm of relationships. Those are Similarity and Complementarity. To use the common adages: "birds of a feather flock together" and "opposites attract". Basically these opposing perspectives are generalized perceptions of the personality types which are well suited to romantic relationships. I'm here to tell you that these perspectives are wrong. Studies show that relationships based on complementarity are high in marital stress or end in divorce. I would equate this to trying to put a lion and a gazelle together, and hoping that they will get along.

On the other hand, many people find that shared characteristics between couples eventually manifest in shared weaknesses and shortcomings, producing a relationship which fares very well in some aspects, but fails completely in other areas. The solution then, is obvious. A balanced relationship where the individuals share common ground where it matters, but supplement one another's weaknesses in other aspects.

There have been identified, cognitive styles which can greatly influence the success of interpersonal relationships. This cognitive paradigm is Adaptation vs Innovation. Adaptors are sound, compliant, cautious, dependable, self-doubtful, and prefer structure and rules. Innovators are creative and self-confident, yet controlling, insensitive, and impractical.

In a study of 85 couples 32/45 of successful marriages were identified as "adaptor-adaptor" type. 36/40 couples ending in divorce had an individual (or both) identified as "innovator" type. For Adaptor-Adaptor type, there is a 70% success rate. For any other combination involving an Innovator type, there is a 73% failure rate.

Being an "Adaptor" in a relationship means being able to produce mutually beneficial solutions to problems in their marriage. Being unwilling to bend on any subject creating an issue, contributes to further marital problems.

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An adaptor association will begin as strong as it continues. Adaptors will identify their spouse's expectations right from the start, and will aim to fulfill those expectations. Additionally, they will be interested in identifying their partner's goals and assisting them in pursuing and achieving those goals.

Adaptors will make communication a priority. No topic should be off limits and any issues should be identified honestly and openly and addressed by the partner with a positive attitude and an open mind. A spouse should be the single definite source for confidence in discussion. There should be no doubt of the security and non-disclosure between the partners.

In a study of 32 couples over 12 years, personality similarity was widely found to NOT be related to marital satisfaction. Very little correlation was found in early marriage when couples are putting greater weight on commonalities. Greater levels of personality similarity at the initial phase in fact predicted lower levels of marital satisfaction over the following 12 years.

Great factors which contribute to this are generally universal and are based on generalized characteristics with many facets of variability. Successful traits are found with couples who are highly agreeable, and show low neurotic tendencies. Agreeableness scored high across the board in marital satisfaction in being more emotionally responsive, trusting, selfless, and with a greater need to please. Women's marital satisfaction is directly correlated to husband's higher Extraversion and lower Conscientiousness. Meaning, males who are more social, but more laid back, less goal-oriented, and less driven give greater satisfaction in marriages. Workaholics, perfectionists, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies are less likely to find relationship satisfaction in both males and females.

Some of the identified areas of greatest disagreement in order of precedence are: Sexual Relations (inter and extra-marital), Drinking, Handling Family Finances, Relationships with Extended Families, Recreation, Employment, Sharing of Household Tasks, Child Rearing, Friends, and Religion.

Sexual incompatibility is a greatly underestimated issue in marriages. Because couples do not communicate about their sexual preferences, shortcomings, and desires, they eventually find their sex life unfulfilling, leading to extra-marital affairs. Furthermore, individuals who improperly identify the sexual issues will attempt to mend their sex life through exploratory and inter-marital enterprises, which may appeal to one partner, but may revolt or belittle the other. Thus, an open-minded open-communication is essential to determining your partner's, as well as your own, sexual desires which will lead to a more intimate relationship. Having proper intent helps too. Each person should be focused on fulfilling their partner, and seldom about their own satisfaction.

Drinking was identified as the second leading factor in marital stress. Not only does drinking alter a person's behavior and rational thinking, but also can cause sexual dysfunction resulting in contribution to the aforementioned leading cause of marital problems: sexual incompatibility.

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Financial Matters were identified as the third leading cause. Not surprisingly, this factor also contributed to the other factors. A partner who puts significant money into drinking habits puts undue stress on the relationship. Additionally, when a couple is overwhelmed with work in order to support individuals living beyond their means, this stress can lead to reduced sexual activity, or sexual activity used primarily as a means of endorphin reward, instead of as an intimacy-encouraging behavior.

