Angel and I had a long distance relationship up until when we got married. Since we got married, we've managed to not get separated all that often--I like to claim that I purposely married a nurse because nurses generally don't take business trips, which is a pretty big benefit of the job! In fact, the usual reason we are apart is because I go off on some adventure with various people I'm related to while he stays home and holds down the homefront. This tends to be a very good strategy, since I keep my adventure quota satisfied and Angel gets his fill of watching scary tv shows and eating junk food (neither of which being activities that the wife encourages when home). Still, nothing feels quite right when we're apart.
As I haven't seen Angel for the last 8 nights, due to adventuring, I've been reflecting on what has stayed the same and what has changed about our times apart during the last 6 years. Back in the day, we both had AT&T phones, and would talk for hours every day, because the minutes didn't cost either of us anything. Now, we have phones with pre-paid minutes, and before I left, I told Angel, "We'll have to mostly email and FB message because we don't want to use up all the minutes on the phones--so don't worry about calling me."
I think we actually went about 3 days without calling the other. Text-based communication is pretty good. One thing that hasn't changed has been that we didn't use Skype at all. We almost never Skyped when we were engaged, even when we didn't see each other for months at a time. Skype requires actually sitting down at two computers at the same time and that's just annoying to coordinate. On a phone, you can talk while cooking dinner, walking home from the car, or even while brushing your teeth (if you're Angel).
The content of our conversations has somewhat changed, also. I am not really sure what we talked about for hours when we were engaged. Probably a lot about the past and the future. These conversations were much more based on the present. Here are actual quotes from texts and conversations of the last week:
Angel: "Should I buy 2 or 3 loaves of bread for youth group?"
Rachel: "I saw on Facebook that a motorcycle hit the car and scratched it. Did you make a police report?" (relationship milestone...found out on FB that my husband and my car were in a tiny car accident...)
Rachel: "Don't forget to record how much you spent at the grocery store."
Rachel: "Did you visit our friend at the hospital? Is her condition improving?"
Angel: "Are we supposed to buy the paint for the wall-painting project at church?"
Rachel: "Did you get the school books Mom told you to get?"
Angel: "I cleaned the bathrooms and mopped the house on Friday morning."
At one point, we were having lunch with friends on this vacation, when Angel called my friend to ask what time she and Rebekah were arriving home and if he needed to pick them up, she asked him if he wanted to say hi to his wife, since I was sitting right there, and he said, "No, it's okay." Which everybody thought was quite funny.
While I laugh about how much more practical the years have made us, even being apart for a few days like this meant that things weren't quite as they should be. Falling asleep is no fun by myself, and I'm glad to be home again. After the first few days of abstaining from phone calls, half hour nightly calls made their appearance again, and the feeling of something 'missing' didn't go away. I'm glad I picked Angel to do life with--it's always more fun when we're together...even if our conversations these days might revolve around hospital visits, police reports, budgets, and errands. As long as it's the two of us, even the most mundane of topics isn't boring. When I finally got home, the first thing that happened was I unpacked my suitcase, gave him an "I Missed You" present of a box of Gushers (his favorite candy that is nearly impossible to find in Malaysia, but I found a box in KL!) and he had a surprise for me of two sparkly headbands (I'd accidentally broken my favorite headband just before I left on the trip). And then we went grocery shopping together because he had no food in the house other than lettuce, instant ramen, and lemons. All is right with the world again.
Have your conversation topics with your spouse or your habits when you're apart changed as the years have gone by?