April is Couple’s Appreciation Month! What is something your partner does to make you feel special; What do you do to make your partner feel special? How will you celebrate this month and every month?
My partner and I are currently in a long-distance relationship. We try to celebrate our relationship every day, even across state lines! This form of partnership has its challenges in physical apartness, schedule conflicts, and losing out on different forms of quality time together.
1. Set aside time to do a video call or phone call at the end of each day.
We all work busy schedules, have appointments, or go to school during the day. Partners should be understanding of each other’s schedules; With this understanding, it can be easier to navigate how to connect with each other when apart! Scheduling calls throughout the week allows you to spend meaningful, quality time with your partner. I see my partner on Facetime every night before bed, usually talking once our days have finished around 8:00 pm or 9:00 pm until 11:00 pm (this is just what works for us, though)!
2. Find activities to engage in together, even if virtually!
Facetimes and phone calls may grow shorter or become boring in abundance during scheduled talk times. Sometimes, you may not feel as chatty, and that’s okay! My partner and I set up our phones on Facetime most Saturday nights to watch new episodes of Saturday Night Live, and Wednesday nights to watch new episodes of The Kardashians.
We spend a few other nights a week doing a “book club” (we buy each other a book we wanted, order the same one for ourselves, and silently read a chapter or so a night and talk about the chapter after). I am sure we will grow our activities over time, but this works for us now! Some other ideas may include cooking a meal together on Facetime, playing a virtual game, or something Pinterest can even suggest.
3. Ask each other about their peaks and pits of the day.
This is essentially asking your partner about the best part and worst parts of their day. It’s a way to keep “How was your day?” more interesting and special, allowing partners the space to vent through stress and celebrate the best parts of their day (a peak being what was pleasant about their day, and a pit being what wasn’t so awesome)! My partner and I try to incorporate this into every nightly Facetime call.
4. Send your partner letters.
Handwritten letters can be a really fun way to communicate with your partner. It’s an extra form of communication that can keep the distance tolerable. Plus, it’s nice to have little pieces of your partner throughout the home! The letters can be fun and decorative or include photographs and other small things like drawings or crafts. Handwritten letters are a nice way to remind your partner that you are thinking about them.
5. Check in throughout the day.
Again, we all have changing schedules, and busy ones at that! Adult relationships recognize that it just isn’t feasible to spend all day texting back and forth. A simple “Thinking of you”, “Miss you”, “I love you”, or “how’s it going?” text suffices as check-ins and reminders that you’re alive, looking forward to connecting with them at the end of the day and that you care. You can even make the check-in question different every day; It could be something as simple as “What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you today?”, “What did you eat for breakfast?”, or “What’s your favorite song you’re currently listening to on repeat?”.
6. Make plans to visit each other every so often (schedule permitting).
Long-distance couples understand every weekend cannot be spent together. Perhaps long-distance couples can only connect once a year, once a month, or every few months depending on the distance, financial state, and mutual schedules. It’s enjoyable to have something to look forward to with your partner, even if it isn’t for a year in advance. If you can, take turns visiting the other, or meet somewhere in the middle! My partner and I try to see each other for a long-ish weekend once a month, or every other month at most. It’s important to try to physically connect when you can, too!
7. Establish and understand each other’s love language.
In what ways do you like to receive love and in what ways do you like to give love? How about your partner? Knowing what forms of love bring joy to each other is an important form of communication and can even help with understanding boundaries. Don’t know each other’s love language? There are tons of free, short quizzes online to find out! Love languages include acts of service, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, and receiving gifts.
8. Play a round or two of We’re Not Really Strangers!
You know, the game everyone is talking about? The one in a big red box? There are tons of expansion packs for family editions, friend editions, and of course romantic/partner editions of the card game. The premise of the game is to get to know the other player better on a more intimate, honest level through different card levels; It is a question-and-answer game that will prompt lots of in-depth, meaningful conversation. You can buy it on the We’re Not Really Strangers website, at Target, or several other places online!
9. Talk about the future.
This part of your relationship should only be temporary. Some timelines may last longer or shorter than other relationships, but remember not to compare your long-distance relationship to someone else’s; There is a different reason for every relationship, each one challenging in its own way. You should want to close the distance gap and work towards a plan to close it if you do not have a plan or idea already in place.
Talking about where you will live, what you will name your kids, where you’ll go on vacation, and yes, even the more logistical conversations, demonstrate the desire each partner has to be with the other and that they are planning with the other person in mind! It’s hard, trust me I know, but you will get through it!
10. Keep things exciting through small gestures and surprises.
One last way to keep your long-distance relationship feeling fresh and new is through the gesture of (small and random) gift-giving. It can be fun to send each other little gifts or
DIY projects you made your partner via mail. Maybe your partner casually brought up how much they have been wanting to buy a new robe or how they need some art in their apartment. Send them a robe with a note, paint them a picture to hang up, or slip them a $20 on Venmo!
These gifts do not need to be extravagant, huge, or expensive; It is the thought that counts! Quality over quantity.
What do you do to maintain your long-distance relationship? What’s something you love about your long-distance relationship? What’s the best thing about your partner?
Happy Couples Appreciation Month, you lovebirds!