6 Spark-Worthy Dating Ideas Across Miles

So your spouse is away - maybe deployed, maybe geo-bachelored, or maybe just because of travelling for their job.  How do you keep the sparks going when he or she is just not next to you all the time?

It's actually quite easy to keep dating them without physically being close.  Here are 6 spark-worthy tips to keep your marriage going across the miles.

Internet Games - Download a favorite game app (monopoly, words with friends, trivia, or a variety of other ones) and play a game together.  You could choose to play at a specific time of the day (evening time while you're both making dinner) or just throughout the day.  The chat feature makes it especially enjoyable to poke fun at each other.  It may not be the same as sitting across the table, but collecting properties and beating each other can still be just as gratifying.

Watch Movies - When Kevin was in Korea, occasionally, we would rent the same movie and watch it at the same time.  We would turn on Skype or Google Hangouts and watch the movie simultaneously, so when a funny part came on, we'd be laughing at the same time.  We could pause the movie, talk about that part (my husband likes to provide commentary much to my dismay), and we would react the same time, as if we were in the same room.  A sad rom-com would also tear me up and he could console me when it wouldn't work out.  And then it would.

This even works great with kiddos, too.  Daddy-daughter dates with Disney-Pixar movies is another fun time.  The kids can curl up in the PJs and pillows, and daddy can enjoy the moments with them.

Candlelight Dinner - This one can be accomplished several different ways:

1.  Cook the same meal together on Skype or Hangouts.  Find a recipe you both enjoy and make it together over the internet.  If there is a meal that is special to you both, send the recipe to your spouse so he/she can try to make it themselves.  It may turn out to be a complete FAIL or you can coach them through the steps along the way. At least you are bonding over your love of food.

2.  Order in your favorite dishes.  Do you both enjoy Kung Pao Chicken, or is the greasiest pizza what brings back memories of your first date? Skip the hassle and go for memories here.  Kevin and I like to make each other jealous with our choice in meals (he gets killer Mexican food in Cali, and I can get a mean burger throughout CO) so we use that to our advantage.

3.  Just sit down and enjoy dinner together, regardless of what you are eating (MREs, Takeout, Cereal, etc).  Skip the gusto and go for simplicity.  If your spouse is deployed, they may be limited on what is available, and that's ok.

The key is to turn down the lights a little and remove all distractions, and focus on each other.  Not on what you did that day, or what the kids are up to, but just on each other.  If you need a little help in conversations that aren't dull, here's a great blog post from Adam Smith (50 Great Date Night Ideas and Conversation Starters). 

Love Notes - Send each other love notes, back and forth in emails or texts.  Sometimes, with the miles, it can be hard to hear such sweet sentiments from your beloved, because they can't speak them out-loud.  That shouldn't stop you from still sending them.  When you pull away from all intimacy, including love affirmations, you lose your connection.  That is one of the strongest things you have during this time apart.  So step it up, instead of slowing it down.

Go for a Walk - Yes, seriously, go for a walk. Take your cell phone with you, start the Facetime or Hangouts app, and go for a walk with your spouse.  Get all sweaty, and yucky, and endorphin-y together.  Promote good wellness and talk along the way.  This is a great way to get in shape, stay off the couch and still be connected.  You can track steps and miles together, challenge each other to walk or run a 5k and just be a better self.  

Dance Party - This is one for the silly folks out there.  So, likely, slow dancing may be out of the question, but throw some fun music on, move your coffee tables out of the way, and turn up the radio in one of the houses.  Your spouse will enjoy seeing you boogie your tooshy off, and he may bust out some killer robot moves of his own.  Dating doesn't have to be all serious.  My favorite times with Kevin is when we are laughing with each other (and at each other). I have terrible dance moves, but when I let loose, and don't care, I have a great time.

Dating across the miles takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and certainly, a lot of patience.  I don't wait for perfect situations to align before I dive in.  Instead, I feast on spontaneity to guide me through these dates.  So I got distracted in conversation and burned the side dish.  I lost cell phone signal and the call dropped.  I could get frustrated, or I could get over it and appreciate the time I do have.

Enjoy the little moments with your spouse and keep the sparks alive!

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Photo credit:  Ginny Haupert Photography (she's the best, just sayin')