4 Tips To Maintain Intimacy In A Long Distance Marriage
I've interviewed my fair share of celebrity couples and yet for some reason the one celebrity couple I interviewed who I felt certain would weather the Hollywood marriage curse was Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli. At the time when I interviewed them separately, in relation to individual projects they were involved in, I remember telling my husband how they really appeared to have defied the marital Hollywood odds and managed to make their union and family a priority. Some of their responses in particular resonated with me and had me convinced these two understood the work it takes to keep a marriage intact.
When I asked, “As working actors, you and Peter must have incredibly demanding schedules. What’s the key to your successful 15-year marriage?" this is what Jennie said:
In Hollywood, 15 years is more like 150 years! We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve been together for such a long time. I think marriage is really challenging for anyone, but especially for us, since we’re apart from each other a lot. But we’re both really committed to staying together, raising our children together and growing old together. Peter and I don’t spend a lot of time out on the town and we don’t give an iota what the paparazzi does. We’re actors in the industry, but we don’t live the Hollywood lifestyle.
When I asked Peter, "How do you juggle it all?", here is a tidbit from our interview:
We take it one day at a time. My family is just as important to me as making movies, writing and producing. I fly home constantly to be with my wife and kids. I make my relationship with them a priority.
Ultimately I guess none of us TRULY knows what goes behind the closed doors of a marriage-- and how celebrity and time spent apart can ultimately wreak havoc on a couple's intimacy. All I know is that the dissolution of this celebrity marriage just makes me plain sad. So what went wrong? Is it that their marriage was doomed because they were unable to sustain those very long periods of separation which ultimately eroded their intimacy?
Well according to Lisa Haisha, a Los Angeles based celebrity counselor, life coach and writer who was one of the first to publicly write about idea of the unconventional marriage (how living apart can help you to stay together) she and her husband, Lee Aronsohn (creator and producer for Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory) actually credit the success of their seven year marriage on the fact that they live in separate houses, four blocks apart. Therefore, separation being a contributing factor in the demise of Peter and Jennie's marriage, doesn't hold much weight with her.
"It's the little things in a relationship that drive people apart,” Lisa explained when I asked her how a married couple can keep the passion alive and sustain the magic of love. "It is a simple response: By keeping it alive. Everything worthwhile takes work. You don’t expect your car to run if you don’t change your oil. You don’t expect to be in great shape if you don’t go to the gym. Sustaining the magic of love is no different. Love is a verb. I think one can choose to be in love and choose to keep passion alive. The temptation for infidelity is everywhere – whether you are living together or 3000 miles apart. You have to make a choice to be in love and committed to your relationship."
But do those same rules apply to celebrity marriages?
"In many cases, I give my celebrity clients the same advice as any other person. The same rules apply in Hollywood but couples need to work harder," said Ms. Haisha. "It seems with Jennie and Peter that they lost their common ground and that they allowed themselves to grow apart. Growing together and maintaining a common ground is something that takes work. Between travel, children and work, they needed to carve out time for each other - to remember why they fell in love and to reconnect. This isn't always easy to do but with effort it is realistic and possible."
Ms. Haisha does add that Hollywood is a much harder environment to create and maintain a relationship. There are love scenes, the pressures to look and be perfect, the constant scrutiny of the media and the instability of an acting job (working constantly then being somewhat unemployed looking for the next role, wondering if your time in the spotlight is coming to an end). All of these things can put pressure on a relationship. Ms. Haisha advises that it is important for relationships in Hollywood (as well as in any relationship) that the couple is supportive of one another, gives the significant other permission to be imperfect and flawed and loves the person regardless. In any relationship, each person needs to put in the effort to connect.
Ms. Haisha. offers these four tips for couples to maintain intimacy even while separated for long periods of time:
Tip #1: Schedule time to talk privately either using Face Time or Skype. Technology now allows us to see one another – take advantage of this. Often times when couples are traveling or spending time apart, every day tasks, work and social engagements can cause us to lose track of time, leaving couples without the opportunity to have a real conversation. It becomes an exhausted end of the day rushed hello or a quick between meetings chat. It is important that couples schedule time to talk to one another. Communicating is the key to intimacy. Put it in your calendar, block 30 minutes of time and stick with it – treat it as if it is an important meeting with the CEO, a phone call with the President of the US, a must attend meeting. That way, you will not push it aside. Making time for one another, regardless of the physical distance, must be a priority.
Tip #2: Send love letters while spending time apart. Take five minutes out of your day to express yourself – what you are feeling and what you are missing about the other person. Drop the letter in the mail. Having something tangible, a card or a piece of paper with your handwriting, possibly your scent is more exciting and intimate than a text or email. I lead international retreats and I will write a love letter carved on a piece of wood.... It's unique and my husband respects the creativity.
Tip #3: Have phone sex. At first you may be timid but work your way into it. It keeps you connected to your mate, builds excitement and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on you and your significant other. It is something to think about and look forward to while traveling, away on business or if you are having a long distance relationship.
Tip #4: Do something that gives you commonality, regardless of the distance. For example, you should read the same book while apart. You can share your thoughts and feel like you are doing something together. Books connect people and give them a common ground for conversation.
Bottom line: Regarding infidelity, notes Ms. Haisha, it won't happen if you found the right partner, because you don't want it to happen. The repercussions are never worth the thrill. It's a choice. I also know that, in my own marriage we give each other a lot of freedom and a long leash, which we both appreciate. It shows that we trust each other.
More relationship tips!
- Yes, Baby, I STILL Do! Six Reasons to Renew Your Vows
- 3 Tips to Fall in Love With Your Spouse - All Over Again
- The Top 10 Things I Want My Teenagers to Know About Love…