When most people think of their dream marriage, they look forward to building a home with their spouse. Very rarely does anyone assume that they would be married while living alone. However, according to Glamour.com, the Center of the Study of Long Distance Relationships estimates that more than 3.5 million married couples in the United States are involved in a long-distance relationship, and not for reasons of dissonance.

My friend and her husband received backlash for their nontraditional living arrangement, but they had a good reason for living apart: increased revenue. My friend’s husband went overseas for a job that paid a much higher salary which enabled them to purchase their first home and pay off all of their debt. What many married couples can’t do in the first 10 years of their marriage, they were able to accomplish within the first four years due to that huge sacrifice of physical separation.

Steve Du Bois, co-author of a study completed by The Family Institute at Northwestern University, said that couples who live separately are less depressed and eat healthier.

“They get independence, freedom to pursue their own goals; they get time for things like sleep. At the same time, they are able to reap the benefits of a relationship, which includes feeling supported.” Du Bois told Today.com.

A long-distance marriage might not sound ideal, but if you find yourself in that situation there are a few ways to ensure that you and your partner live happily ever after apart.

Get creative

Instead of just talking on the phone, try video chatting. To boost your sex life, try sexting (yes, grown folks do this). And forget waiting to see each other for a date, choose a movie and push play at the same time and Skype while watching.

Set limits

Discuss the longest that you two will go without seeing each other. When I was dating my husband, we made a pact to see each other at least once a month. Whatever frequency you decide, try to stick to it as much as possible as a demonstration of your commitment to the union.

Stay focused

Like my friend, you might hear naysayers question your relationship, which could create negative energy in your marriage. Try to keep out the noise and stay focused on the two of you. As a matter of fact, keep those other people out of your relationship.

A long-distance marriage can work out quite well, as each relationship should be uniquely tailored to the couple. Regardless of how far apart you two may be, direct your attention to strengthening your relationship and not the actual distance.

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