The other factors not among the top three are somewhat self-explanatory, but are essential nonetheless. Relationships with Extended Families become an issue, not always because of the spouse's response to the family, but because of the family's response to the spouse. In any case, this issue can be lessened by establishing the best relationship possible whatever the circumstances.

Recreation and Employment go hand-in-hand in the sense that these are situations which a couple should approach as one. Each person should have their own hobbies and their own vocation for the purposes of entertainment and lifestyle, respectfully. However, couples should pursue interests together and take an interest in one another's hobbies and encourage them to excel and integrate as part of that event. Additionally, jobs can be stressful and full of issues. So one must learn to leave job stresses at the workplace, but also seek the assistance of their partner, when relevant.

Sharing of Household Tasks and Child Rearing are another pair which are inseparable. Each partner should aspire to do their share and ease the burden on the other. When tasks are taken as a conglomeration instead of a delegation, each person is aiming to complete the tasks as a team instead of as an individual, resulting in greater satisfaction and cooperation.

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Friends can be a supporting, as well as a dividing factor in relationships. Research shows that it is generally more important for females to have a social support network than males. However, relationship-support is primary in both genders. In the hierarchy of support, couples should rely first on one another for support, as the opinions and perspectives of their partners bear the greatest weight on their decisions. It is after relationship-support that males and females differ.

Females will generally utilize their own judgments in situations before pursuing social networks. Surprisingly, males will use affective overlap, analyzing how the relationship (or issue) is perceived by the female and/or her social support.

Because of the tendency for couples to use each other as their primary support, it has been shown that a strong capacity for attachment to the spouse is correlated to higher satisfaction for both. In short, putting your partner paramount to all other things really is the way to ensure greater marital satisfaction. Furthermore, because of social standards (and contrary to majority belief) a male who supports the social stereotype of the "powerful male" role shows higher satisfaction for both members.

In summary, married men and women are consistently happier, healthier, and less stressed, and report higher well-being, than their unmarried counterparts. For this reason, it is vital that a marriage is as strong and healthy as possible. Ask the important questions at the onset to set the parameters of the relationship. Do things together. Communicate daily, full and open. Participate in each other's interests and challenge each other to be better. Discuss future prospects and always maintain a positive, rational, honest communication channel.

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"Love ya," said my wife to me as I went out the door. I started thinking about how many times she has spoken that phrase to me in the 41 years we have been married. It had almost become a ritualistic statement that was really saying, "see ya later!" As we have grown in our marriage we have discovered that I (and most husbands that I've counseled) don't necessarily get excited when my wife expresses that she loves me. After all... isn't that what women do? It is! They are natural lovers, nurturers, and caretakers to the max. Men? Not so much.

I have discovered that men want and need respect, admiration, and uplifting words. When my wife looks at me and says, "I am so proud of you for the way you handled that situation," it actually does something inside me. I come alive inside and it feels good. As I began to note the difference between hearing, "I love you," and "I'm proud of you," I discovered that respect is what I needed most to help me feel closer to my wife.

To put this theory to the test, I separated 20 husbands and wives during a class and asked them both the same question: "What is your spouse's greatest need?" I noticed that the women were chuckling and laughing and their discussion was over fairly soon. The men, on the other hand, were more deliberate in their discussion and it took them longer to come up with an answer.

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"So men," I said, "what is your wife's greatest need in marriage?" The answer was love, to which the wives readily agreed. "And ladies, what is your husband's greatest need in marriage?" With some giddiness in their voices they shouted out, "Sex!"

Several years ago I would have agreed with them. To the man, they all agreed that respect and admiration is their greatest need, followed by sex as a close second! The wives were shocked. Really shocked. They wanted to know what respect looks like and what it was. The men couldn't come up with an idea of what respect is, but they could come up with what respect isn't. Respect isn't telling me what to do; it isn't treating me like I'm your child; it isn't talking about our relationship in negative ways with your friends and family.

As I closed the session with this group of 20 couples, I suggested that they talk further and make a "respect" list so that the wife would know how she can practically how respect to her husband. Ladies, do you want to really make an impact with your husband? Begin telling him why you are proud of him and mention what you admire about him in his life. That's what love is to a husband... respect.

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