According to a recent article on Yahoo, absence truly can make the heart grow fonder. The article examines a journalist who has been married for 23 years. According to her, the key to their long marriage and avoiding divorce is simply taking separate summer vacations each year. She would go to work as a camp counselor while her husband would work on projects at home. After she spends seven weeks away, their marriage seems stronger than ever.
Depending on the couple, the time away can vary widely. Not every spouse is comfortable spending seven weeks away each summer. For some couples it can be as simple as a weekend getaway with the guys or girls. For other couples, it may be a new hobby which requires a bit of time away from the other spouse. The author notes that the key is having separate adventures and pursuits from your spouse, rather than separate lives.
The author goes on to note that, true to the adage, missing your spouse can be a powerful aphrodisiac – absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Some couples take it much further, going so far as to divide their time between two separate homes. In 2006, there were 3.8 million married couples who were considered “living apart together.” This can work if two people have different desires for their day to day lives. For example, if a couple does not see eye to eye about how to keep the house, decorate and the like then it may be easier for them to have separate primary residences.
A bit of distance can improve self reliance and spouses will sometimes fill roles which are traditionally male or female. The challenge is, though, that too much self reliance can make the notion of divorce more appealing and more palatable.
Another variation of this strategy is for each spouse to designate certain private areas in the same house. For example, the husband can go to the garage or basement if he wants to be alone (or away from his wife). This strategy, according to the article, can allow the couple to actively choose when and under what circumstances they want to be around one another.
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