Long-distance marriage

Joey Garcia

My husband and I have been married for five years but have only lived together for a total of seven months. He works out of town, and I see him only a couple of times each month. I want to trust him, but sometimes my head gets filled with ideas that I don’t know what to do with. Can you give me some advice?

Can I give you a compliment instead? You’re amazing. I don’t know many people who could sustain an intimate relationship in the 21st century if they only spent time with their partner twice a month. Under the restrictions you live by, it seems natural that the ego would kick up occasional concerns. When your trust erodes, be attentive to the underlying motivation. Do you believe that your husband is telling you the truth about his life? Are you telling yourself and your husband the truth about your feelings and needs? Or do you keep quiet in hopes that doing so will keep the peace?

Feminist author Naomi Wolf wrote, “There is only one thing more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” If you are not honest with yourself or others, fear arises within you to alert you to your deception. You have a responsibility to sift through your fears and discern which are valid. It’s possible that the form of your marriage fails to represent the partnership that you desire for yourself. If so, talk to your husband about restructuring the relationship so that it provides sustenance for you both. But if your mistrust arises randomly and produces cycles of obsessive thoughts that you feel helpless to stop, try changing activities. If you are watching television, do housework or go for a walk. If the obsession persists, confront it (Is it true that my husband is out with another woman?), scout for the belief that provides its energy (example: I am afraid that I am not attractive enough for him) and then heal the core issue (example: I’m not comfortable with aging; let me turn that over to my higher power). With conscious effort, you can free yourself from the burden of mistrust.

I have an attachment problem. I have no problem accepting it, but in a relationship it’s not a good thing. I can get myself hurt if I’m so attached to the person I love.

Attachment becomes a problem when you are attached to the wrong person, place, thing, symbol or institution. If you keep God at the center of your life and are committed to service for those who are suffering in this world, there is no avenue by which self-centeredness can take hold in you. The attempt to avoid hurt feelings is a pattern of the neurotic ego. All true love involves risk, which means that occasionally feeling hurt is part of the deal.

I was in the grocery store, and this guy kept smiling at me. I could feel the connection between us like heat inside me. I didn’t say anything to him, and now I regret it. I think it was love at first sight. Should I have talked to him? Is it OK to meet a man in the grocery store?

Yes, absolutely introduce yourself to interesting people you meet in the mundane moments of your life. But don’t buy into the belief in love at first sight. The exchange of heat is biological. It may have heralded lust at first sight or possibly attraction at first sight, but not love. Genuine love requires knowledge of the other person. To really love someone is to understand and accept his or her gifts, quirks, insecurities and annoying habits and still desire the person’s consistent presence in your life.

Meditation of the week
“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do,” wrote the artist Georgia O’Keeffe. How do you control your love for the world?

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