These days it’s pretty common to hear about how social media or technology has destroyed a marriage, not saved it. But modern technology saved my marriage a decade ago, and I’m grateful for it every day. You see, my husband was in the military. I knew when I married him that meant he’d be gone for long stretches of time. Between deployments, he ended up being gone for a year, then home for a few months, then gone again over and over. Neither of us cheated on the other or anything dramatic like that, so I never needed to do a phone number lookup, but our relationship started to disintegrate with age.
Out of necessity I learned to get along without him, and he learned to get along without me. So we found that we just didn’t have much in common anymore and both of us were so busy just trying to take care of our individual obligations that we started to drift apart. We were married on paper, but living separate lives. That’s apparently common in military marriages, which is one of the reasons why the divorce rate is so high for military members.
When he was on his most recent trip, he was supposed to be gone for six months. I just had a terrible feeling that we weren’t going to make it. So when texted me to ask if I was ok and if the kids were ok like he usually did. I told him I wasn’t ok and that we needed to talk, face to face. He suggested we try Skype. We had used Skype before when he was deployed, but the connection was very slow on his side so we just stopped using it.
That night, after I put the kids to bed we got on Skype, and I told him that I was afraid we were heading for divorce and that we had become too separate. He agreed that neither of us were happy with the current situation but pointed out that there wasn’t much we could do about it. He wanted to try and save the marriage and so did I. But we didn’t know how to regain the closeness that we used to have. He suggested that we try to get to know each other again. I agreed.
We started having weekly Skype dates. I would get all dressed up, and he would put away his phone and all distractions. After the kids were asleep we would talk face to face on Skype. But talking about the kids, the house, finances and other things like that wasn’t allowed. We talked like two people who were dating and trying to get to know each other.
I know some of my friends thought our Skype dates were silly. But they really worked for us. Even though we were physically far apart, we started to get emotionally close again. A couple years later he ended his career in the military and has been home ever since. I feel like if it wasn’t for Skype, we never would have been able to grow. I never wanted to deal with doing a phone number lookup, but thankfully, it never happened.
It was important for me as a mother for our kids to see how trying and working it out to set a good example for them. It worked.